It may not make up for the years of student loan payments, but freshman students at Seton Hall University are getting a big freebie: their very own Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phones.
Seton Hall is handing out the devices as a part of a larger technology push spearheaded by the university’s Center for Mobile Research and Innovation. Along with the phones, students will also get prepaid service that will last them through their first semester.
Much of the benefit with the program will come in the form of two particular apps: SHU Mobile, and the Freshman Experience Hub. While the former is multi-platform, the latter was designed specifically for the Lumia 900, and allows students to message each other, check on their housing situations, and look for peer advisors.
Seton Hall also plans to make use of Nokia Data Gathering, which will allow the school to get a sense for how the devices are being used.
But the big question is, why the Lumia 900? David Middleton, Executive Director at Seton Hall’s Center for Mobile Research and Innovation, said in an interview that the decision was the result of two primary concerns: The university wanted a device that was both durable and integrated well into Seton Hall’s existing IT infrastructure. It also didn’t hurt that the school had already been working with Microsoft on other initiatives. With these things in mind, the Lumia 900 seems like a pretty obvious choice.
The program, however, does seem a tad wasteful, seeing as how most college kids nowadays already have their own smartphones. As far as how much the whole deal costs, the numbers probably look something like this: The average Seton Hall class is 1325 students. Multiply that by the $450 for an off-contract Nokia 900, and you have a final price tag on the order of $600,000. (This comes to $131,000 if the devices are subsidized.)
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