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Daily Fast Feed Roundup

Good morning Tumblr! Here’s a quick rundown of what you need to know today: 

Have a great day!

M. Cecelia Bittner and Jessica Hullinger

It was like, oh my god, I can be so much more productive if I actually let my brain have a little downtime. When I get up in the morning I’m very sharp now. I can do things much faster. I’m much more focused. I feel much fresher. I feel like I used to feel before the Internet was popular.

-Kord Campbell, who recently participated in a digital detox hosted by Camp Grounded. We’ve collected stories from people who regularly unplug from their devices.

Here are the lessons they’re learning.

News Corp Gets Into The Tablet Business With Amplify
Joel Klein, head of News Corporation's new Amplify education brand, announced today at the South By Southwest Educationconference in Austin, Texas, that the company has designed its own branded Android tablet-sized computer. It comes bundled with software designed for teachers and students.
The Amplify tablet comes preloaded with a whole mess of content—Google Apps for Education, Common Sense Media-rated audio, video, games, online textbooks, Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, and a graphing calculator. It has specialized search tools to find millions of hours worth of digital lessons and homework, all aligned to Common Core educational standards that are currently being adopted by most school systems. 

You could probably take it along with your 5-year-old kid to a desert island and get her halfway to a college degree.

But that’s not all. Amplify was built from News Corp’s acquisition of Wireless Generation, a major vendor of software-based data systems and assessment tools to schools. So in addition to the content, the new tablets will have lesson-plan builders and dashboard-style tools for teachers, principals, and parents to track and monitor students’ performance.
The 10-inch tablet will be marketed to states, districts, and individual schools for use this coming school year. The cost is $299 a pop for a Wi-Fi-enabled tablet when you buy a two-year subscription to Amplify-branded content, which costs $99 a year. Or you can get one with a 4G data plan for $349 per device and a $179 a year contract. This compares to $399a pop for a non-4G iPad, the most popular tablet in U.S. classrooms. The subscription fees include live chat, phone, and email support and professional development for teachers.
The enthusiasm for touchscreen tablets and phablets in education is surprising even the most ardent technology fans. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said ”the adoption of the iPad in education is something I’ve never seen in any technology.” Education spending on IT is estimated to be at least $20 billion annually, of which a little more than half is currently going to hardware. The Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus, Kindle, Microsoft Surface, and even the Nook are allvying for market share.
Asked by Fast Company why Amplify wanted to enter this crowded field on the hardware side, Klein cited the power of an integrated hardware and software platform. “My view has been that if we don’t design a product that really facilitates and changes teaching and learning, and all the supports that go together to make this a robust package, then we’ll be where we’ve been [in the past].”
Read the full article here. 
As exciting as this is, one must wonder what happens to the students in schools that can’t afford these tools? 

News Corp Gets Into The Tablet Business With Amplify

Joel Klein, head of News Corporation's new Amplify education brand, announced today at the South By Southwest Educationconference in Austin, Texas, that the company has designed its own branded Android tablet-sized computer. It comes bundled with software designed for teachers and students.

The Amplify tablet comes preloaded with a whole mess of content—Google Apps for Education, Common Sense Media-rated audio, video, games, online textbooks, Merriam-Webster’s Dictionary, and a graphing calculator. It has specialized search tools to find millions of hours worth of digital lessons and homework, all aligned to Common Core educational standards that are currently being adopted by most school systems.

You could probably take it along with your 5-year-old kid to a desert island and get her halfway to a college degree.

But that’s not all. Amplify was built from News Corp’s acquisition of Wireless Generation, a major vendor of software-based data systems and assessment tools to schools. So in addition to the content, the new tablets will have lesson-plan builders and dashboard-style tools for teachers, principals, and parents to track and monitor students’ performance.

The 10-inch tablet will be marketed to states, districts, and individual schools for use this coming school year. The cost is $299 a pop for a Wi-Fi-enabled tablet when you buy a two-year subscription to Amplify-branded content, which costs $99 a year. Or you can get one with a 4G data plan for $349 per device and a $179 a year contract. This compares to $399a pop for a non-4G iPad, the most popular tablet in U.S. classrooms. The subscription fees include live chat, phone, and email support and professional development for teachers.

The enthusiasm for touchscreen tablets and phablets in education is surprising even the most ardent technology fans. Apple CEO Tim Cook has said ”the adoption of the iPad in education is something I’ve never seen in any technology.” Education spending on IT is estimated to be at least $20 billion annually, of which a little more than half is currently going to hardware. The Samsung Galaxy, Google Nexus, Kindle, Microsoft Surface, and even the Nook are allvying for market share.

Asked by Fast Company why Amplify wanted to enter this crowded field on the hardware side, Klein cited the power of an integrated hardware and software platform. “My view has been that if we don’t design a product that really facilitates and changes teaching and learning, and all the supports that go together to make this a robust package, then we’ll be where we’ve been [in the past].”

Read the full article here. 

As exciting as this is, one must wonder what happens to the students in schools that can’t afford these tools? 

Lessons For Building A Tablet Magazine That’s Actually Worth Using

Tablets might save magazines someday, but we’re not there yet. In May, Hearst International reported that it was selling around 600,000 tablet editions a month. That’s not bad, but it’s nothing compared to the 22 million magazines the publisher sells every month in print. That disparity will diminish as more people buy tablets, but there’s another significant hurdle standing in the way of the tablet magazine: no one has really figured out how to do them right.

So when Opening Ceremony, the taste-making international clothing boutique, was planning its new once-a-year magazine and attendant iPad app, they decided to do something a little bit radical.


One important thing you need to know about the S Pen is that it is not a stylus. “Make no mistake, this is not a stylus,” said Travis Merrill, Samsung’s director of tablet marketing, during the same presentation. “Our competitors have nothing like it. The S Pen looks and feels like a pen, yet it’s packed with advanced technology.”
To be fair, it’s a pretty cool stylu—er, “S-Pen.” For one, it uses electromagnetic technology to wirelessly sync with the screen, which helps accuracy. If you increase pressure on the S Pen, for instance, the line will be thicker on the screen. The screen distinguishes between more than 1,000 levels of pressure sensitivity.

Everyone Has A Tablet. Samsung Launched A Pen

One important thing you need to know about the S Pen is that it is not a stylus. “Make no mistake, this is not a stylus,” said Travis Merrill, Samsung’s director of tablet marketing, during the same presentation. “Our competitors have nothing like it. The S Pen looks and feels like a pen, yet it’s packed with advanced technology.”

To be fair, it’s a pretty cool stylu—er, “S-Pen.” For one, it uses electromagnetic technology to wirelessly sync with the screen, which helps accuracy. If you increase pressure on the S Pen, for instance, the line will be thicker on the screen. The screen distinguishes between more than 1,000 levels of pressure sensitivity.

Everyone Has A Tablet. Samsung Launched A Pen

Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer unveiled a suite of Microsoft Surface products, including a signature tablet. The 9.3 mm Microsoft Surface tablet, powered by Windows 8, is a hair thinner than the 9.4 mm iPad 3, and its 10.6-inch display has a full inch on the iPad’s. The Surface’s two standout features are a full-sized, multitouch keyboard with trackpad that also doubles as the device’s case, and a built-in kickstand for hands-free use. It also includes a magnetized stylus that uses digital ink and a full-sized USB 2 port.

Watch the video->

There’s nothing shipping yet, so I don’t know—we’ll assess [the Android tablets] as they come out. Generally they lack the performance specs, they lack prices, they lack timing, and today, they’re vapor. They are not tablets that we have any concern for.

Fighting words from Apple interim CEO Tim Cook