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.