International, Investors, Required, Technology - Written by on Saturday, August 27, 2011 23:18 - 0 Comments

Education Tablet Makers Apple, Microsoft, and Plastic Logic Make a Grab for Lucrative International Markets

photo: Courtesy Plastic Logic

The flexible Plastic Logic reader, Que

by Elbert Chu


On the heels of Steve Job’s departure, Apple is going head-to-head with Microsoft for  possible education tailored tablets reports Fast Company’s Kit Eaton. Apparently, the potential suitor is Turkey. Eaton runs the numbers assuming Turkey really means to buy 15 million tablets, all of which would then have to be manufactured in Turkey (emphasis mine):

Looking at it from Apple’s point of view, we know that Apple’s entry-level iPad 2 with Wi-Fi–the most likely device for the deal–sells for $499 in the U.S., and though there’s no Turkish Apple Store, the same unit sells for as much as €479 in other European nations (Portugal, for example) which is an equivalent of around $680. According to expert estimates, the iPad 2′s bill of materials is around $326, which means even in the U.S. Apple could snip $100 off the price and still enjoy a reasonable profit on the hardware sale. Assuming it offered 15 million units to Turkey at $400 a piece–a big knock-down on the local equivalent price–that equates to an instant revenue of $6 billion. And we can probably assume this would lead to billions more in iTunes income over the years as all those schools bought apps, and fed Apple it’s usual 30% iTunes revenue cut.

Plastic Logic’s competing tablet technology does not use glossy touch screens like iPads and most other tablets. The Cambridge, U.K.-based company’s Que sported a sunny-day-at-the-beach-friendly matte screen of a Kindle or Nook. What makes the Plastic Logic offering even more intriguing is their technology means a flexible reader (read: it bends), unlike the rigid panes of glass everyone is accustomed to. Plastic Logic looked to have disappeared after initially raising $150-million, but their latest announcement has the Russians coming in to apply the technology in classrooms with a multi-year $700-million deal. Eaton reports:

The money is coming from Rusnano, the official venture investment arm of the Russian government, and it’ll see 1,000 of PL’s e-readers on test in the field. Rusnano demonstrated the device to prime minister Vladimir Putin (who was apparently delighted at the lack of a hard screen, noting it would be safe even if “students decide to fight with each other via computer”) and it’s most probably thanks to his approval that the hundreds of millions of dollars have begun to flow to Plastic Logic’s base in Cambridge, U.K.

via Apple, Microsoft, Plastic Logic Go Global For The Billion-Dollar Educational Tablet Market | Fast Company.


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