updated 09:10 am EST, Mon February 21, 2011
Kno may already be exiting hardware due to iPad
Kno may already be backing away from its tablet hardware to focus on apps for competing platforms, according to tips on Monday. The young startup is reportedly talking to two "major consumer electronics manufacturers" about selling off the hardware side and focusing on apps for the iPad as well as Android 3.0. AllThingsD's insiders didn't know the company names, but one was secretive enough to have required a non-disclosure to avoid sharing details.
The selloff could lead to an abrupt end to Kno as a direct competitor in tablets. It has yet to begin shipping and is so far thought to have readied at most a few hundred units so far.
As designed, the Kno lineup was intended to try and beat Apple in the educational market by providing a tablet explicitly tailored to the needs of education. It At 14 inches for the one or two screens on a given model, it could display many engineering and scientific textbooks at their full size without having to rescale or reflow the material. Much of the custom Linux interface is tailored specifically to note taking, and on the dual-screen model could uniquely keep a page such as a review quiz open while reading notes on the other.
The device has been criticized for its high prices, starting at $599 for a single-screen model and $899 for the dual screens. At 2.6 pounds for one screen and 5.6 pounds for two, it also hasn't been easily handheld and has been pitched as best for a desk. We tried the Kno at CES (link above) and found the interface good, but the physical design almost too large.
Apple has only indirectly tried to push the iPad as an educational device and has mostly counted on self-created programs from schools rather than actively shaping the iPad's apps to school needs. Android has had less support of its own outside of budget, specialized tablets like the Brainchild.