THE EDUCATIONAL SIDE of Rupert Murdoch's empire, Amplify, has released an Android tablet that can be rented by schools as part of raising America's children.
Amplify, which has a remit to digitally educate children, launched last year a mission with a strong relationship with AT&T and a lot of talk.
"It is our aim to amplify the power of digital innovation to transform teaching and learning and to help schools deliver fundamentally better experiences and results. Amplify will introduce new products in a thoughtful way, so that technology can finally live up to its promise to advance learning and augment teaching for students, teachers and parents everywhere," said Amplify CEO Joel Klein.
"Together, we plan to bring to market a 4G mobile tablet-based experience that we believe will significantly enhance teaching and learning for grades K-12," added Ralph de la Vega, president and CEO of AT&T Mobility. "We share Amplify's commitment to education because we believe it is one of the most important things we can do for our company, our communities and our country."
Talk is one thing, but what 2013 cares about is hardware and hard cash. This tablet being touted to schools runs Android - remember Murdoch's the Daily publication that flopped was a solid iOS release for the Apple iPad - and doesn't look terrible on paper.
Hardware fans should note that the official specifications start by saying that the Amplify Tablet is "similar to ASUS Transformer Pad TF300TL".
It's running Android 4.1 Jelly Bean, has a 10in screen and battery life of up to 8.5 hours on a single charge. We assume that will get you through a school day.
It has an Nvidia Tegra 3 quad-core CPU with "4-Plus 1" architecture and a 12-core GPU, a 178 degree wide viewing angle (the education company has that as "angel", but we don't believe that Murdoch has any of those), an IPS display panel and a 5MP auto-focus camera.
There are a couple of deals on offer. The first lets states, districts and schools deliver a WiFi based "one-to-one personalized learning solution" using devices that cost $299, when purchased with a $99 a year two-year subscription.
The alternative is the swishier of the two. Here you get the Amplify Tablet Plus with a cheerleader impressing 4G data plan. The Amplify Tablet Plus costs $349 for each the device, and again requires a two-year contract. That contract will set you back $179 a year.
"This is more than just a tablet. It's a complete learning solution organized around the school day," said Stephen Smyth, president of Amplify's Access division. "We believe it's both more affordable and more impactful than just about any other product in the education technology market."
The tablets that Murdoch's Amplify offers on two-year subscriptions come with handy one-year hardware guarantees. µ