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US Department of State chooses Kindle Touch over iPad for English language programs

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The US Department of State wants to work with Amazon to use Kindle Touches for its overseas English Language programs.

Kindle Touch
Kindle Touch

The US Department of State traditionally sends out books to its overseas embassies for English language programs, but now it wants to replace physical books with e-readers — and it has its sights set on the Kindle. In a Justification and Approval notice filed on June 7th, the Department proposed a five-year contract with Amazon, which is estimated to be worth $16,500,000 over its life and will include an initial order of 2,500 Kindles loaded with 50 unspecified books. Spokesman Philippe Reines told paidContent that it's now up to Amazon to "come back with a proposal to us based on the request we gave them."

But based on the Department's lengthy list of requirements, it appears that the Kindle Touch is the only device currently on the market that suits its needs. In fact, in a separate document the Department specifically listed the iPad as an unsuitable option because it presents "unacceptable security and usability risks for the government's needs in this particular project" due to its additional features. Previous programs, such as Worldreader's efforts in Ghana, have found that children in developing countries are able to learn how to use Kindles very quickly, though issues did arise with the e-readers breaking.