iPhone Beats Kindle?

» Posted by Jeanne Meister  » Posted on 05.13.09

iPhone vs. Kindle

Last week I presented interesting new findings on the Kindle’s expanding market, and asked you all to weigh in on whether it would continue to expand into the corporate training market. The preliminary consensus appears to be “no”.

The list of preliminary concerns raised in the comments section includes aesthetic concerns, such as bulk, and the lack of a color screen, as well as potentially more substantial barriers. These barriers include:

Lack of Institutional Support

Many people simply do not see a large scale implementation of the Kindle in their companies. As Martin wrote:

Corporations will want to leverage their existing mobile investment - be it a Blackberry, Windows Mobile, Nokia, iPhone etc.

Lack of Two Way Capabilities
Nick raised an excellent point about the inherent limits of the Kindle feature set when he wondered,

Is it possible to collect statistics, do quizzes? Does the platform support animated (Flash or other) content or is it static only? Lack of one or both of these capabilities could severely limit its usefulness.

Passive Screen
Similarly, Steven explained that the hardware itself may not be sufficient because,

The Kindle is not a good medium for social interaction. It is a private experience. As we learned at the recent Learning Innovation Network meeting in Cambridge, MA last week, social interactions are a key part of learning. The tactile dimension is not there. Once one is used to an iTouch or iPhone, it is hard to go back to a passive screen, even one with the wonderful resolution of Kindle. Touch and gesture are an important part of memory (and therefore learning.) So, although I expect to do a great deal of reading on Kindle-like devices, I expect my learning to be social, personal and tactile.

Yet Another Device To Carry Around
Finally, the largest and possibly most significant concern raised involved a logistical obstacle: people simply do not want to be carrying around another electronic device in their daily lives. As Nick explained,

We have laptops, cell phones (now usually a BB or iPhone), now a Kindle. In the work environment maybe the oft touted tablet PC (or tablet Mac, fingers crossed) would be a better fit than a laptop and a Kindle.

Neil concurred, and offered this alternative,

The Kindle or the Sony product is just another device to add to the list of things that you are forced to carry around for this reason I think that people should be looking towards mobile phones.

Martin strongly agreed with this solution, saying,

Our employees will ideally want to access training via their existing device, not a Kindle. I couldn’t think of anything more frustrating than having to switch between several devices in my pocket, instead of just using my own mobile phone that allows me to wear training and take training, anytime, anywhere.

So, based on your comments (and more coming in) Kindle has significant hurdles to overcome before it is a corporate learning delivery device. However, mobile phones and in particular, the iPhone or BlackBerry, may be a more long-term solution as a mobile learning device since they offer institutional support, two way capabilities, and an all in a package that allows users to access one’s cell phone, datebook, contact list, notepad, mp3 player, internet access device, etc).

Whatever device emerges as the winner, our blog community sees new features and new capabilities for mobile learning appearing at an accelerated pace.

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  1. Rthacker, May 19, 2009:

    M Learning space is certainly seeing a lot of innovation and the M Learning solutions some uptake. It would however, be interesting to watch the impact of mobile telephony service providers’ policies and basic connectivity issues.

  2. Michelle Marquard, May 19, 2009:

    I think the Kindle is as disruptive a technology as the telephone was in its time. During my doctoral work I found myself attracted to K-12 education. In particular, high achieving low socio-economic schools in California - we have 4.5 million elementary school children in California and 57% of these children live in low socio-economic districts. Why should industry be concerned you might ask? California is one of the top producing economies in the world. How long will it maintain that status if it doesn’t have the talent it needs to fuel innovation? Company’s are no longer exploring China, India and other emerging economies solely for low cost opportunities they are placing strategic bets in these regions because the talent to fuel innovation and business growth is present by way of educational investments. While Kindle is not the end all, it is a step in making literature accessible to all children. I’m excited enough about this technology I’ve already started to do some background research to build a case for its use in K-12. By transitioning to an online medium with internet access no child would every again work from outdated material. Further, age appropriate reading could be made available on grade/age appropriate bookshelves for all children. The environment benefits, children benefit, consider the possibilities!

  3. Martha Geem, May 19, 2009:

    The Kindle is an electronic book, and any comparisons to a smart phone or PDA are absurd. It does a fantastic job at what it is intended to do– make the reading experience customizable and portable. I carry both a Palm and a Kindle. It’s not “just another device to carry around.” It’s a library, slim and light enough to fit in any handbag. Let’s not get sucked into the idea that every device needs to have a phone, camera and microwave included. Sometimes a book is just a book, albeit a really handy and versatile e-book.

  4. Lalita Amos, MRHM, June 4, 2009:

    I have both a standard cellphone and a Kindle. Mine is a smart-enough phone (text, video, pix + standard calling services) but I used to have a Palm-based smartphone for years. I don’t need the expensive web services — a simple web browser and on-demand wifi connection (through Amazon.com’s Whispernet system) is included on my Kindle and has saved my turkey bacon over and over.

    When an iPhone or Palm user can’t wait to tell me that they can read ebooks on their device, I remind them that I can continue reading (wifi sniffer turned off) for DAYS after their device has been rushed to the nearest charger).

  5. T-money, June 22, 2009:

    I don’t think we can measure potentially disruptive technology by the status quo. When I travel in airports, I see plenty of people who are willing to carry around magazines and books that are at least as bulky as the kindle if not more bulky. I have a feeling that there is a convergence of technologies coming that will replace handsets, the kindle and the laptop at the same time, but I cannot yet imagine what it is- maybe a kindle with a detachable but wirelessly connected phone? Who knows, but it’s clear that these technologies are at early stages of development.

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