News Corp, the company that runs Fox News, wants to get into the education market. The company’s education division is called Amplify, and according to The New York Times, the company plans to introduce a tablet for students called the Amplify Tablet.
The Amplify Tablet will be a 10 inch tablet running Google Android with a custom user interface and educational software. News Corp’s tablet is actually manufactured by Taiwanese device maker Asus, but it will be sold under the Amplify brand (much like the Asus-built Nexus 7 tablet is sold by Google).
The tablet features an NVIDIA Tegra 3 processor, an 8.5 hour battery, an IPS display, and a 5MP camera. According to the spec sheet, it’s “similar to the Asus Transformer Pad TF300TL), and even features a dock port on the bottom – and the tablet can work with optional keyboards, external batteries, and other accessories.
News Corp’s tablet is designed for use in the classroom as well as at home, but the company is targeting schools, not parents. While students will be able to play educational games as well as doing homework, there’s also a focus on in-class quizzes and other software that teachers can use as part of the curriculum.
The demo video below shows a strong focus on teacher-oriented features including the ability to monitor student activities, block certain apps, and send data to student tablets.
The tablets will sell for $299 and up, and News Corp will also charge schools a subscription fee for software and support. 4G capable tablets will also be available for students without home internet.
Amplify says schools that might not otherwise be able to afford the tablets might be able to apply for federal grants — but a lot of questions still remain, not just about paying for the tablets, but also making sure they work, making sure staff and students are trained to use them properly, and seeing if they actually help enhance the learning process or just lead to more distractions.
The company did put out a video featuring interviews from teachers and students at a pilot school who seemed to enjoy the experience of using the tablets… but I wouldn’t really expect anything different from a promotional video.