Amazon: Fired Up

Categories: Gadgetry
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Published on: September 28, 2011

Amazon announced their new tablet, the Kindle Fire, today, and the blogosphere and Twitterverse both went berserk.

I think it’s a great device, especially at $199, and I think it will bring a lot more competition against Barnes & Noble’s Nook than it will against Apple’s iPad. It’s definitely a media consumption device, as well as a portal into the vast Amazon store. I think, however, it falls short in content creation at the moment. There are no cameras, and with no Bluetooth, I’m betting there will be no external keyboards.

But is that a deal killer? At a $300/head savings, schools could afford many more Kindle Fires than iPads, and they still get the benefit of having all of their textbooks, media, and online research with them wherever they go. The question, then, is not “Will the Kindle Fire compare to the iPad?” but “Will the camera and easier text input justify the extra $300?”

Assuming, of course, there’s not a version 2 device already planned.

I’m waiting to see what comes of textbooks. Given Amazon’s a bookstore, it seems a no-brainer they would woo textbook publishers to create electronic versions of their books in either the Kindle Store or the App Store. Get textbooks onto a 7″ device and let schools create student accounts or push textbooks/apps to student personal accounts and we’ve got an affordable, entry-level media device for a 1:1 initiative.

Finances aside, given the choice between the two today, I would still go for the iPad for students because there is central management available and the content creation is more flexible.

Given the financial realities most districts face, my own included, this is a possible alternative we’ll be keeping a close eye on.

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