Announcing the Kindle Fire
Amazon announced a few new Kindles today, the most important, in my mind, is the Kindle Fire. It is a 7" tablet running a specialized version of Android. The shocker was the price, \$199. With todays announcement, every school district that is looking at mobile devices will need to take a pause and examine what the Fire has to offer.
At that price point, it undercuts the iPod Touch by \$30. It also sacrifices a camera and microphone. But it makes up for those deficiencies by offering a larger and better display. The main problem with the Fire would be the lack of applications for the educational market. Of course you have access to all the Kindle books, and the explicitly list full color children's books for it, so it may be just a matter of time before educational software takes off on it.
Does size matter?
In our iOS pilot programs with iPod Touches and iPads it has become pretty clear that it is hard to convince teachers that the small screen of the iPod Touch can still be used for content creation. The students, I've noticed, don't mind using the iPod Touch, so for them, size doesn't matter. When it comes to content such as PDFs and books, the larger screen size would be very advantageous.
Theft is also an issue in school, but the larger size of the Fire may be a deterrent. The Fire would also be able to be used by more than one student at a time due to it's size.
I'm going to try to hold off any further mobile purchases until the Fire is released and I get a chance to use one. I could see it replacing a lot of iPod Touches this Christmas, it will be interesting to see what Apple has in store on October 4th. If the applications come, the Fire will be a very compelling device for school districts.
What devices are you investigating for use in your classroom or district?