One Tablet Per Child

There has been some media coverage along the lines of “Tablets replace teachers in Ethiopia” or MSN’s low key  “Ethiopian kids turn out to be computer geniuses in tablet trial”  Even the BBC got in on the act Today when they interviewed Peter Keller the VP of Global Advocacy at the One Laptop Per Child (OLPC) organisation who are running the project.

From our internet travels, we have gathered the following:

  • This literacy project was set up earlier this year and has probably a 2 year duration
  • It is being driven by the OLPC in collaboration with the MIT (Massachusetts Institute of Technology) Media Lab, the School of Education, Communication and Language Sciences at Newcastle University, and the Center for Reading and Language Research at Tufts University
  • Its goal is to bring literacy to communities that would otherwise never learn to read.
  • The tablets being used are ruggedised Motorola Zoom’s  “with mainly off-the-shelf Android literacy apps, with a few custom apps and tweaks by OLPC” together “with some e-books, movies, cartoons, paintings, and other programs.” We loved the leather covers!
  • About 40 tablets have been provided to Grade 1 children (that’s aged about 6) in two villages in Ethiopia, about 50 miles (or 250 kilometres!)  from Addis Ababa, Wonchi (or variously Winchi or Wenchi) and Wolencheti (or Woloncheti).
  • A solar powered recharging facility has been set up in each village
  • No training or trainers has been provided to the kids
  • The tablets are monitored remotely by swapping SIM cards weekly (through a process affectionately known as sneakernet)

The reason for the current publicity, in addition we assume to them looking to raise additional support, was a talk given by the OLPC founder Nicholas Negroponte (brother of the career diplomat from the last Bush administration John Negroponte) at the MIT Technology Review’s EmTech conference last week.

In his preview of the talk “Another way to think about learning” he says  “Within minutes of arrival, the tablets were unboxed and turned on by the kids themselves. After the first week, on average, 47 apps were used per day. After week two, the kids were playing games to race each other in saying the ABCs.

Will this lead to deep reading? The votes are still out. But if a child can learn to read, he or she can read to learn. If these kids are reading at, say, a third-grade level in 18 months, that would be transformational.

Whether this can happen has yet to be proved. But not only will the results tell us how to reach the rest of the 100 million kids much faster than we can by building schools and training teachers, they should also tell us a great deal about learning in the developed world. If kids in Ethiopia learn to read without school, what does that say about kids in New York City who do not learn even with school?

The message will be very simple: children can learn a great deal by themselves. More than we give them credit for. Curiosity is natural, and all kids have it unless it is whipped out of them, often by school. Making things, discovering things, and sharing things are keys. Having massive libraries of explicative material like modern-day encyclopedias or textbooks is fine. But such access may be much less significant than building a world in which ideas are shaped, discovered, and reinvented in the name of learning by doing and discovery.”

We certainly feel there is an enormous educational contribution to be made by tablets and this is, hopefully, an area which, following further detailed and controlled research, can be built on. The possibilities are endless.

At an anecdotal level via their blog we found an account by Evan Szablowski of a chance visit to one of the villages.

There’s also a brief video from The Reporter Ethiopia.

No doubt this is causing, all in all, quite a stir in the two villages.


“One Laptop per Child (OLPC), a nonprofit association that I founded, launched the so-called XO Laptop in 2005 with built-in programming languages. There are 2.5 million XOs in the hand of kids today in 40 countries, with 25 languages in use. In Uruguay, where all 400,000 kids have an XO laptop, knowing how to program is required in schools. The same is now true in Estonia. In Ethiopia, 5,000 kids are writing computer programs in the language Squeak.” Nicholas Negroponte

Partially sourced from: One Laptop Per Child, MIT Technology Review, Mashable,  BBC, ITProPortal, Evan Szablowski

Larger cheaper and in the thick of it!

Google yesterday having not been able to open their Playground at the Pier, did it in a comparatively low key fashion on their Blog and announced a 4 / 7/ 10 series of Nexus devices.

