The schools' ActiveSync networks are now off limits to new Apple and Android tablets
In January, according to the New York Times, the NYC public school system -- the largest in the U.S. -- joined the latest educational technology bandwagon and spent $1.3 million to buy 2,000 iPads for classroom use.
On Nov 10., the Department of Education's IT department slammed on the brakes.
In a memo addressed to all the city's principals, deputy CTO Tom Kambouras warned that due to the proliferation of iPads, iPod touches and Android devices, the department's wireless network -- a Microsoft (MSFT) Exchange system running ActiveSync -- was approaching its resource limits. Drastic action was required.
"As of Thursday, November 10th," he wrote, "no additional users will be allowed to receive email via NYCDOE's Exchange ActiveSync... There will be no exceptions to this policy."
In addition to e-mail, ActiveSync provides wireless push synchronization of contacts, calendars and other tasks. Users trying to configure tablets on ActiveSync with their DOE username and password after Nov. 10 triggered an "Unable to verify account" error message.
As result, some teachers who had purchased new iPads for their classrooms canceled their orders.
Technically, the ActiveSync ban applies to Google (GOOG) Android tablets as well as iPads, but we haven't heard any teachers complaining about having to return a shipment of Samsung Galaxy Tabs.
Tablets that are already configured are exempt from the new rules, as are BlackBerries and BlackBerry PlayBooks, presumably because they bypass ActiveSync.
A spokesman for the NYC Department of Education, which serves 1.1 million students in more than 1,700 schools, said that the new rules should only affect staff members, not students, and that the department is working on an fix. According to the DOE's helpdesk, upgrading the department's Exchange servers could take "an indeterminate amount of time."
Apple (AAPL), which has pushed hard to get iPads in students' hands, had no immediate comment.
Below: The text of the DOE memo.
It's official. Google just announced Android 2.2 (Froyo), the latest update to its mobile operating system. Here's a handy run-down of some of its included features:
1. Microsoft Exchange support.
2. Applications that run 2-5 times faster thanks to the new compiler.
3. Users availing of tethering and hot spot will receive one joint bill from a carrier, a dig at the iPad, whether it be intentional or not.
4. The web browser now MORESeth Weintraub - May 20, 2010 12:21 PM ET
Even before Apple (AAPL) launched the iPhone, says American Technology Research analyst Shaw Wu, he suspected the device would have "mediocre" corporate e-mail support -- stemming in part from Microsoft's (MSFT) "lukewarm support" of Exchange on the Mac platform. (After all, Redmond has its Windows franchise to defend.)
That key weakness is likely to be addressed at the iPhone special event scheduled for next Thursday, according to Wu's industry and developer MOREPhilip Elmer-DeWitt - Feb 28, 2008 12:28 PM ET
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