Kno has announced plans to release two new touch-screen tablet textbooks before the end of 2010. One has dual screens and the other is a single screen version. Both versions of the Kno tablet are geared toward the educational sector, providing access to digital textbooks and course materials. The Kno interactive learning platform allows note taking, web access, and sharing. It also features educational applications and digital media.
Kno has become partners with four major textbook publishers. Plans are to have 90 percent of all textbooks ready when the Kno launches later this year. Kno’s developers will create new and unique applications that will enhance students’ ability to learn and succeed. They will include collaborative whiteboards, interactive flash cards, and writing citation checkers.
The dual screen Kno Tablet has 14-inch screens, which are a little larger than a regular sheet of paper. Each screen contains its own battery. The dual screens open like a book, allowing users to view texts on a two-page spread, like a real textbook. Users can see two complete pages without needing to scroll. According to Kno’s research, that is what students need. It also makes it easier for publishers to send their content to the Kno, without having to make changes for a smaller screen.
The dual screen Kno is heavy and would likely be used lying open on a desk or table. It weighs 5.5 pounds, a bit more than the iPad’s 1.5 pounds. The Kno can be used with its onscreen keyboard or with a Bluetooth keyboard. It comes with a stylus so students can take notes directly on the screen. Battery life is expected to be six to eight hours. The price for the dual screen Kno is rumored to be close to $1,000. Kno CEO Osman Rashid believes the Kno will pay for itself in 13 months as students save money using eTexbooks instead of buy printed ones.
For those who think the dual screen Kno is too big, too heavy, and too expensive, the single screen Kno may be more to their liking. The single screen Kno will have a 14.1 inch screen, larger than the iPad’s 9.7 inch screen. All of the dual screen capabilities are included in the single screen model.
Because their tablet computers are geared specifically for the education market, Kno feels they can be a successful competitor in the tablet computer market. The iPad, according them, is geared more towards entertainment than education. The Kno will enable students to put all their textbooks and course materials on the device, share notes with other students, and use Skype for discussions. With the Kno, users can do exactly what they would normally do when reading printed text. They can see the whole page, edit, make notes, and highlight. This is something that the existing tablet computers and e-readers cannot effectively do.