The Kno: A giant double-screen tablet to replace giant textbooks


June 11, 2010

The Kno will feature two connected 14.1 inch 1440 x 900 anti-glare capacitive touchscreen displays connected via a flexible hinge

The Kno will feature two connected 14.1 inch 1440 x 900 anti-glare capacitive touchscreen displays connected via a flexible hinge

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Huge, heavy reference tomes are still a major part of modern study and research. If you've ever wished that those textbooks in front of you could come to life and offer a more engaging experience than just reading through reams of text, then the Kno could be what you're looking for. Weighing in at 5.5 pounds, the dual-screen electronic textbook will offer students access to a wealth of published educational material as well as wireless access to the internet and multimedia content such as high definition video. Just like with its paper cousin, the Kno will also allow for note-taking, highlighting and bookmarking.

At the start of the development process, the creators of the Kno wondered why digital textbook technology was slow to enter the seat of learning. In talking to students, they discovered that although convenient, digital readers didn't offer the kind of tactile and visual interaction that physical books did. Simple things like the ability to see two large pages at once, annotate and highlight or leave sticky notes on important passages or even placing a finger at a particular part of the text whilst looking up something else, were all lacking to varying degrees in electronic text readers.

Originally to be called the Kakai, the Kno will feature two connected 14.1 inch 1440 x 900 anti-glare capacitive touchscreen displays connected via a flexible hinge, running on a Linux embedded browser-based platform and powered by NVIDIA's Tegra T20 architecture. There'll be 16GB of onboard storage and battery life is said to last a full day of active campus use (around six to eight hours).

This configuration is geared towards providing students with a textbook-like page display rendering "the complex layouts designed by authors" without the need for scrolling, but also lends itself to the creation of completely new educational tools. To this end, the company has arranged a beta program with four higher education publishers, including McGraw-Hill Education, to provide select content for upcoming trials in major U.S. universities and colleges.

The Kno will support multiple e-Reader formats of course as well as popular document types such as PDF and cater for highlighting, bookmarking and note-taking. WiFi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity add potential for cloud-based study, immediate reference checking and high definition multimedia interactivity too.

For example, users encountering an unknown word, phrase or concept would currently either seek out another reference text or boot up a portable computer to search the internet. With the Kno, all that's taken care of with the one device. As the company puts it, the device: "blends textbooks, course material, note-taking, web access, educational applications, digital media, sharing and more into a more powerful and engaging educational experience."

Further information on the Kno will be revealed when the device enters the student beta program later in the summer, which is also when pricing will be confirmed.

The following video overview offers a visual guide to most of the features expected to be on offer:

About the Author
Paul Ridden While Paul is loath to reveal his age, he will admit to cutting his IT teeth on a TRS-80 (although he won't say which version). An obsessive fascination with computer technology blossomed from hobby into career before the desire for sunnier climes saw him wave a fond farewell to his native Blighty in favor of Bordeaux, France. He's now a dedicated newshound pursuing the latest bleeding edge tech for Gizmag. All articles by Paul Ridden

I WANT ONE and I am NOT a student!!! Will one be able to download other texts besides reference books?

Vickie Cyr

\"the creators of the Kno wondered why digital textbook technology was slow to enter the seat of learning.\" Blame it all on Sony. They started out in this e-reader scene with a proprietary book format. That limited the hardware to only Sony products in order to read the ebook. Now with the Kindle, there is yet another proprietary format. Add to that secure PDF which few readers support and now you\'ve got a hodge-podge of formats that none of the ereaders availble will read them all!


Marvelous. Information through miniature gadget.

Dr.A.Jagadeesh Nellore(AP),India

Anumakonda Jagadeesh

This shows how much Star Trek was an influence on science and technical developement. How many times did you see Capt. Kirk , Spock, Or Engineer Scotty reading from a digital device on an item from literature to a technical manual?.

On a contemporary note. Imagine having access to a city library in your own home?

Facebook User

While portability, weight and power consumption is an noble cause, sometimes I just get soooooooo crabby and irritable about piddly devices with tiny flush buttons and idiot displays with tiny writing ........

Grumble, grumble, grumble.....

I also hate these idiot companies that bring out proprietary software and proprietary documentation formats, and exclusive licensing deals and and and and

Grumble, grumble, grumble.....

Oh excellent - some bloody NON \"corporate moron types\" brought out a reader that is BIG, it\'s EASY to ready everything, and it reads EVERYTHING....

Reading this article is like gaining mental relief after being badly constipated for several months, from the usual high tech bullshit and lousy customer service from the tech\'s in the service department who don\'t even know how their own products work, much less post the info on their website with their own products.....

Grumble, grumble, grumble.....

Grumble, grumble, grumble.....

I don\'t need one, but I\'d sure LIKE to have one.

Mr Stiffy

Count me as one who would like to have one, especially if it has a smartphone or ipad\'s ability to surf the web, run apps, send/receive emails- and, unlike the ipad, make phone calls- on any network. so make it dual or quad band capable.

William Lanteigne

I keep seeing/hearing comments about why e-readers, and tablets are going to fail, or why this one or that one did... I think gearing these devises for students is a bit short sighted, however students are still really the only people in america who read anything. these things shouldn\'t be aimed only toward students, but buisness men, physicians and people in other various fields that need access to manuals, diagrams, books, legal papers, or any simply texts in general.

as with any e-reader, I think the main problem isn\'t the device (weight, look, feel...) but rather the market... here in america very few people regularly read, let alone read for pleasure. and unless e-textbooks are significantly cheaper (less than a quarter the price of an analog equivalent... as they should be) ALL electronic textbooks will fail regardless of applications or anything else.

I wonder, does the device have USB ports? and if I already have e-books, textbooks, and manuals on my PC or laptop, how easy would it be to add them to this?

also will the linux kernel be open or closed?


This is interesting, though the cost factor of the \'epub\' or \'ebook\' could be a problem to overcome. Students typically have to buy textbooks, which are in the price range of $50-$300. How easy it would be to purchase one epub, and copy it, to share with friends who also have this \'kno\' or \'ereader\'. Not sure how sharing restrictions on the \'epub\' files will be input and if publishers will even go for this...?


I see this as the start of great things. DIY manuals in full size with integrated videos, magazines in an easily viewable format, larger photo albums without space. now if they can \"get with it\" and be real computers too so your current programs can be loaded to work with at the same time. WHY have separate readers and computers? integrate a mike and speaker so VoIp can be there. video conference on one screen while white boarding or writing on the other. I WANT ONE-- when they add these things.

David Larson

The Kno is way cool but it will unavoidable spawn a need for peripherals like a folding keyboard, a kick-stand and software to link two of them back to back for one-on-one tutoring or a teepee program so you can fold in backwards into a tent shape and duplicate the pages and actions for sharing. I like gadgets that immediately start me thinking about supporting devises and applications.


So we fast forward 6 plus months later and still nothing to show. The ipad 2 is out and Kno is on it but I am not impressed with how it runs because it lags badly. Considering the kind of games I can run on the ipad 2, this program should run fast and smooth and it does not.

Oh so much promise but all hot air.

Alexander Cardosa

Linux...gimmee a break!!

Richard Edmonds
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