Amplify, the education unit of NewsCorp, recently announced that it will release a new Android-based tablet. According to Ars Technica, CEO Joel Klein, former Chancellor of the New York City Department of Education, the 10 inch tablet is intended to cater for the Education sector. It is hoped that the product will serve as a “fully integrated teaching and learning solution” for the education sector, as a replacement for used laptop trolleys.
Touted as an iPad competitor to act as a “digital backpack”, the Android tablet will notably provide subscription access to Amplify-produced education content, a search system to find content related to a student’s lessons, and a centralised device management system, enabling School Districts to manage the Amplify-provided tablets and content given to students. The intention of this product seems to be to not only drive the direction of classroom lessons, but to also provide the tools to digitally complete activities and allow a level of exploration afforded by Internet access.[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uT8s66oXP_A?rel=0]
While the tablet is intended to serve as the client for the Amplify “walled garden” service, Amplify has suggested that it hopes to allow third-party developers to create applications for the device, and to allow students to access non-native content. The service appears to be initially targeting the American K-12 market, with prices starting at US$299 for the tablet, and US$99 annual fee for the content. A 4G capable tablet will be offered for US$349 with a US$179 annual fee.
It remains to be seen how successful Amplify will be in becoming the predominant educational technology provider in American schools, given the prevalence of Apple technology today.