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iPad Is Just Too Much Tablet for State Department

Published on June 12, 2012
by John Paczkowski

Here’s an iPad criticism you don’t often hear: The device is too feature-heavy. And that’s why the U.S. State Department is considering a $16.5 million no-bid contract with Amazon to purchase some 35,000 Kindle Touches and content over a period of five years.

The Touches are for use in the State Department’s overseas language-education programs, and according to an agency Justification and Approval (J&A) notice, they are the only device that meet its criteria, which demands, among other things, international 3G capabilities, text-to-speech features, extended battery life and “a secure, centrally managed content distribution and management platform.”

Apple’s iPad lacks the sort of centrally managed platform, content delivery and battery life it was looking for, says the State Department. But the larger issue is that it simply boasts more functionality than the agency needs. In the end, the State Department was simply looking for an e-reader and little else.

“Although the Apple iPad offers features that meet many of the requirements of this project it falls under the tablet/computer segment versus a single function e-reader device,” the agency said in its J & A. “The additional features are not only unnecessary, but also present unacceptable security and usability risks for the government’s needs in this particular project. Critically, the Apple iPad falls short on two requirements: the centrally managed platform for registration and content delivery, and battery life.”

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