October 25th, 2010
Welcome to this morning’s Daily Research Update. Today’s themes are student technology use, e-books, and apps. 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)
As a parting vision for his colleagues at Microsoft, Ray Ozzie sent out an interesting memo yesterday. Titled “Dawn of a New Day,” the memo outlines Ozzie’s vision for technology over the next five years . It is a vision “of how technology is going to evolve in the next five years and his thoughts on what Microsoft needs to do to take advantage of the opportunities presenting themselves. The future Ozzie describes–one of always-on connected devices, where our data and software lives in the cloud–was the topic of much discussion in tech circles today.” Here are his helpful guidelines for navigating the future.
1. Take time to paint a vision of the future
2. Put past successes “in perspective”
3. Recognize what’s inevitable in your industry
4. “Inevitable” is not the same as “imminent”
5. Real transformation has to come from within
Speaking of what’s inevitable in an industry, The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2010 is out, and it contains some great trending information on student behaviors with regards to technology. “The ECAR Study of Undergraduate Students and Information Technology, 2010 is a longitudinal extension of the annual 2004 through 2009 studies. It is based on quantitative data from a spring 2010 survey of 36,950 freshmen and seniors at 100 four-year institutions and students at 27 two-year institutions; student focus groups that included input from 84 students at 4 institutions; and review of qualitative data from written responses to open-ended questions. In addition to exploring student ownership, experience, behaviors, preferences, and skills with respect to information technologies, including ownership and use of Internet-capable handheld devices, the 2010 study also includes a special focus on student use of social networking websites and web-based applications.”
Also, The Chronicle of Higher Education ran an article yesterday about the coming wave of digital textbooks. There’s nothing here that I haven’t written about at some length over the past year, but the perspective from the Chronicle is always interesting.
You’ve heard it before: Digital technologies blew up the music industry’s moneymaking model, and the textbook business is next. For years observers have predicted a coming wave of e-textbooks. But so far it just hasn’t happened. One explanation for the delay is that while music fans were eager to try a new, more portable form of entertainment, students tend to be more conservative when choosing required materials for their studies. For a real disruption in the textbook market, students may have to be forced to change. That’s exactly what some companies and college leaders are now proposing. They’re saying that e-textbooks should be required reading and that colleges should be the ones charging for them. It is the best way to control skyrocketing costs and may actually save the textbook industry from digital piracy, they claim. Major players like the McGraw-Hill Companies, Pearson, and John Wiley & Sons are getting involved.
You might also enjoy this take on the Chronicle article, in which the author discusses the skyrocketing price of textbooks. “The unsustainable “higher education bubble” has received some well-deserved attention lately, watch Glenn Reynolds talk about it in detail here. A direct partner in the “higher education bubble” is the unsustainable “college textbook bubble,” captured graphically in the chart above [below] – notice how it totally dwarfs the “real estate bubble.” Since 1980, educational books have risen annually at more than twice the rate of overall inflation, 6.7% vs. 3.3% respectively.
In the trade e-book world, Amazon tried to get the jump on Barnes & Noble yesterday with a press release on its new lending service and robust sales figures for the Kindle. The key piece of information for me is that “Amazon is now selling more Kindle titles than hardcover and paperback books.” Meanwhile, it looks like the new B&N color e-reader [to be announced later today may be aimed at the children’s e-book market. The company has announced that it “is launching a digital collection of more than 12,000 books under the name Nook Kids. The works, aimed at children 3 to 8 years old, include picture books, novels and a selection of enhanced editions of classics, such as “Jamberry,” the tale of a boy and a bear who have a good time together finding berries. An estimated 12,000 chapter books, among the largest digital collections for young readers, is expected to be available at NookKids.com by late Sunday.”
And with the prospect of a fairly imminent move to digital for magazines, Adobe has released its new suite of publishing tools that will help publishers create “Wired”-style digital apps. “The Digital Publishing Suite will let publishers create, produce, distribute and monetize their digital magazines and content across different devices and marketplaces. The App Store is obviously the biggest target of the Digital Publishing Suite right now, but the platform is designed in such a way that it is easy to target multiple marketplaces at once.”
Finally, here are the latest numbers on apps for the different market places. “Apple now has 285,000 apps available for the iPhone. An impressive tally that’s almost three times the nearest competitor, which is Android. But, while Android might not be as big today, it will soon enough. Apps available for Android grew to 100,000 today from 30,000 in March, a 233% increase. Apple over the same period went to 285,000 from 170,000, a 67% increase. Research in Motion’s app store has grown to around 10,000, a nice, but ultimately insignificant, bump. Microsoft, about to launch its new smartphone platform, says it will have 1,000 at the start.”
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