paidContent's Laura Hazard Owen reports that the U.S. State Dept signed a no-bid $16.5 million contract (anticipated value over the life of the contract -- one base year + 4 option years) with Amazon for Amazon Touches, starting with 2,500 of them, which will be preloaded with 50 titles each for the Department's overseas language-education programs.
Reasoning for the no-bid contract:
' In a document justifying the no-bid contract, the State Department says it’s identified “the Amazon Kindle as the only e-Reader on the market that meets the Government’s needs, and Amazon as the only company possessing the essential capabilities required by the Government.” It has international 3G, text-to-speech features and a long battery life, which “other e-readers such as the Barnes and Noble Nook, the Sony Reader Daily and Kobe [sic] e-Reader cannot provide.” '
Well, the Nook can provide a long battery life, but it doesn't sell books internationally nor does it supply international 3G. But then it doesn't supply domestic 3G either, anymore. 3G delivery of books was what initially made the Kindle E-Ink device so popular -- think about a book and then have it within 60 seconds. B&N gave up on the 3G idea after trying it for awhile.
The overseas use made the international 3G "a firm requirement." The Apple iPad wasn't chosen due to the additional features being unnecessary for educational use and bringing "unacceptable security and usability risks for the government's needs in this particular project."
I can see why the iPad wouldn't be used for this when length of session battery life is so important. They also mentioned that the iPad also falls short on "the centrally managed platform for registration and content delivery..."
See Owen's article for her puzzlement over why it would come to $16.5 million even over 5 years and her own thoughts as to other costs that would need to be paid beyond the cost of the Kindle Touch 3G and Kindle books for each one. She cites operating and support costs (and Kindle owners know the relative merits of customer service among the e-reader companies).
Current Kindle Models for reference, plus free-ebook search links
Kindle Fire 7" tablet - $199
Kindle NoTouch ("Kindle") - $79/$109
Kindle Touch, WiFi
Kindle Touch, 3G/WiFi - $149/$189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189, Free, slow web
Kindle DX - $379, Free, slow web
Kindle Basic, NoTouch - £89
Kindle Touch WiFi, UK - £109
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi, UK - £169
Kindle Keyboard 3G, UK - £149
Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Kindle NoTouch Basic - $109
Kindle Touch WiFi - $139
Kindle Touch 3G/WiFi - $189
Kindle Keybd 3G - $189
Keybd: w/ Free, slow 3G WEB
Check often: Temporarily-free recently published Kindle books
Guide to finding Free Kindle books and Sources. Top 100 free bestsellers. Liked-books under $1
UK-Only: recently published free books, bestsellers, or £5 Max ones
Also, UK customers should see the UK store's Top 100 free bestsellers.
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