We, as ever, will concentrate on number 10, their new Tablet. We should also give an early mention to Barnes & Noble who yesterday announced (in a press release) the availability of their Nook HD+ in the UK for immediate pre-order with deliveries from November 13.

Now back to Nexus10. We’ve done another of our little tables.

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Taking account of  aspect ratios, and with a little help from our friend Pythagoras,  we calculate, the screen works out to be marginally larger in sq mm (or inches!) than the entry level iPad and cheaper in the UK (although delivery charges probably even this up). Unfairly we, sort of, treat the Surface separately for some, as yet, unknown reason.

Overall the nook HD+ is smaller (20%) lighter (15%) and almost 30% cheaper than the Nexus. As we have said before we are a 7” & circa 120mm width tablet fan, but do recognise the importance of content. Our comments are based on “desktop”  rather than hands on experience of these larger tablets.

Barnes & Noble’s UK nook website continues to impress and we are very pleased to report that they have (at last) now tweeted (five times) on their UK account. Looking at the US equivalent this is likely to be the lull before the storm! Talking of which we were interested to see several of the US broadcasters highlighting some of the larger (Amazon & Google) Data Center locations in the context of possible Sandy damage threats.

Barnes & Noble also had two other UK press releases yesterday one confirming Asda as a UK partner retailer and another publicising an advertising campaign encouraging us all to “read in bed” which we may return to at a later date.

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Amazon are certainly being aggressive on their US site  with what almost qualifies as an attack ad. We could be in for some fun over the holiday season.





We will leave you with Goggle’s Nexus “Ask me anything” video


And the UK nook HD one as well

Sandy digital disruption.

New York is, very wisely, in lockdown and apparently eerily quiet.

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It means that both Google and AllThingsD have had to postpone their events today which will no doubt please Microsoft who have their East coast launch of the Windows Phone 8 in San Francisco at 5pm GMT today.

We live streamed the Windows Phone 8 event(see below). You can follow them on Twitter.

In some new research from The Mobile Operators Association (MOA) with YouGov it was found that over 58% of mobile phones in the UK are smartphones which was an increase of nearly 50% on a year ago.

Now Ofcom reckon 92% of UK adults own mobile phones  and, as we worked out before from the latest census figures,  the over 14 years of age UK population is likely around 52 million. So even if the 92% only had A phone (many of course of us have at least 2!) then the “could buy a smartphone instead of relying on their 20th century cell phone” brigade probably number over 20 million. To this of course can be added the 8% who reckon they “never really needed a phone” division. That’s another 4 million.

So 24 million of a UK market to address, is worth a lot of effort, even if it is a little crowded!

Microsoft Windows phone 8 launch webcast of the event either:

Live Blog from The Verge.

Partially sourced from AllThingsD, MOA, Ofcom & Microsoft
Photo: GrandCentral Station – AllThingsD

Keep an I on our Week (M & A edition)

That’s Microsoft & Apple of course!

The top three articles this week were:

  1. Pass the word – it’s get Safe Online Week
  2. It’s a numbers game 
  3. Epic mini battle underway 

So that’s probably Apple and Microsoft media evented out for this year, on the tablet front, we should think. Amazon have shipped their first Kindle Fires in the UK. So who has still to perform in advance of the upcoming spendfest?

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Google of course. Better late than Nexus they are doing their thing on Monday at Pier 36 in New York. It’s been postponed due to hurricane Sandy with a subsequent date TBA. Dangerous places piers!

Microsoft are going ahead, on Monday, in California with their latest Windows Phone 8 happening.

Maybe next year we should start having S/F Tablet weeks in San Francisco and New York ala  the A/W S/S London, Paris, Milan, New York and so on Fashion weeks. We now have this horrible concept of Tim Cook, Jeff Bezos, Steve Ballmer and Larry Page strutting up and down a catwalk hmmmmmm.

Incidentally on the numbers game post above there’s the Microsoft video of their Windows 8 launch on Thursday.


