The Babbel Blog

language learning in the digital age

Spoiled for choice? Babbel for Android, iOS – and Kindle

Posted on September 10, 2012 by

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Aishah El Muntasser does not only write blog posts for Babbel. For over a year she has been answering our customers’ questions quite tirelessly. In order to be able to really help she insists on trying all the new stuff herself. Which sometimes means jumping in at the deep end. Read her latest report here:

I’m in my mid-thirties and hopelessly old-fashioned. I recently had an iPad in my hand for the first time in my life—and the Babbel iBook “Learn Spanish: Beginner’s Course 1” was to blame for that. I was impressed. I hadn’t completely taken in this new experience when yet another device was plopped down in front of me: a Kindle, with the new eBook “Learn German: Beginner’s Course 1”. I was again impressed but confused: which one was better? So-called multiple device users would never ask themselves that question. For them it’s the most normal thing in the world to own multiple mobile devices.

Fortunately there are several people on the Babbel team whose life is instinctively tech-inclined. Anne, for example, has an iPad and a Kindle and takes both (!) along with her on vacation. So I asked her, “what exactly is the difference?”

I personally don’t see any big difference, except that the Kindle (Touch) is smaller, not so colorful and “interactive”, which means that there isn’t happening that much. Both have highlighting and note-taking features, and both books introduce essential vocabulary words in conversational situations. Both also have explanations and examples of grammar, as well as review sessions with answer keys.

Anne clues me in that the Kindle doesn’t light up as much, so eats much less energy and rarely needs to be charged. Also the display doesn’t reflect in the sun. Both of these aspects make Kindle the winner for a trip to sunny places. She takes the Kindle Touch from my hand and in the first moment awkwardly swipes around the screen, murmuring that hers is the kind with a keyboard. And then she makes the thing seem so appealing to me that I want to have one too. But just the simple Kindle, I’ll stay old-fashioned.

It’s not a matter of either-or, but rather play-it-by-ear: what does the situation call for, format and handling-wise? Learning vocabulary with an Android telephone on the bus, doing interactive grammar exercises on the couch with an iPad, or flipping through a Kindle book on the beach? After iPhone/iPod, iPad and Android, Kindle is now the fourth possibility to learn with Babbel on-the-go. The Babbel eBook for Kindle is the closest among them to a classic text book.

And for those of you who don’t want to have anything to do with any of it, you can just do the online courses. You can… but don’t have to choose.

Read this post in German (Deutsch), Spanish (Español), French (Français), Italian (Italiano)

 

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Comments

Hi – - Interesting little debate over the technology to help us learn German! As a dedicated German learner, I almost can’t imagine what it would be like to try and tackle learning a language without the internet and all the services, like Babbel!

I’m tech inclined like the Babbel staff and I am also an Apple devotee. I have an iPad (alas, just an original iPad) but I don’t have a Kindle. I have recently started reading books almost exclusively on my iPad for many of the reasons you indicated. Being able to highlight and copy words while I’m reading a German book, so that I can look them up or save them on another application makes it so much easier.

However, I’ve solved the debate about getting a Kindle, by simply downloading the free Kindle reader to my iPad and associating my Amazon account with it. So I can buy either Apple supplied books or Kindle books. That doesn’t address the battery life and reflection issues with the iPad versus the Kindle, but the iPad provides more flexibility for using the highlighted words (i.e. add to a flashcard or look up in a dictionary) and, of course, I’ve avoided the cost of a Kindle device!

So, I’ve bought the Babbel Beginners Book and downloaded it. I chose the Kindle version for one simple reason. It was $4 cheaper for me on the U.S. Amazon site than using the Australian Apple site. Hmmmm….

I haven’t really dug into the book yet, but can’t wait to give it a try out!

Thanks to the Babbel team!

Cheers… Erik

Thank you for the good information.

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