As the jostling and jockeying for position in the tablet market gets ever more frenzied, Amazon is hoping for a slice of the education market. Yesterday it unveiled Whispercast, a service that allows organizations such as businesses and schools to manage numerous Kindles from one online location.
The benefits are two-way, says Jay Marine, VP of Kindle product management. "We want to make it as easy as possible for everyone to own a Kindle device. And we have a particular mission to increase reading, especially among kids."
It's easy to see how the Kindle could topple the iPad as the go-to tablet in this market. Apple has sold almost a million units to educational institutions over the past year--almost double the sales of the previous 12 months. Amazon's tablet is less hefty for the kids to carry around, and it's much cheaper, making for a happier bunch of school administrators. But if next Tuesday's Apple event is all about the iPad mini, then Amazon's job will get a whole lot harder.
Perhaps there is another player about to enter the fray: Google. Component manufacturers in Taiwan have claimed that there is a $99 Nexus tablet in the offing by the end of 2012. And with yesterday's announcement of a mysterious Android event planned in New York on October 29 declaring that "the playground is open"--well, let's just say that a bit of speculation on a Thursday is always fun.