Welcome to The CITE -- a blog on Course materials, Innovation, and Technology in Education, created by Mark Nelson and now part of the Publications Department of the National Association of College Stores. CITE is a pun with multiple meanings - referring to cite as in citation, something people reference; site as in location, website, or place people go to; and sight as in foresight or looking ahead to what is coming. Comments, discussion, feedback and ideas are welcome.

Thursday, October 8, 2015

Is the Amazon Six-Pack Headed to School?

Amazon is offering a six-pack of $50 Amazon Fire tablet computers for the price of five. The question is, why?

According to Adam Levy of The Motley Fool, this latest foray into tablet sales could be Amazon taking aim at the K-12 educational market. Levy points out that the number of people with families big enough to actually want six tablets might be limited. He also said that since schools are making more use of tablets, the low-cost Amazon device could be a lot more attractive than an iPad for schools facing budget issues.

“I’m not so sure Adam is really on the money here,” wrote Chris Meadows in a post for TeleRead. “iPads have a really good reputation as educational devices after all, and have built up a considerable library of quality software to aid in that purpose. Does Amazon’s software library have the educational chops necessary to compete?”

Amazon is certainly trying to develop customers for life. A company representative told the audience in an education session at CAMEX 2015 in Atlanta that’s why it is interested in on-campus locations. And what better way to do create lifetime customers than to have children using its operating system while in K-12?

However, Meadows said he believes the schools aren’t going to be thrilled that Amazon installed special advertising software into the Fire tablets that promotes its products. He also said that at less than $43, the Amazon Fire could be so inexpensive that many shoppers will see it as disposable, and may want to the six-pack just to have replacements handy.

“The point is, I don’t think it’s necessary to assume that families won’t buy into those six-packs, therefore they must be aimed at an education market,” Meadows wrote. “More than likely, some schools will be interested, but I suspect that more than enough families and even individuals will want to buy the bundles for that not to be an issue.”

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