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.