Kno is going right after students with its new dual-screen tablet, but it’s very much a work in progress. The device sports two large 14-inch LCDs, which the founders say was designed to mimic the look and feel of textbooks. It weighs 5.5 pounds, which is 4 pounds heavier than the iPad. That’s a big difference. The Kno runs Linux and is powered by Nvidia Tegra. The company believes that stylus input is very important for learning, but that support was not ready for the demo here at D8. Kno promises 6 to 8 hours of battery life.
The desktop is meant to be a view of your academic life. The left side has a semester view, and the overall interface is pretty sleek. Kno says it will support Office Docs. The Kno will have a virtual keyboard and laptop mode (but it’s not ready yet). You’ll be able to make highlights and add sticky notes. The company announced a parntership for its learning platform, which covers the four top textbook publishers. Kno expects to offer close to 90 percent of what students need.
There’s no word on pricing, but Kno says it will be under $1,000. Read on for more impressions and check out the gallery of this unique tablet.
Part of the problem with the Kno in its current state is that it seemed rather slow when flipping pages in textbooks. We’re also not sure how well the hinge will hold up over time, which has straps like a seatbelt. However, this implementation allows for plenty of flexibility. The founders talked about a Battleship mode where students could quiz each other heading up to a test. We also like that when you’re reading text books that you can see how many pages you have left to go to get your assignment done.
My gut reaction is that the Kno may just be too large to succeed, and that it’s dual IPS screens may be too difficult to read outdoors. However, this tablet looks more polished (on the outside) than the Entourage Edge. Then again, at least the Edge runs Android, which opens up the door for more apps. It remains to be seen how many students will gravitate towards a device that only does Web apps, but we’re glad to hear the Kno will support Flash. Stay tuned for hands-on impressions.