HP's efforts in the edtech market may not get as much press as its printers, but this tech giant continues to invest and today it announced a new deal with OverDrive.
A couple weeks ago HP announced a line of Education Edition tablets and notebooks which are being marketed to 1:1 programs. Those devices come bundled with the HP School Pack, a suite of instructional tools. Today HP is adding the popular OverDrive library ebook app to the pack, and it is also bundling a variety of eBooks and audiobooks specifically curated for HP Education Editions.
More than 100 ebook and audiobook titles will be included. Most, including Alice in Wonderland, A Tale of Two Cities, Wuthering Heights, The Count of Monte Cristo and Macbeth, will be public domain works which could have been downloaded for free anyway. (Librivox is a good source of PD audiobooks, in case you were interested).
When it comes to gadgets in the classroom, the iPad and the Chromebook get most of the press but they're not the only players in this market. Intel is perhaps the best well-known of the minor players, and it has invested a lot in developing special hard ware designs and academic platform, but all of the major consumer electronics makers are interested.
For example, when the Guilford county schools went with the Amplify tablets in 2013, they chose the NewsCorp sub over HP, Samsung, and Dell (and probably Apple, although I can't confirm that detail). The latter 3 had each partnered with Pearson to combine its hardware with Pearson's platform.
On a related note, Apple had a similar deal with Pearson for the LA school district's botched billion dollar 1:1 program.
In the time since bidding on that Guilford contract, HP has developed its own educational platform. They announced it a couple weeks ago, along with a bunch of new tablets and notebooks. I covered the launch of the tablets, and missed the launch of the platform in the buzz.
HP educational tablets are built around 10" screens and run either Windows 8.1 or Android 4.4. They are powered by Intel’s Bay Trail Atom Z3735G or Z3735F chips with 1GB or 2GB RAM, 16GB/32GB internal storage, Wifi/BT, a pair of cameras, and a 28.5 WHr battery.
The Android-equipped Pro Slate 10 EE G1 starts at $279, and the Windows-equipped Pro Tablet 10 EE starts at $299 for education and $349 for all other customers. The price includes a 1-year subscription to Office 365 personal, but it's not clear whether the educational platform comes bundled with the consumer sale.
The tablets in question are being drop tested and are certified to meet the IP52 standard, which makes them not much more rugged than your average consumer device. According to Intel's website, its tablets meet the same standard and can survive a 2 foot drop.