updated 08:45 pm EST, Mon December 20, 2010
Kno tablets now shipping
Kno on Monday night said that its 14-inch tablets will ship on Tuesday. Both the single- and dual-screen versions will be available and will cost the promised $599 and $899, respectively. New sales are currently limited to an invite-only system due to high demand, Kno said, although it hasn't said how many it will be shipping on launch day.
The two are some of the first American tablets to ship with NVIDIA's dual-core Tegra 2 and are unique in shipping with a customized, heavily optimized Linux variant instead of Android. Either can multitask, play HD video and otherwise drive the larger displays with both multi-touch and pen input. Kno has focused the interface around rendering print-quality textbooks for education but also supports a full HTML5-capable browser with Flash and supports extras like audio recording and playback.
Apart from the second screen, differences mostly focus on storage and weight, with a base one-screen Kno carrying 16GB of flash in its 2.6-pound frame and the dual-screen model moving up to 32GB and 5.6 pounds. Either is meant for use on a desk.
A launch comes as a bid to corner the tablet market for schools before Apple and centers on a rare textbook deal that supplies digital versions of McGraw Hill, Pearson, and Wiley texts for as much as 50 percent under the cost of the paper edition. Kno has been counting on the costs of going digital outweighing the initial prices, which run at least $100 higher than Apple's 9.7-inch cheapest.
Apple has made tentative entries into education with the iPad but hasn't targeted as directly as its relatively new counterpart.