Here’s a certain Bill Gates introducing the Surface back in 2007!


On a lighter note, some early snow is appearing on the Glencoe Mountain webcams. This is what it can be like on a REALLY good day! (If you want to skip the drive up Loch Lomond scroll in about 2 minutes).

It’s Official – “The era of the PC has ended” ….. but

Gartner Inc Research Vice President Phil Redman said that at their Symposium/ITExpo in Florida this week continuing with “…… Employees are becoming more mobile and looking for ways to still be connected wherever work needs to be done.”

In support of the statement Gartner predict:

  • “… that through 2017, 90 percent of enterprises will have two or more mobile operating systems to support.
  • Over the next five years, 65 percent of enterprises will adopt a mobile device management (MDM) solution for their corporate liable users
  • Mobile device proliferation is inevitable and the only way that IT staff can maintain control is by separating mobile computing devices into three distinct device classes: trusted standard devices provided by the company, tolerated devices and non-supported devices.”

They go on to say that “Most companies and users are supporting the tablet for limited usage, typically for email and personal information management (PIM) functions.”

So summarising that, as we are all going to increasingly BYOD to work every organisation will need an  MDM solution to currently cater for email and PIM functions with much much more to come in the future.

BUT some like DLA Piper see troubles/opportunities ahead. In their report “Protecting confidential information: Trends and tactics for today’s employer” which  “reveals that 60 % of employers either allow or require employees to use their personal devices for work purposes. This is a trend we expect to see continue in the workplace, given the growing demands of today’s tech-savvy workforce and that many businesses are cutting costs – but is something which, inevitably, poses a security risk for UK companies.”

Their research identifies the risks arising in four specific areas:

  1. Data storage capabilities of portable devices
  2. BYOD
  3. Ownership of contacts
  4. Social Media

They found that 60% of respondents had concerns about social media but 61% didn’t have a policy for employees! 68% monitor employee usage and 24% request employees social media log-in details!

Information/data security of most concern to employers was found to be:

  • Pricing structures – 55%
  • Human Resource information  – 50%
  • Customer & supplier details – 46%
  • Business plans – 43%
  • Budgets and financial resources – 40%

We are surprised the 46% isn’t higher but maybe it doesn’t include customer contacts!

You can request a copy of the report as long as you agree to their email policy! We’re going to give it a shot & may report back!

In other (not wholly unrelated) news Amazon  have, most timeously, announced their Kindle app for Windows 8 so you can read all your books reports etc etc not only on your Surface, but also on zillions of other devices running Widows 8.

So if the PC era is dead is it worth Microsoft spending, allegedly over $1billion on the Windows 8 launch? – We shall see!

Information partially sourced from: Gartner Inc, DLA Piper & Amazon

It’s a Numbers Game….

….. for Microsoft & Apple .

UPDATE (2)  October 26

Roundup Q4 2012 results:

UPDATE (1) 9.15pm BST onwards Apple share price closed down about $7.03 at $609.80. In after hours trading at 10.30pm BST down $4.60 @ $604.90.


Revenues $36.0  billion

Earnings per share $8.67

Unit product Sales (millions) iPhone 26.9, iPad 14.0, Mac 4.9, iPod 5.3.

Actual results schedule – off to listen to the conference call. Further comment/ information tomorrow

Pending Conference call transcript & audio availability. The WSJ have a fairly comprehensive live blog of its content – Tim Cook hasn’t personally tried the Surface yet but likens it, sort of, to a car that flies & floats!

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Amazon earnings – Loss 60 cents per share. Shares after hours down $18 ish at $210. We hesitate to say that his scenario for Amazon is not unusual. @10.30pm BST recovered to being $3.72 down @ $219.20.

Microsoft had their Windows 8 launch in New York at Pier 57 starting at 11am EDT (4pm BST) which included a Surface “reception”.

Live blogging will be provided by numerous attendees but we will give you CNET’s site for starters.

