updated 11:10 pm EDT, Thu April 7, 2011
Intel takes control of Kno hardware side
A late-breaking leak has backed suspicions that Kno was exiting hardware. Intel Capital and Advance Publications is reportedly investing $30 million in a funding round that would see it take control of Kno tablets while leaving the core Kno team to focus on software. The quick uptake of tablets from not just Apple but other major hardware firms has reduced the need to have an education-focused tablet, AllThingsD understood from its sources.
Earlier talk of the software focus appeared to be consistent and would have it support the platforms it was trying to beat. Kno would end up developing apps and services to focus on its one-time educational rival, the iPad. It would also end up supporting a coming wave of Android tablets in the future. The company has had at least $56 million in funding, but it has supposedly decided that it would be smarter to use this for the e-textbook system itself than to pour much of it into hardware.
Although not stated, the involvement of Intel, even if just the capital-raising group, could mark an end to Kno's use of NVIDIA's Tegra 2. Intel rarely supports the use of ARM processors, even for its own MeeGo OS, and would likely rather sacrifice the performance and battery life than oppose its own platform.
Kno started up with the aim of recreating the textbook environment properly with either one or two 14-inch screens that could render a complex book without having to crop or otherwise lose detail. The size and a mixture of finger and pen touch support, however, contributed to a minimum asking price of $599 for the single-screen model. But even with a pitch that students would recoup the cost through textbook savings in as little as a year, some schools have been opting for iPads instead due to the lower price, portability, and the increasing number of education-friendly apps.