South Korea is planning to replace all textbooks with tablet computers by 2015, according to a report by The Chonsunilbo. The Ministry of Education has allotted around $2.04 billion (2.2 trillion won) for the endeavour.
“The ministry wants to develop digital textbooks for all subjects and all schools. In the early stage of transition, both paperback and digital textbooks will be used… The digital textbooks will contain the contents of ordinary textbooks and various reference resources such as multimedia and FAQs to help students understand the materials better.”
“The government also wants to build a cloud computing system in all schools, so that users can access a database of all digital textbooks and choose what they want from their tablet PCs,” reports the Chonsunilbo.
This is a bold move. It is not, however, the first attempt to digitize classroom texts. In 2009, seven American universities tried out Amazon’s Kindle DX E-book as a textbook substitute. Reed College, one of the participating schools, reported that the Kindle DX “was unable to meet their academic needs,” although they added that E-books would become more useful once several issues have been addressed.
The South Korean government has not announced which tablet PC it will use. Technology Review, an MIT publication, suspects that the politically influential Samsung could profit from the government program. Samsung has launched its line of Galaxy Tab tablet PC’s that run Google’s Android OS. The tablet market is currently dominated by Apple’s iPad.
Here are 10 stocks that could benefit if other countries choose to follow in South Korea’s footsteps. Do you think that tablets revolutionise the classroom? Or are heavy textbooks here to stay?
List sorted by market cap.
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1. Apple Inc. (AAPL): Market cap of $317.43 billion. It popularised and has dominated the tablet computing industry with the iPad, which generates more than 89% of tablet internet traffic.
2. Google Inc. (GOOG): Market cap of $167.9 billion. Google’s Android operating system is currently the most-widely used smartphone platform and the second most popular tablet platform. It is used by most non-iPad tablets and non-iPhone smartphones.
3. Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN): Market cap of $94.7 billion. The online shopping giant helped pioneer the E-Book industry with its popular Kindle line of products.
4. Hewlett-Packard Company (HPQ): Market cap of $76.85 billion. It recently launched its HP TouchPad, which runs on webOS, a platform developed by Palm before it was bought by HP.
5. Dell Inc. (DELL): Market cap of $32.02 billion. It is challenging the iPad with its Streak tablets that run Google’s Android OS. It also has a “convertible” tablet, the Inspiron duo, which is a hybrid between a laptop and a tablet.
6. Sony Corporation (SNE): Market cap of $26.69 billion. Sony’s Reader line of touch screen E-books is a competitor of the Amazon Kindle. Sony is also expanding its line of touch devices with products like the Dash.
7. Panasonic Corporation (PC): Market cap of $25.61 billion. Panasonic’s business electronics division sells a line of rugged tablet PCs that accompany its line of Toughbook notebooks. It has also announced a new Toughbook tablet that will run the Android OS.
8. Research In Motion Limited (RIMM): Market cap of $15.16 billion. The BlackBerry maker has released the BlackBerry PlayBook, a tablet PC that runs on the BlackBerry platform, which is mainly targeted at corporate clients.
9. Motorola Mobility Holdings, Inc. (MMI): Market cap of $6.93 billion. The Motorola Xoom is an iPad competitor that runs on the Android OS (like the Motorola Droid line of smartphones).
10. Synaptics Inc. (SYNA): Market cap of $887.42 million. It develops touch screen technology and manufacturers touch screen displays which are used in tablet PCs, smartphones, and many other touch devices.
(List compiled by Andrew Dominguez. Data sourced from Finviz. Andrew Dominguez owns AAPL stock)