Live stream was OK! The presentation was short & to us concentrated unduly on a rather confusing array of devices. We shall see!

The Windows 8 section of the Microsoft site is worth a look

The above is a video of the Widows 8 event & the start of the Surface section. A full Surface replay is available on the Microsoft site or on YouTube

An impressive part of the Surface presentation (trivia time) was the dropping of the tablet on stage. Apparently you can do this at 72 different angles of impact – now there’s a challenge!
After the Surface webcast here’s one of the new, Windows 8 videos.

We have done some updates as the day unfolded – but we did not realistically expect any fireworks! It is though a hugely significant event.

Apple’s 4th Quarter earnings will be released some 30-45 minutes after the closing bell tonight barring any mishaps!

Subsequently at 2pm PDT (10pm BST) they will hold their Conference Call which you can listen to from their website.

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Now on to those results. We have as before included Phillip Elmer-DeWitt’s excellent abstract of the numerous (68 this time) analysts and their predictions. We have also (E & OE) calculated averages for the professionals and independents unit product sales numbers.

He updated his article after the Special event on Tuesday for the iPad mini launch with these rather important words:

“NOTE: When Tim Cook announced Tuesday that iPad unit sales hit 100 million about two weeks ago, many analysts revised their numbers downward. Those changes are not reflected in the data that follow.”

We have been banging on about this 100 million figure for some time & certainly expected Apple to achieve it in the quarter ending in September ….. but they didn’t. Taking Tim Cook’s statement literally they achieved it on 9th October. This means that the maximum unit sales of iPads in the quarter is less than 15.9mn and probably less than 14.9mn assuming an even run rate. Pre the event the Professionals average prediction was 17.49 mn and the Independents 19.15 mn. That’s quite a miss about 20% down on the overall average. It could translate into earnings reductions of up to 50 cents we guess. Phillip Elmer-DeWitt did a short note on it and reports maybe a 31 cent average reduction.

The good news Tim mentioned was 3 million new iPod sales had already been achieved. This though would have minimum effect on earnings we think.

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We’ve put up our schedule of the quarters forecast ranging from Apple’e guidance through our own guess and will return later on to update it, and you, with all the numbers.

Amazon also announce their results after the close today. A loss of circa 7 cents per share is envisaged we understand.

Notes. (1) Apples guidance figures for Income (before taxes and Net) have been calculated by ourselves from the Apple information given in their last quarters results and conference call. (2) The Average EPS figure included in our header graphic of $9.48 is a simple average of the Independents and Professionals estimates.

Today’s Top 3 Technology Opportunities – Mobile, Mobile & Mobile

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Gartner  have just identified The Top 10 Strategic Technology Trends for 2013  as presented during their Symposium/ITexpo this week in Florida.

“Gartner defines a strategic technology as one with the potential for significant impact on the enterprise in the next three years. Factors that denote significant impact include a high potential for disruption to IT or the business, the need for a major dollar investment, or the risk of being late to adopt.”

“The top 10 strategic technology trends for 2013 include:

  • Mobile Device Battles
  • Mobile Applications and HTML5
  • Personal Cloud
  • Enterprise App Stores
  • The Internet of Things
  • Hybrid IT and Cloud Computing
  • Strategic Big Data
  • Actionable Analytics
  • In Memory Computing
  • Integrated Ecosystems

The apparent Mobile dominance led us to do a word cloud (courtesy of TagCrowd ) of their top 10 together with their accompanying paragraphs which confirmed our observation. We filtered out single occurrence words and limited our count to 70 of the 366 words. Frequencies of > 10 occurred for Mobile (13) Services (12) Devices (10) and Cloud (10). Cloud-based had 3 occurrences. Full (pdf).

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Reinforcing the currently perceived importance of mobile Display Search have just released certain of the latest findings from their Smartphones: Displays, Designs and Functionality report headlined Low-Cost Smartphone Shipments to Double Every Year from 2010 to 2016. It includes this global forecast showing smartphone shipments quadrupling from 2010 (over 250 million) to 2016 (over 1 billion).

