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New recruits will receive the cream of the Windows phone crop, in-house messaging, networking

New Jersey's Seton Hall University, like many schools, has a mobile computing initiative.  But where most schools simply try to make their websites friendlier to mobile devices, Seton Hall is going the extra mile with an unusual initiative.  It's paired with AT&T, Inc. (T) and Nokia Oyj. (OMX:NOK1V) to distribute units of the popular Lumia 900 LTE Windows Phone to new incoming students in the class of 2016.

Comments Michael Taylor, Academic Director, Center for Mobile Research & Innovation, "Mobile technology has become ubiquitous and pervasive, but we are just beginning to understand the breadth of its impact across campus. Smartphone use in higher education has tended to rely on finding a specific app to fulfill a specific curricular purpose. With the close collaboration between Nokia and Microsoft on the Lumia 900, the phone itself takes center stage."

University faculty say the phones will help students have 24-7 access to Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Office suite.  They say the phone giveaway will provide a "more engaged and integrated learning experience."

Seton Hall
Seton Hall University [Image Source: US News]

But Seton Hall also plans to leverage the devices to help their incoming freshmen escape the "awkward turtle" phase and connect with their new classmates.  The university has a cross-platform smartphone app that provides news feeds, maps, and directories, but it's introducing a Windows Phone exclusive piece of content called the "Freshmen Experience".

Something like a mini-social network, the feature "adds customized social media integration and direct communication channels with [students'] freshmen peers, peer academic advisors, housing information and roommates."

Lumia 900 in Hand (3/6)
The Lumia 900 (Click image to enlarge) [©: Jason Mick/DailyTech LLC]

Sorry iPhone users, says Seton Hall, no Freshmen Experience for you.

The Lumia 900 retails for $100, which is a whole lot cheaper than Seton Hall tuition which is well over $30,000 USD per year for undergraduates [source].

Source: Nokia

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RE: Great move
By leviathan05 on 6/12/2012 1:14:54 PM , Rating: 1
I don't know why they went with a phone at all to be honest. A tablet would be a much more useful tool for the students to have. Also, if the app is cross-platform, why do they insist on giving the kids Windows devices?

Not really sure how this is going to turn out, but hey, what's (100*1400) $140,000 anyways?

RE: Great move
By geddarkstorm on 6/12/2012 1:51:09 PM , Rating: 3
Will, $100 if with a contract (and who pays the contract?). Those phones are $449.99 otherwise from what I see.

So agree, a tablet would be way better and make so much more sense. More versatile, more complimentary to the phones all those students likely already have (gotta be pretty well to do to be going to a school with that high tuition).

RE: Great move
By nafhan on 6/12/2012 2:01:07 PM , Rating: 2
The better question is: why are they even tying this into a hardware platform at all?

RE: Great move
By inighthawki on 6/12/2012 2:10:04 PM , Rating: 2
A tablet would be a much more useful tool for the students to have.

Most students probably wouldn't carry their tablets around everywhere, while they will almost all likely always have a phone with them.

Also, if the app is cross-platform, why do they insist on giving the kids Windows devices?

It's very probable that it's the cheapest. The hardware in windows phones are relatively weak compared to that in Android/iPhone, yet runs very smoothly, but at a cheaper price.

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