Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tablet & rugged UMPCs for mobile learning

As a follow up to looking a UMPCs & netbooks as alternatives to mobile phones, I did a bit of desk research on how many possibilities there might be. Googling netted a currently incomplete comparative chart on Wikipedia.

The Kohjinsha range was recommended to me by the team at Canberra Primary School in Singapore as one of the hardware possibilities for their mlearning project. The school is a ‘future school’ @ Singapore & involved in rolling out mlearning to the entire school over the next two years. There are also a large number of schools in the Uk who are using game consoles like the Play station portable (PSP) & the Nintendo DS for mobile learning.

Therefore I googled Kohjinsha & New Zealand and found the Australian / NZ distributor for the Kohjinsha series. Emailed them to find out if I would be able to have a look & play with one. The email reply came back promptly from the Tegatech Sydney office & the NZ representative contacted me.

The price of a Kohjinsha in NZ is pretty steep (over $2000!!) which would allow the purchase of 3 or 4 asus eees. However there is the added lure of the tablet & touch screen. The agents also emailed specification for three ruggedised UMPCs which would be more suited to use in a trades workplace environment. All of these are tablets as well. They included the GETAC , the Eo TufTab & a sahara tablet. All looked great but very expensive!

The above caused me to look at tablet netbooks that would help obviate some of the evaluations of the small keyboard & screen we have had from apprentices with the current crop of 7” to 9” screen size netbooks. Not many around but there should be more in the next couple of years. Looks like we will have to keep working with mobile phones for the moment.

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