The Kno digital textbook now available for pre-order


November 10, 2010

The developers of the Kno have announced pricing and shipping for the dual-screen (and now a single screen) digital textbook

The developers of the Kno have announced pricing and shipping for the dual-screen (and now a single screen) digital textbook

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Remember the Kno digital textbook for students? After much development and student input, the devices are now ready for shipping. In addition to the 14.1-inch dual-screen version, the developers have also created a single screen edition that offers similar functionality to its bigger cousin but in a now familiar tablet format. Students can now also browse through an online textbook store, which is to include tens of thousands of titles from top publishers.

Printed textbooks can be a heavy and cumbersome affair which can also make the wallet feel much, much lighter. The Kno digital textbook was developed to provide a relatively lightweight solution to carrying volumes of information around at a fraction of the cost. The development process has involved the targeted users - students - at every stage and after a round of beta testing, the device has now been priced and an availability window announced.

It was originally developed as a huge 14.1-inch dual touchscreen device where each display was hinged down one side so that they folded in on each other, just like a printed book. However, there are now two options on offer. The dual-screen option has been joined by a single display version, 14.1-inch tablet model. As previously announced, the Kno benefits from a LED backlit 1440 x 900 WXGA resolution multi-touch screens, a 1GHz Tegra T200 dual core processor and wireless connectivity courtesy of 802.11b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 2.0 with EDR.

Both versions will now be offered in 16GB and 32GB storage capacities and should be capable of up to six hours of "normal campus use" before the Li-polymer battery pack needs to be charged. Although not immediately available, full 1080p video playback will be available shortly after shipment via a software update.

Students can browse through the company's textbook store where popular titles and supplementary content will number in the tens of thousands. Reference material from publishers like McGraw Hill, Macmillan, Freeman & Worth, Random House and a large number of the University Presses will be on offer, which will "typically cost between 30 and 50 percent less than physical textbooks."

The company – which has calculated that "the Kno actually pays for itself in three terms" – is now accepting a limited number of pre-orders for an initial end-of-year shipment date. The single screen Kno is priced at US$599 for the 16GB flavor and US$699 for the 32GB option. The 16GB dual-screen version will cost US$899, with the 32GB model costing US$999.

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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

really like the idea of a full size page, but to be really useful and compete with the Ipad, it will need camera and video. Other wise (and I don\'t like mac products) why buy this instead of the ipad?

David Larson

The original Kno article described it as a full-featured computer, in addition to its textbook-specific functions. I hope that there are still \"civilian\" (non-student) applications to the thing (including and especially e-book reading), because I really, really want one!

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be nicer if it had one panel with an actual e-ink screen like the entourage eDge or a pixel-qi screen.. so its easier to read those in-depth textbooks without the negatives of back lighting.. .. Also for the \"target\" market of students how does the pricing compare with second hand textbooks and the ability for a student to resell a textbook?

Daniel Micklethwaite

I\'m interested to know what sort of connectivity the thing has. WiFi would be fine. 3G might be necessary for good campus use. Of course, the goals of using it as a text book reader would suggest that connectivity should be limited, so as not to distract the user with social network updates and such during class.

@David: They said video was on the way. As for why not buy an iPad? Well, for one, this thing has a much larger screen for a similar price. Oh, and there\'s an option to get a dual-screen version.

@Daniel: Yes, eInk would be nice. What about color, though? A few companies have developed color eInk-like products, but I\'m not under the impression they\'re ready for prime time, particularly at the 14\" size. For that matter, are there any 14\" eInk devices?

J.D. Ray

For the same price $599, why would one buy this device instead of the iPad; unless the e-textbooks dirt cheap - which is very unlikely the publishers would go for. Their Marketing team drank too much of their own koolaid.

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