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Amazon Pushes Kindle To Kindergarten Kids in U.S.

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.