Kno Super Tablet at $599, $899

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Kno, the start up maker of tablets aimed at students, has been winning media attention because its sleek tablets use 14.1 inch screens—the largest in the industry– with plenty of room to view eTextbooks and periodicals. Last night, Kno announced those tablets will officially start shipping at $899 for a dual screen model and $599 for the single screen version, starting in December.

The initial shipment will be limited to quantities “in the thousands” and will be aimed at 10 college campuses across the country, although Kno did not name them, said AllThingsD.

Students often spend $1,100 a year on textbooks and supplies, but the digital textbooks can cost 30 to 50 percent less, so the Kno tablets will pay for themselves, said Kno.

In the past, eReader trials at universities have shown only moderate success. Students were often frustrated by the inability to take notes. But Kno said its device has been well received in beta trials.

Kno has been winning support from publishers and backing from venture capitalists ($46 million in its latest round). It announced the single screen version of its device in September.

Kno first presented its dual screen tablet at the All Things Digital conference in June. It claimed it solved the industry problem of requiring users to scroll around a page when viewing eTextbooks. Instead the Kno’s screens fit 95 percent of eTextbooks. The dual screen version uses two LCD touch screens that permit note scribbling on the screen. Users also get full web browsing and about 8 hours of battery life for the Linux device.

The dual screen unit seems to be the preferred unit of the two. In its beta trials, Kno gave half the students the single screen tablet and half the dual screen version. CEO Osman Rashid said, “We found that 85 percent of those using the single screen wanted the dual-screen version and that those using two screens took three times more notes…Students said they love the fact that they can write in the textbook itself and it appears the way it needs to be, even in digital form.”

A Kno eBookstore goes live today with tens of thousands of “the most popular textbooks and supplement materials,” said the company. Publishers include Cengage, McGraw Hill, Pearson, Macmillan, Bedford, Freeman & Worth and Holtzbrinck as well as BarCharts Publishing, Kaplan, Random House and a large number of the University Presses.

The devices are being built by China’s Foxconn. It’s worth checking out the video at the Kno Web site here.

Source: Kno, AllThingsD

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