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The Desire2Learn Edge Challenge

edge

A new competition that should appeal to DePaul entrepreneurial students. The Desire2Learn Edge Challenge is a chance to build an educational mobile app and win $25,000 and a trip to San Diego to present your prototype to eLearning Leaders at the Desire2Learn User Conference.

More information can be found here.

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Testing the Entourage eDGe

eDGe

The nice folks at enTourage Systems and CDW-G have let me borrow an Entourage eDGe to test for the next 30 days.

The eDGe is an interesting device – it is a dualbook, with an e-ink e-reader screen on one side, and an Android-based tablet on the other. The concept is that this could be the perfect student device – it would allow students to conveniently carry all their textbooks in a way that made taking notes very easy.

The box contained:

  • eDGe
    • USB Cable
    • Power brick
    • Instructions card

Over the next few days I will be experimenting with the device. The final report will end up here, but I may blog about some of the discoveries on my personal blog.

enTourage eDGe™ Specifications

  • Dimensions: 8.25" by 10.75" by 1.0" (closed)
    Weight: approx. 3 lbs.
    Internal Memory: 4 GB (3 GB for user)
    Reader File Formats: ePub, PDF
    LCD Touchscreen (Tablet) Display Size: 1024 x 600 (10.1")
    E-paper (Reader) Display Size: 9.7" E Ink® (1200 x 825), 8 shades of gray
    E-paper (Reader) Input: Wacom Penabled®
    Operating System: Linux® with Google® Android™
    Screen Rotation: 90 and 180 degrees
    Connectivity: Wi-Fi™ 802.11 b/g, Bluetooth® capability
    Battery Life: 16+ hours utilizing the reader or up to 6 hours running the tablet
    Battery Type: Lithium-ion polymer
    External Memory: SD card slot, 2 USB ports
    Audio and Microphone Jack: 3.5 mm each. Includes internal microphone and speakers.
    Audio playback: MP3, WAV, 3GPP, MP4, AAC, OGG, M4A
    Video playback: 3GP, MP4, Adobe Flash Lite® (H.264), AVI (DivX encoded), AVI (Xvid encoded), MOV, WMV
    Input: Stylus input on reader and tablet. Virtual keyboard. USB keyboard (optional)

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Entourage and Cengage Learning E-Textbooks


Entourage and Cengage Learning will be collaborating on e-textbooks. This looks pretty interesting, as the enTourage edge has a dualscreen display that opens up like a real book. The only downside is the cost - $539.00….

If I were a student I would most likely not spend $539.00 on the enTourage edge – my money would more likely first go on a smartphone (Android or iPhone, maybe Meego), and then maybe a netbook or iPad. All three devices have the ability to display e-textbooks and add extra value:

  • Smartphone: Small, always with you. Downsides are hard to read and harder to annotate.
    • Netbook: General purpose device (large array of programs to install), has keyboard. Downside is smallish screen.
    • iPad: Media device, plays Netflix, games, apps, etc. Downside is limited to apps that Apple allows (and web browser lacks Flash and some functionality).

However, I think the form factor of the enTourage edge is pretty dam exciting. If either universities or publishers can subsidize the hardware, then this could take off. Textbooks are heavy and expensive – the flip to digital will happen at some point, but only if hardware costs go down.


List of current e-texbooks can be found here.

Full press release is on the web.

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