January 19th, 2010
Welcome to this morning’s Daily Research Update. Today’s themes are e-books, self-publishing, and e-learning predictions. If you want more context for this research, take a look at our Education and Technology Trends for 2010. You may also be interested in our Weekly Research Index, or you can follow our live, daily research on our Current News page.
(Click here to see a simple listing of today’s suggested reading)
Is anyone really surprised that Apple is in talks with Harper Collins to put e-books on its soon-to-be-released tablet device? The Cuppertino company generally launches its products to much fanfare and always has important content partners to back them up. In this case, the tablet is being rolled out (January 27) as a mobile device that handles all your media needs — video, audio, books, and Web.
Of course, the hype around e-readers over the past six months can’t have done anything except fuel Apple’s drive to get e-books onto its platform. That, and recent AAP/IDPF statistics showing a 199.9% year-to-year increase in e-book sales for trade. Calendar year-to-date sales are up 185%.
Now, don’t think that Apple is the only company to see the convergent writing on the wall and an opportunity to cash in on tablet mania. Perennial fast-follower Dell is preparing its Mini 5 tablet, which will focus on mobile connections, a powerful chip, and a bright screen for reading.
Also, there are more ways into the e-book business than through hardware. FastPencil, a social, self-publishing platform, is introducing a new format process whereby “writers can generate content and store it in a format that will work on Kindle or any other e-reader, and as new formats for e-readers are introduced, FastPencil will offer its writers the ability to publish in those formats as well.” And, as Judy O’Connell reminds us, we can all be Kindle authors via Amazon’s self-publishing digital text platform. Of course, there is the small matter of handing over to Amazon 65% of your take.
In related technology news, Android usage has increased 200% over the past three months.
According to new data from ChangeWave Research, both usage and consumer sentiment towards Google’s mobile operating system Android has increased over the past several months. As of December 2009, the research firm’s survey shows that 4% of all smartphone owners now use a phone running some version of the Android OS. That’s an increase of 200% since the previous survey released in September.
Another important trend to follow is the advent of touchscreens for computers (netbooks, notebooks, desktops). Rumor has it that Apple will release a 22-inch touchscreen iMac this year, and other manufacturers have already rolled out prototypes at CES. The bottom line is that anyone developing major applications today must design for touchcreen and ubiquitous mobile access or risk obsolescence at launch.
Finally, I enjoyed reading Tony Karrer’s projections for e-learning in the coming year. I definitely agree with him about “more, lower-cost learning solutions,” and that we will see greater emphasis on social learning initiatives. And, if you want to get up to speed on the latest in Higher Education accreditation happenings, I recommend this article from Inside Higher Ed — Views: Accreditation 2.0 My question, however, is this: will accreditation become less relevant in the next ten years with the changing nature of education and learning?
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