updated 04:10 pm EDT, Sat June 4, 2011
Kno posts iPad textbook app
Kno's full exit from tablets was made complete late Friday after it released its official iPad app (free, App Store). The app gives access to the full, complex textbook layouts of its earlier hardware with highlights, note taking and sharing, and a book manager that sorts by the course. A store inside gives access to 70,000 textbooks that are discounted by as much as 30 to 50 percent off their paper equivalents.
The iPad edition can read generic PDF documents and will work in landscape as Kno's usual portrait mode. In a rare touch for e-book interfaces, students can preview chapters without leaving the library view and leap into a particular page. Books that don't scale smoothly to the larger size support multi-touch zooming.
The app works with any iPad using iOS 4.2 or later.
A title native to Apple's tablet follows an attempt by Kno to get out in front of Apple and other contenders in education. It initially planned to launch two 14-inch tablets whose key advantage was showing textbooks at their full resolution and profile without having to zoom in and while writing notes that don't obscure the page. While the company remained committed to hardware after the iPad was unveiled, many now believe the company had doubts about its ability to compete not just against the iPad but also Android tablets.
The Kno line started at a minimum $599, was heavy due to the large screen, and wasn't expected to have an app platform for its custom interface. Both Apple- and Google-based tablets start at lower costs and aren't locked into using Kno's store alone, letting users shop for books in the iBookstore, the Kindle Store, and other portals. Intel has since taken over the hardware element to use it as a foundation for its own fledgling plans to promote x86 tablets.