No, wait. I was wrong. They’ve never actually shipped tablets so I don’t think they’re really in the tablet business. But the rumor is going around, and it might or might not be a good thing.
Instead, the company will focus on its robust software and services to offer students on the Apple iPad, as well as upcoming tablets based on Google’s Android mobile operating system and others.
It would be great if they could sell off the tablet business for enough to cover the development cost. But if they can’t then they’ll be stuck with that debt permanently (with no chance of using tablet sales to pay it off).
But even if they can I’m not sure they should. When Kno abandon the academic tablet market, they’re leaving a niche with one competitor (Entourage) and moving into a niche with dozens. They won’t just be competing with CourseSmart, Vitalsource, and Inkling; they’ll be competing with at least a couple major ebookstores. Kindle and Nook are both viable options for textbooks now, and they have the home field advantage, as well as larger bookstores, better platform support, and
The other downside of abandoning the hardware business is that Kno will effectively be throwing away all they’ve done to customize the software. They’re going to have to redesign their software so it fits on a 10″ screen (the Kno tablet had a 14″ screen). Basically they’ll have to go back to step one of software development and begin again.
One final note: I don’t know the sales figures for the Kno tablet, but I’m guessing they’re poor. If sales were decent Kno would never have considered this option. Gee, I wonder if pricing the dual screen tablet at $900 was a little much?
Snide comments aside, my recommendation had always been to take the $900 and buy a laptop and an Entourage Edge for the same cost. You’d get a much better return on your dollar.