Apple’s iPad may get the headlines and the market share, but Amazon’s Kindle looks like a better choice to at least one federal agency. Today Amazon agreed to a no-bid, $16.5 million contract with the U.S. State Department to provide 2,500 Kindle Touches for the government’s overseas language-education programs.

The document released today identifies the State Department’s need for a program that provides “a secure, centrally managed content distribution and management platform to centrally manage an unlimited number of e-reader/tablet devices.” and unfortunately Apple’s iPad falls short of this requirement, according to the State Department. But that isn’t the only factor.

“The additional features [of the iPad] are not only unnecessary, but also present unacceptable security and usability risks for the government’s needs in this particular project,” the State Department document says. “Critically, the Apple iPad falls short on two requirements: the centrally managed platform for registration and content delivery, and battery life.”

According to the State Department, the Kindle not only surpasses these requirements, but also has international 3G capabilities, text-to-speech features and an extended battery life. These features alone were enough for a $16.5 million contract. With its deal, the State Department can purchase more than 2,500 Kindles over the next five years. This leaves Amazon the job of shipping these devices overseas, as well as teaching the specifics on how to access content while providing 24/7 customer service.

Amazon is also responsible for disabling “certain standard features for the e-Reader.”

Photo via The Daring Librarian/Flickr

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