First reports of the Kno in the wild

Kno is going to announce the price of their tablets tomorrow, so I thought I'd get this out while it's still fresh.Over the past couple months, Kno (it's both the company's and the device's name) have been beta testing their device on university campuses around San Francisco. These pictures were taken on the  campuses of Berkley and SJSU (according to Kno's Twitter account). I've been begging them to come to the east coast, but they plan to stay close to their offices.

Fortunately, I've made contact with one of the beta testers. He got to use the Kno for a couple weeks, and I picked his brain.

Kno also uploaded a bunch of videos to Youtube. Here's a good one:

The Kno doesn't quite live up to what I was hoping it could do. To be fair, it's still under development. My source had one of the early beta firmwares (which is now a couple months old). He received it with all of his textbooks on it, and this precluded a couple questions I had (like how the Kno worked with extra textbooks).

I was deeply curious about how the Kno compared to the Edge. The Edge has an E-ink screen and LCD screen, and the Kno's 2 LCD screens might turn out to be the better design. One shortcoming of the Edge is that you can do some activities on one screen but not the other. The Kno doesn't have this problem becuase the LCD screens are interchangeable.

The screen size might also turn out to be a good choice. Yes, 14" is frigging huge for a tablet, but you can put a lot of data on a screen that size. The firmware isn't up to displaying windows (I don't know if they plan to implement this feature), but you can show discrete pages of a book  (6 and 14, for example). It also doesn't support tabs, so you can't have multiple books open.

But he didn't really test the Kno in a multiple textbook situation, so I don't know if the developers know about the need to flip between several textbooks.

My source reported that he was using the Kno as a complete replacement for his textbook and (paper) notebook.  He might have been able to add laptop in there, but the browser and Wifi weren't enabled yet (I told you it was an early beta). This is interesting becuase the Edge needed a firmware update before I could say that, and it's still not quite there.

One of the questions that I'm going to have to leave unanswered is content creation. This ability wasn't implemented yet, and from what my source was told by Kno I'm not sure the developers have thought of it yet. This would be unfortunate; if you have to lug around a laptop just to create a document then it really cuts into the value of the Kno.

P.S. Look closely at this last photo. It shows both the single screen and dual screen Kno models. Shiny.

click to embiggen

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About Nate Hoffelder (11598 Articles)
Nate Hoffelder is the founder and editor of The Digital Reader:"I've been into reading ebooks since forever, but I only got my first ereader in July 2007. Everything quickly spiraled out of control from there. Before I started this blog in January 2010 I covered ebooks, ebook readers, and digital publishing for about 2 years as a part of MobileRead Forums. It's a great community, and being a member is a joy. But I thought I could make something out of how I covered the news for MobileRead, so I started this blog."

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