We’re here at Apple’s education-flavored event at the Guggenheim museum in New York City. Phil Schiller has just taken to the stage and announced the first half of Apple’s platform that’s going to “reinvent the textbook:” iBooks 2. Saying that there were 1.5 million iPads currently in use in Education (using 20,000 specific apps), the revamped book-stand now includes education-specific features to help the budding students of the world.
You’ll be able to paw through content, stopping to flick through detailed 3D animated models of elements within, access video and definitions without leaving the page. VP of Productivity Applications, Roger Rosner said that “Clearly, no printed book can compete with this:” given the constantly-updated data available, that’s kinda obvious. Still, you’ll be able to read in a text-heavy portrait or picture-biased landscape mode and there’s also the option to have random pop-quizzes appear to keep you on your toes. Annotations is an integral part of the system: you can add stickies to individual pages and aggregate them into virtual 3 x 5-inch note-cards for revision during finals. You’ll also get the same purchase, download and re-download rights you enjoy in the company’s other stores.
The company’s partnered (initially) with textbook makers Pearson, McGraw Hill and Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, as the trio are responsible for 90 percent of all textbooks sold — as well as DK and the E.O. Wilson Foundation. Phil was gushing, saying that he couldn’t “overemphasize the importance of these partners working with us.” Pearson’s High School Science, Biology, DK’s Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Life, Natural History Insects, Animals and My First ABC as well as the first two chapters of E.O. Wilson’s Life on Earth will be available at launch — the latter is free. You’ll be able to download iBooks 2 from the app store free of charge, whilst textbooks themselves will cost $14.99 or less : a far cry from the $80 dead-tree textbooks we shelled out for in college.
Google made a big splash when it revealed plans to offer Chromebooks to enterprise and education customers under a subscription model. What’s not clear is how much of a splash it actually made in those markets. While the notion of paying a monthly fee for three years, instead of buying a machine up front sounds like a game changer, some people just like the comfort of the familiar. To that end Google is now offering those same customers the option to purchase a Chromebook (with a year of support included) in one lump sum — $449 for the WiFi model or $519 for the 3G to educational customers, while business are looking at $559 and $639 respectively. After that first year is through, customers have the option to sign up for a monthly support contract, at $5 a month for education and $13 a month for enterprise.
Computex 2011 is fast approaching here in Taipei, and today Shuttle introduced a trio of Android-based tablets to complement its fleet of small form factor computers. The 10-inch (WXGA) N10CN12 and 9-inch (XGA) N09CN01 models are both based on NVIDIA’s Tegra 2 CPU paired with 1GB RAM, and target the consumer market. The 8-inch (SVGA) V08CT01 — a ruggedized tablet for education — features an 800 MHz Texas Instruments Cortex A8 processor and 512MB of memory. Pricing and availability are still up in the air — no surprise considering the Froyo-running devices we handled still felt very much like prototypes. Take a look at our hands-on gallery below and hit the break for the full press release.
E-readers may not be good enough for Princeton’s hallowed halls, but students and professors at Oklahoma State University seem to have fallen head over heels for their iPads. Last fall, the school introduced the tablets in a handful of lecture halls and classrooms, as part of its iPad Pilot Program. Teachers involved in the study said they benefited from all the educational software available on Apple’s App Store, while students appreciated not having to spend their life savings on traditional textbooks. At the end of the pilot program, a full 75-percent of collegians said the iPad “greatly enhanced” their classroom experience, though we’re guessing that much of that enhancement came from their newfound ability to check TweetDeck between lecture notes. Opinion was noticeably more divided, however, on the device’s value as an e-reader. Some enjoyed having all their books in one place, whereas others were a bit disappointed with the experience, saying they didn’t use it to read as often as they expected to. Our former undergrad-slacker selves can totally relate. Video and PR await you, after the break.
A month or so ago, we reported that Kno was looking for a way out of the tablet hardware business and intended to transition itself into a purely software-centric operation. Well, now Bloomberg and All Things D tell us that a deal has been worked out to make that desire a reality. A $30 million investment round led by Intel Capital has reportedly been arranged, whose stipulations include granting Intel a license to the hardware designs and blueprints of the original dual-screen tablet. Chipzilla’s share of the new buy-in is estimated at around $20 million, though before you start fantasizing about what the company’s financial and R&D muscle could do for the platform, we should note that it apparently doesn’t intend to build any tablets of its own. The goal is simply to obtain the knohow and share it with its OEM partners (while inevitably tying that gesture of goodwill to more chip orders). As to Kno itself, it’ll try to exploit the new cash in its continued efforts to become an educational software delivery platform benefiting from its many partnerships with academic institutions. Knowledge is power, after all.
Last year, we expressed a yearning for something we called the Continuous Client that would allow us to pick up on one device where we left off on another, and in less than a year we saw the advent of HP’s “Touch-to-share” technology, but our dreams weren’t fully fulfilled — we longed for a platform that would offer seamless sharing across all of our devices. Well, it’s like we rubbed a bottle and KonnectUs popped out. The cloud-based software is a collaborative effort between Sensus and Open Exhibits that enables you to transfer files and information across platforms — including Windows, iOS, and Android — with a simple swipe of your finger. As it turns out, KonnectUs was built with museums in mind, but the company is offering APIs for integration into third party applications — so maybe the perfect world isn’t that far off after all. Oh, that’s right — we still don’t have a robot to shake our martinis after a hard day at the office. Video after the break.