Feeds

US culture to spread worldwide by means of Kindle, not iPad

Walk softly and carry an e-reader with central connection

Security for virtualized datacentres

The US State Department has defended its decision to deploy thousands of Amazon Kindle devices over the next five years, saying that putting the bid out to tender would be pointless as Amazon's rivals just won't do the job.

The $16.5m figure comes from a Justification and Approval document published earlier this week, which explains that only the Amazon Kindle meets the Department's requirements for e-readers over the next five years. The Kindles are to be used in foreign territories as part of the US outreach programme, but the government says it's still waiting to see how many Kindles that will buy.

Nothing is signed yet, but the State Department needs 2,500 immediately, and told Paid Content it would be spending $2.29m on them over the next year. Separately the department told The Atlantic it was getting a 10 per cent discount on the hardware, so Paid Content calculated that once one adds a power supply and case (as required by the J&A) that totals $475,250 – which leaves almost $2m to pay for the content and management of the devices.

Those devices will end up in American Reading Rooms* around the world, helping people learn English and understand a little more about American culture - they'll be preloaded with 50 books to that end, though the selected titles haven't been revealed so we don't yet know how much of the $2m will be spent on content.

Amazon will be required to monitor the devices, reporting back on everything that has been read as well as providing the facility to download additional content without having to pay for the data used. That can be done over Wi-Fi, or 3G where the Kindle is already deployed; Amazon does deals with local carriers to incorporate the cost of the download into the price of the content.

That central management and connectivity is what knocked most of the other ereaders out of the running, while Apple's iPad was rejected because it was just too capable:

"The additional features [of the iPad] are not only unnecessary, but also present unacceptable security and usability risks for the government’s needs in this particular project. Critically, the Apple iPad falls short on two requirements: the centrally managed platform for registration and content delivery, and battery life."

Amazon is also required to provide round the clock, and global, support, not to mention international shipping (packages to be labelled "Diplomatic Shipment") and a two-year warranty.

The United States, along with the UK, has a long-established policy of pushing English abroad in the interest of international understanding (and a little cultural imperialism). Creating an association between speaking English and being well educated helps American business abroad, so is an investment that can yield financial, if unquantifiable, returns. ®

Bootnote

* Your correspondent has something of a soft spot for American Reading Rooms, having spent much of his youth hanging around the American Air Division Memorial Library in Norwich, before it burnt down.

Providing a secure and efficient Helpdesk

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Symantec backs out of Backup Exec: Plans to can appliance in Jan
Will still provide support to existing customers
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.