Blog Archive: 2010

Kno news is good news

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Kno has announced the specs, price, and availability dates for its slate computers designed for the academic market. According to the Kno web site, the one- and two-screen devices will be available in the US on December 20th. The one screen device with 16GB ram will cost $599 for students, and the two screen device will cost $899. 32GB versions will be $699 and $999, respectively. These devices feature both a touch screen and a stylus, and come with some pre-loaded applications, including a textbook reader that handles annotations, a notebook, and a web browser. There are provisions for third-party developers to deploy other apps, which will be written in Javascript: “We’re powered by the WebKit browser engine, so if you can build a website, you can build a Kno app.”

It’s interesting to consider how this device, designed for a specific vertical, stacks up against its obvious competitor, the iPad.

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eBook evolution

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The diversity of tablet-based textbook and ebook devices seems to be increasing of late. The success of the iPad seems to have emboldened hardware manufacturers (e.g., Sharp, Dell, NEC, etc.) to announce a number of similar devices for the Android platform. In addition, there has been some competition in the software textbook space (e.g., CourseSmart, Inkling, etc.).

Another interesting development is the approach taken by  Kno: The Kno device is a prototype textbook device that seems to be designed around explicit feedback from students about how they use textbooks. It hasn’t been released yet (I couldn’t even figure out much about the hardware and OS that it will be running), but some things are clear: Kno is an integrated hardware/software platform aimed at high school and college students’ use of textbooks. It has been announced in a two-screen and a one-screen version.

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