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Amazon announced its new “Whispercast for Kindle” feature on Wednesday that it hopes will help push adoption of its eReader and Kindle Fire devices in school systems and in the enterprise. “ispercast provides a single access point to easily purchase and distribute Kindle books and documents for educational, marketing and employee incentive programs across Kindle devices and free Kindle reading applications for iPad, iPhone, Android phones and tablets, PCs and Macs,” the company said in a statement. Amazon added that it will soon support Kindle Fire applications, too.

Whispercast for Kindle basically allows a company or a school system to purchase large amounts of Kindle Fire or Kindle eReader devices and manages them all easily. The groups can also design their own “bring your own device” programs that can be integrated into the Whispercast system. “Whispercast gives teachers and educators access to millions of Kindle books, including best sellers and free classics, they can easily purchase and distribute to develop educational programs for every age group and level,” Amazon explained.

Here’s one example of how it can be used in real life:

“With Whispercast, our professional sales representatives can focus on helping our clients choose the medical information they want on their Kindle devices,” said Jim Donohue, Managing Director, Global Clinical Reference, Elsevier. “Rather than dealing with the logistics of shipping, managing and replacing physical books, hospitals and life sciences companies can now use Whispercast to immediately procure and distribute select Elsevier eBooks to their clinicians, researchers and staff.”

Amazing stuff, and certainly another way that Amazon can continue to compete with Apple, which already has a large footprint in the education and enterprise sectors.

Announcing Whispercast for Kindle–A Free Self-Service Tool for Schools and Businesses to Manage Large Deployments of Kindles and Support Purchase and Distribution of Kindle Books and Documents Across Kindle E-Readers, Kindle Fires and Free Kindle Reading Apps

Whispercast will also include support for “bring your own device” programs for students and employees wanting to add their own devices to a Whispercast account, and in the coming months the ability to support distribution of applications from the Amazon Appstore for AndroidSEATTLE–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Oct. 17, 2012– (NASDAQ:AMZN) – Amazon.com, Inc. today announced “Whispercast for Kindle,” giving schools and business customers a simple, scalable online tool for deploying Kindle devices and Kindle content. Whispercast provides a single access point to easily purchase and distribute Kindle books and documents for educational, marketing and employee incentive programs across Kindle devices and free Kindle reading applications for iPad, iPhone, Android phones and tablets, PCs and Macs. In the coming months, Whispercast will support distribution of Kindle Fire applications. Whispercast works with Kindle e-readers and Kindle Fire tablets, including the recently announced $69 Kindle, Kindle Paperwhite, Kindle Paperwhite 3G, Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD, Kindle Fire HD 8.9” and Kindle Fire HD 8.9” 4G LTE. To learn more about Whispercast, visit http://whispercast.amazon.com.

“Hundreds of thousands of students around the world are already reading on Kindle,” said Dave Limp, Vice President, Amazon Kindle. “Today, we are announcing Whispercast, a free, scalable solution for school and business administrators to centrally manage thousands of Kindles and wirelessly distribute Kindle books as well as their own documents to their users. Organizations can also design bring-your-own-device programs at school or work using personally-owned Kindles, Kindle Fires, and other tablets using the free Kindle reading applications for receiving content.”

Whispercast for Schools

Whispercast gives teachers and educators access to millions of Kindle books, including best sellers and free classics, they can easily purchase and distribute to develop educational programs for every age group and level. And with Kindle books students no longer need to carry heavy textbooks. Kindle devices can also help meet the individual needs of students with features such as adjustable font sizes, line spacing, built-in dictionaries and the ability to add and share their own notes and highlights. Whispercast support for Kindle Fire, Kindle Fire HD and the free Kindle reading apps on iOS, Android, PC and Mac gives students the ability to explore and learn with full-color Kindle books, including interactive children’s books and websites. Schools can also register and seamlessly manage the settings on all their Kindles, including adding password protection, centrally configuring wireless connectivity to their organizations’ private networks and restricting individual purchases.

“We have been using Kindles in our schools for two and half years, and our students are more enthusiastic than ever about reading and studying,” said Keith Mastroides, Principal at Clearwater High School. “We started with 2,000 Kindle e-readers at our school and the program has been so successful that we have expanded it beyond our school and now more than 122 schools in the district are using Kindles. Whispercast gives us the ability to better streamline the process to manage our Kindles and content, so we can continue to grow the program.”

Whispercast for Business

Whispercast makes it easy for business owners to manage and deploy fleets of Kindle e-readers and tablets as a way to support employee productivity or customer marketing initiatives. Additionally, Whispercast makes it easy to centrally distribute PDFs and other business documents such as a conference agenda or training materials to employees or customers. With “bring your own device” support businesses will be able to distribute documents and Kindle books to personally-owned Kindles and other devices with access to free Kindle reading applications. Businesses will also be able to use Whispercast to purchase and distribute applications from the Amazon Appstore for Kindle Fires in the coming months.

“With Whispercast, our professional sales representatives can focus on helping our clients choose the medical information they want on their Kindle devices,” said Jim Donohue, Managing Director, Global Clinical Reference, Elsevier. “Rather than dealing with the logistics of shipping, managing and replacing physical books, hospitals and life sciences companies can now use Whispercast to immediately procure and distribute select Elsevier eBooks to their clinicians, researchers and staff.”

Whispercast for Non-Profit Organizations

Even nonprofit organizations with remote locations around the world have experienced the benefits of Whispercast. “Over the past year, Worldreader has trialed Whispercast to wirelessly deliver over 200,000 e-books to children in sub-Saharan Africa,” said David Risher, President of the literacy charity Worldreader. “With Whispercast, we are helping kids read more than ever. Kids no longer have to wait for a new book to be shipped. It is simply delivered electronically and waiting for them to start reading.”

Whispercast Features

Easily manage fleets of Kindles

With Whispercast, administrators can register and assign users to all of their organizations’ Kindle devices at once, creating personalized Kindle experiences for each student or employee.

Support for “bring your own device”

With support for personal devices, organizations can invite employees, students, customers and partners to receive content from the organization on their Kindles.

Create user groups

Whispercast gives administrators the ability to assign users into one or more groups, such as specific class, grade level or corporate department. User groups make it easier to purchase and distribute content for each group’s unique needs.

Control device settings, such as Wi-Fi and password protection

Schools and businesses can configure device settings across all their Kindles, including configuring wireless connectivity to private networks for a simple and secure user experience as well as restricting web access and purchases.

Wirelessly distribute Kindle books, documents and applications

Whispercast makes it easy for organizations to centrally distribute Kindle books as well as documents on an individual basis. In the coming months, Whispercast administrators will be able to purchase and send Kindle Fire applications. Additionally, during the purchase process organizations will be able to select which content should be assigned to specific user groups they have created.

Support for free Kindle reading apps on iOS, Android, and other devices

Schools and businesses can purchase and send Kindle books and distribute documents to devices using any of the free Kindle reading apps, including iPads, iPhones, Android phones and tablets, PCs and Macs.

Support for centralized procurement

Organizations can efficiently purchase Kindle devices and content through a single payment method, including purchase orders, as well asAmazon gift cards or credit cards.

For more information about Whispercast, visit http://whispercast.amazon.com.

For high resolution images and video of Kindle e-readers and tablets, visit www.amazon.com/pr/kindle.