The New York Times reported on Wednesday that Amplify’s CEO and former chancellor of New York City schools and News Corporation’s education division will jointly offer a 10-inch Amplify tablet equipped with Android OS, as well as a curriculum and infrastructure, for K-12 schoolchildren.
The touchscreen tablet will mostly land in the hands of middle-school children, and it will feature emoticons for student-teacher engagement, an “eyes on teacher” prompt for wandering eyes, and a unique design that marries technology with traditional teaching. Students can also take the tablet home at night and use it for fun.
New York City-based Amplify began testing its tablet in November 2012, but it only introduced the basic and high-end models today at SXSWedu 2013, according to The New York Times:
A preloaded tablet, training and customer care (largely from former teachers) starts at $299, along with a two-year subscription for $99 a year. A higher-end Amplify Tablet Plus, for students who do not have wireless access at home, comes with a 4G data plan and costs $349.
Amplify chief executive Joel I. Klein, who also serves as an executive vice president of News Corporation since 2011, will have tread carefully in regards to tracking children or using their data, as News Corp has been under a microscope in recent months over a much-publicized phone-hacking scandal.
Klein will also need to attractively market Amplify’s tablet in a space that is already brimming with competition attempting to capitalize on K-12 students. Apple, for instance, offers an education discount of 10-pack iPad minis and announced last week that it has sold a total of 4.5 million iPads direct to U.S. education institutions.