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Incidentally, we think, their low-cost (“defined as models with a selling price of less than $150” say £100) is well made and that it might also in the longer term be replicated to a lesser extent in the tablet market. This could well be another Asia Pacific phenomena.




Elsewhere Udozi  (nice name!) with YouGov in their recent (early October) online research  “…. highlights the increasing importance of mobile technology when it comes to creating an integrated consumer shopping experience across all channels.”

On the mobile device front “With a quarter of all smartphone users (26 per cent) and over a third of tablet owners (35 per cent) using their devices to browse for products online before going in store to make a purchase, the survey brings to light the role of mobile in the overall shopping eco-system and how it has the potential to bridge the gap between retailers’ online offering and their bricks and mortar stores.”

Increasingly in the 21st century Mobile (rather than money) makes the world go round!

Epic MiNi battle underway

UPDATE 6pm BST until 7.15pm approx

General intro by Tim Cook & starting with Mac product updates then iPad. Tim Cook then summarises.

Watch the video of the full event.

Our highlights:

The mini

  • Press release
  • The name – iPad mini
  • Screen size – 7.9″
  • Colours – Black & white aluminium ala iPhone 5
  • HxWxD (mm) -200×134.7×7.2
  • Weight – .68lbs (308gm) our conversion
  • Memory from- 16GB
  • Wifi
  • Preorders for wifi models from – Friday October 26
  • Price from US – $329
  • Price from UK – £269
  • Availability  US – wifi -November 02. LTE – November 16
  • Availability  wide range of countries including the UK Wifi – November 02

Other iPad mentions/updates – Tim Cook announces over 100 million iPads sold.  iBooks Author update. 4th generation iPad -A6X chip, lightning connector same pricing

Other major announcements

  • Mac mini updated shipping from today
  • MacBook Pro 13″ with Retina Price US from $1,699 shipping from today
  • iMacs
  • Press release -MacBook ProAll New iMac

Updated comparisons  schedule  -The  iPad mini is very thin & light but a bit pricey at the entry level we feel.

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Live stream from  Apple events page! Elsewhere its reported to be a bit stuttery!  MacRumors amongst many zillions are live bloging the event. Apple shares are climbing back towards last nights close having been down $12 earlier in the day Currently $630 6.45 PM BST -$4 ish Subsequently dropped back to $618 ish at 7.15 BST. Closed at $613.36 down $20.67 on the day.

We’ll end the update with the advert shown during the Special event today.


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All invites have been accepted.



The theatre has been prepped.



Doors open at 9am PDT.


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The curtain rises at 10am PDT (6pm BST).


Live stream from  Apple events page!


We await the show, which we will report on during and after the event.



If you have an Apple TV there should now be an extra icon Apple events and come 10am PDT they will be live streaming their event. Unknown at present if it will also be available via their website – we will keep you informed. It is on their site  & should appear on their  Apple events page!

Apple store now closed so if you want to brush up on your language skills over you go.


In the meantime we have got together one of our little schedules showing the UK competition, which we shall also update after the event.

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We expect the Mini iPad (we still reckon this could be the name as there’s the New iPad precedent) to be a larger (likely 7.85 in screen) and be priced at a justifiable premium possibly  around the £220 level. We are hoping for an early November availability date in the UK. We doubt if Microsoft will ever introduce a Subsurface – but you never know!

There is a well argued case over at Tech Thoughts  estimating Google‘s Nexus 7 sales at between 6 and 8 million this year. We’ll settle for 7!

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As we predicted they are likely updating their Nexus 7 next week and, ….. roll on drums, rumoured to be introducing a 10 inch screen tablet, astonishingly named the Nexus 10. The information gathered by The Verge  include its likely manufacturer being identified as Samsung. We shall see on Monday October 29 by which time we will be on GMT again so we will only (temporarily) have  a 4 hour time difference with New York. Incidentally interesting to see that Microsoft this Thursday are at Pier 57 and Google on Monday at Pier 36. No 8’s or 10’s there then!

