enTourage eDGe dualbook gets deals with academia

The enTourage eDGe dualbook made its official debut at CES last week, along with lots of other e-book readers, dual-screen laptops, and more. We mentioned the eDGe book store, but that book store is gaining usefulness with the announcement of deals with publishers McGraw Hill, Oxford University Press and John Wiley & Sons, which will bring a number of academic texts to the dualbook. And enTourage has just inked a deal with Blackboard, a leading e-learning platform.

As part of the alliance, McGraw-Hill will make nearly 100 of its top-selling higher education titles available for purchase through the enTourage Systems’ e-book store, spanning disciplines such as business, economics, science, math, humanities, foreign languages and social sciences. Some key titles include Managerial Accounting (Garrison, 13th edition); Principles of Economics (Frank, 4th ed.); Biology (Mader, 10th ed.); Elementary Statistics (Bluman, 5th ed.); Puntos de Partida (Knorre, 8th ed.); The Art of Public Speaking (Lucas, 10th ed.) and American History (Brinkley, 13th ed.).

The Oxford press deal includes “a licensing agreement that incorporates the Oxford American College Dictionary directly into the device’s dictionary application, which lets enTourage eDGe users search for definitions of words or phrases.” That, friends, is a pretty nice feature for students.

Finally, enTourage “has joined the Blackboard Alliance Program™ as a Blackboard Building Blocks Partner™ and will be developing advanced collaboration features to use with the widely deployed Blackboard Learn™ platform.”

As a result of its collaboration with Blackboard, enTourage Systems will be able to provide a single device that allows students and instructors to effortlessly share notes, textbook annotations and multimedia content while simultaneously having access to class schedules, campus maps, an online e-book store and announcements. The enTourage eDGe’s powerful Library application will be linked to the Blackboard Learn Content Module for easy file sharing between students and teachers. The new functionality is targeted for a software release for the enTourage eDGe in June 2010.

As someone who works in a university setting, I can say pretty confidently that this will be a great tool for many students, assuming of course that Blackboard is in use at the target institution (it’s not, where I work).

At almost $500, the eDGe is priced close to a traditional laptop, more than a netbook, and more than the leading ebook reader (Amazon’s Kindle). As these new deals mature, though, the eDGe looks well placed to surpass each of those other devices in terms of useful functionality for students.