The much-anticipated, Android-based Kindle Fire, however, is finally the tablet for 1:1 use in schools.
Blog: I’ve never been a big Kindle advocate in education. The lack of color and interactivity prevented it from ever being the tool of choice for textbooks that many initially hoped it would be. Amazon even had an ill-fated large-format Kindle DX that it marketed largely in the education space. Kindle apps on mobile devices and the web were definitely on the right track because the potential was there for next-gen electronic textbooks on converged devices that would resonate with students.
The much-anticipated, Android-based Kindle Fire, however, is finally the tablet for 1:1 use in schools. The price is clearly spot on. $199 is far easier to stomach for schools than anything else on the market, it’s a full Android tablet (there’s that convergence I was talking about), its 7? form factor means that it fits in any bag easily and small hands can hold it just as easily as high school- and college-sized hands, and, most importantly, the new Silk browser that Amazon introduced today has the potential to deliver an entirely new generation of web-based tablet applications.
Sure, the 7? form factor makes content creation a little tougher. This has been Intel’s very valid reason for holding back on a true tablet and using their convertible netbooks to give students built-in access to a keyboard. Virtual keyboards on 7? screens don’t exactly invite touch typing. They do invite touch, though, making visual content creation (especially with a dual-core processor like the ones featured on the Fire or Dell’s Streak) an inviting prospect. Portability, though, at 7?, is the key. These can move with students for field studies, micromobility, and truly ubiquitous access to the Internet at a price almost too cheap to pass up. Have you ever seen a 7-year old holding an iPad 2? It’s a little scary.