If you are in London and champing at the bit waiting for Windows 8 then The Inquirer warns you that PC World/Currys want to see you with “the promise of free tea or coffee, sausage rolls and doughnuts, (at) the Tottenham Court Road” branch from 00.01 am on Friday (very early) morning October 26. They are also providing a magician to keep you entertained, plus some discounts and freebies so you could dash along and join the queue – if there is one!  In the US (and Canada presumably) Microsoft stores (including their Holiday/Pop-up Stores which we calculate now outnumber their permanent ones!) with your Surface acquisition you can get a years free Xbox music —- if you’re in the first 100 in line at their opening!

We hope to welcome you back on our return just before 6pm BST

California Theatre photos from techie buzz

Pass the word – it’s Get Safe Online Week

Well Monday to Friday actually – this year’s slogan is “Click & Tell” with a special section on their site.

They also have a mobile (bus) roadshow going around as follows:

  • 22 October Cardiff
  • 23 October London
  • 24 October Leeds
  • 25 October Edinburgh
  • 26 October Belfast

Specific location details

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You are also encouraged to get involved with/as/when:

  1. Friends
  2. Neighbours
  3. At work
  4. a Social media user
  5. a Parent
  6. Keeping fit

Lots of tips tricks advice and more on their site.

This initiative has been active since October 2005 so we guess this must be their 7th birthday! Many happy returns.

The Media Agency Group are organising the campaign and Get Safe Online’s CEO Tony Neate says “Put simply, the internet is one of the greatest inventions the world has ever seen. It has so much to offer us all. Get Safe Online Week is definitely not about taking the fun out of being connected online, but about making sure everyone knows how to stay safe and secure when using it. We want to get as many people as possible sharing their experiences to make more people aware of how to protect themselves, their friends and family online.”

One of our challenges, and we may not be unique(!), is keeping track of our personal and business passwords, usernames, security questions etc etc.

All Things D have a review of some of the Password Manger systems / apps that are around and , sort of, recommend Last Pass.

They have a slightly strange sounding video!

Keep an I on our Week (Top & tots tablet edition)

The top three +1 articles this week were:

1.  How many MiNi’s can you squeeze into a media event 

2.  A digital transformation is underway 

3= UK figures in UN’s lowest 25 & top 10

3= Internet sales could reach £10 billion this quarter

As Apple finally announced its MiNi iPad (& Mac) media event on Tuesday past it makes it possibly the most crowded upcoming week ever in the Top Tablet sector.

  • Tuesday 23 – Likely MiNi iPad launch (San Jose)
  • Wednesday 24 – Surface reception (New York)
  • Thursday  25 Surface deliveries commence, Kindle Fire deliveries commence in UK

Macrumors have a whole separate section (via a tab in their navigation bar) called Roundups which gathers together all the rumours, leaks etc about “Apple’s upcoming new product releases and updates.” In the MiNi iPad section they have this very revealing little schematic showing the relative screen sizes of the main competitors. (excluding the Surface which has a 10.6 in screen and a 16/9 ratio {we think that equates to 47.5 insq ish}). We have to admit we keep saying the 7” MiNi whereas of course it’s really the 7.85” MiNi quite a difference (although we do have a preference for the 7” size ourselves)

Now onto the Tots Tablets. Many retailers particularily in the US are already publishing their top 20 seasonal toys and two specialist tablets figure widely. They are the LeapFrog LeapPad 2 Explorer  and the Innotab 2S .  Both are available in the UK and cost around the £70 mark. Toys R Us have (unsurprisingly) their own Tabeo in their list, but as we mentioned before   this isn’t available in the UK. For the younger age groups we think these are brilliant!

Here’s comparison of the two followed by a couple of links through to Amazon if you want to have a closer look.

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We have an affiliate marketing relationship with Amazon.