Feeds

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

Walk softly and carry an e-reader with central connection

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

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.

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
Ellison: Sparc M7 is Oracle's most important silicon EVER
'Acceleration engines' key to performance, security, Larry says
Oracle SHELLSHOCKER - data titan lists unpatchables
Database kingpin lists 32 products that can't be patched (yet) as GNU fixes second vuln
Ello? ello? ello?: Facebook challenger in DDoS KNOCKOUT
Gets back up again after half an hour though
Hey, what's a STORAGE company doing working on Internet-of-Cars?
Boo - it's not a terabyte car, it's just predictive maintenance and that
Troll hunter Rackspace turns Rotatable's bizarro patent to stone
News of the Weird: Screen-rotating technology declared unpatentable
prev story

Whitepapers

A strategic approach to identity relationship management
ForgeRock commissioned Forrester to evaluate companies’ IAM practices and requirements when it comes to customer-facing scenarios versus employee-facing ones.
Storage capacity and performance optimization at Mizuno USA
Mizuno USA turn to Tegile storage technology to solve both their SAN and backup issues.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?
Beginner's guide to SSL certificates
De-mystify the technology involved and give you the information you need to make the best decision when considering your online security options.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.