Amazon challenges Apple in education with Whispercast

Since launching the iPad, Apple (s AAPL) has made a big push in education but, going forward, it looks like it will face increasing competition from rival Amazon (s AMZN).

On Wednesday, the Seattle-based tech giant announced that it was rolling out Whispercast, a new service for managing content across a fleet of devices that has particular significance for schools. Through Whispercast, a teacher or school administrator could purchase and distribute content to students across a class or grade level, as well as restrict additional purchases and web browsing on the device.

To start, the service will work across Kindle devices, as well as Kindle apps for iOS and Android, and in the coming months it will expand to the Kindle Fire, Amazon said. The service can also extend to devices students may have owned previously.

As schools increasingly bring more technology into the classroom, no doubt Amazon wants to be sure that it captures as much of the market as it can. While Apple’s interactive iPad has made significant headway in schools – in the second quarter of this year alone Apple sold one million iPads to schools – Amazon can now not only offer schools lower-priced devices but an easy way to distribute and control content for students.

Amazon has previously pushed into the e-textbook market with a textbook rental service, mostly geared toward college students, but with Whispercast, it is making a bigger play in K-12 education. Amazon’s site features case studies that show Whispercast in use across various grade levels.

In addition to targeting schools, Whispercast also applies to businesses and non-profits, which can similarly benefit from the central procurement and distribution of digital content.