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Kno outs dual tablet, hopes to oust iPad in education

updated 03:05 pm EDT, Wed June 2, 2010

Kno tablet boasts book design, dual multi-touch

Kno today used the D8 conference to formally unveil its self-titled tablet. The tablet carries dual 14-inch screens and is conceived as a replacement for school textbooks and uses a custom, multi-touch version of Linux optimized for books. Kno textbooks themselves support on-screen notes, highlights and "stickies," and a stylus comes with designed with handwriting in mind.

Outside of its core college functionality, it supports web browsing in Chrome with Flash, HD video and multitasking, and companion apps for a calculator, YouTube and other secondary tasks. It supports most common document formats and uses either 3G or Wi-Fi to get online; the new dual-core NVIDIA Tegra provides both the main processor and hardware graphics acceleration.

The tablet is said to have enough battery power to last through an entire day of courses, although it's consequently heavier than most notebooks: the full system weighs about 5.5 pounds. Kno claims that the design is worthwhile as carrying even a few textbooks is often much heavier.

As the creation of a startup, the Kno is due first as a beta test device later in the year with students at some colleges and universities getting the device and textbooks from Cengage, McGraw Hill, Pearson and Wiley. Prices should arrive sometime during the summer but have an indefinite sub-$1,000 target.

The tablet is one of the very earliest examples of a non-computer tablet chasing after the iPad in the education arena. Apple is still very new to the category but has already received some early support, albeit without any concrete plans for periodicals and other materials that some students would need. Kno is counting on its early edge to get a presence in schools where Apple and e-reader producers like Amazon have yet to participate.

by MacNN Staff



  1. qazwart

    Joined: Dec 1969



    I can see many, many issues with this:

    * Way too heavy. Five pounds is a lot to lug around
    * Fragile. What's going to happen with that hinge?
    * Over priced. Sub-$1000? An iPad is sub-$500.

    If you're a no-name startup, and you want to compete against the iPad, you have to have something that's better and cheaper. That thing is the size of a laptop and weighs more.

    Just a hint: Kids don't know how to write. They prefer to type and can do it faster than writing. No person under 25 is going to use the tip of their finger to write a note in cursive.

  1. Bobfozz

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Here's a disaster waiting to happen...

    They must've taken into account how poorly many students treat books. Computers (pads) with hinges, glass, breakage, dropping on the floor (or elsewhere) and we are talking lots of problems as when some moron says, "Why didn't they make these better?"

    Yes, texbooks can be heavy, but 5.5 pounds for this device is just asking for it.

    But my alternate question is: how come until Apple's iPad came along we never heard about these things from anyone? And everyone I see announced won't be available until way down the line? There is going to be some serious "culling" while this is going on.

  1. godrifle

    Joined: Dec 1969


    But... can still cover it with a paper bag.

  1. dliup

    Joined: Dec 1969


    JooJoo of the month

    It's the JooJoo of the month. Translation? -> FAIL.

    Later in the year = vaporware.

  1. psdenno

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I think.....

    .... they should KNO better. Too heavy, too clunky (do I really want a 14" tall book on my lap?), too lacking in user friendly features. I think it's one of those concepts that looks good on paper, but doesn't translate well to reality.

  1. DanielSw

    Joined: Dec 1969



    When it's open, it'd have to be used on a table or flat surface. On a lap it'd flop around and tend to slide down between the thighs, or the half being touched or written upon would slip off the leg and pull the other half with it. If you were holding it in your hands, you'd need two to hold it if it was open, so how could you tap or write on one half without letting go of the other, letting it flop down. Or if the hinge was stiff enough to not flop down, it'd still be too heavy to hold along the edge with one hand while trying to do something with the other.

    Hopefully they'll at least test it out with focus groups before releasing it on the market. How embarrassing to have a product flop right out of the gate and just sit there in stores unsold!

  1. iphonerulez

    Joined: Dec 1969


    I'm sure any no-name company is going

    to have a hard time selling a tablet. This one seems to be a niche tablet, so they might be able to get away with selling it to select users. This is definitely no mass consumer tablet. I'm sure a test with marketing will bring out its obvious flaws. Concepts are great but getting them out the door and into user's hands is much harder. This is why I don't understand how pundits don't respect Apple's iPad when it made it to market so much sooner than competitor's devices and is selling so well. Building a device better and cheaper is not going to be easy because Apple can easily drop the price of the iPad and still offer better customer support than any other company. I'm not knocking rivals because the iPad is perfect. I'm only saying that the iPad is more than good enough and Apple is big enough to stop any rival tablet from getting significant traction.

    This Kno tablet should easily be replaced by a netvertible computer at a much lower cost. I'll say that it will be vaporware based on the fact that they'll never get enough startup money to go any further than concept or prototype. Meanwhile the iPad is already here and Apple is making tons of money from it.

  1. akulavolk

    Joined: Dec 1969


    It's self titled

    Really? The marketing folks chose "Kno Kno" as the name for this thing? Pronounced "No No" I guess.

    That's their first hurdle. Yeah, I know that the iPad name has issues, but not like this thing does.

  1. dpicardi

    Joined: Dec 1969



    Just say "Kno!"

  1. Geoduck

    Joined: Dec 1969


    Contrarian View

    This is not perfect by any means but I've liked the 2 screen book style concepts I've seen. They fold closed and protect the screens. The iPad or Streak doesn't. They have twice the space to work with than a single screen device. Yes 5 lb is a lot but it beats lugging around 3 or 4 4-5 lb textbooks. This kind of a device, not necessarily this particular one, but this kind of device has some real possibilities.

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