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Kno tablet touted as next-gen textbook

The Kno tablet is seen as a successor to print-and-pulp books.

By Matthew Shaer / September 28, 2010

The Kno tablet computer.

Kno

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Kno, a start-up electronics firm based in Santa Clara, Calif., will soon introduce a single-screen tablet computer intended for use by students across the country. The Kno – yes, it's both the name of the device and its maker – is expected to ship with a 14.1-inch screen and video functionality. (For comparison, the iPad sports a 9.7-inch screen.) The tablet computer will be controlled via a touchscreen and a plastic stylus.

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Over the last few weeks, Kno has announced partnerships with four major textbook publishers, including Pearson and Wiley. Which is good for all parties. But how much will the Kno set students back? Well, that's up in the air. Kno execs have said the single-screen Kno – a double-screen device is also on the way – is likely to be priced well under $1,000, but the exact price-tag has not yet been announced.

The device will likely ship this fall.

“We’re excited to partner with Kno on its Student Beta Program to validate the effectiveness of digital content within the Kno device and platform," Bonnie Lieberman, an exec at the publisher John Wiley & Sons said in a press statement. “We share Kno’s goal of improving the learning process and student experience.”

But the path to digitized learning is likely to be far from smooth.

Late last year, for example, Cushing Academy, a prep school in Ashburnham, Mass., began to pare down its print library in order to pave the way for a massive “learning center,” complete with laptop study stations and a fleet of new e-readers with access to millions of digitized books. As the Monitor reported, onlookers – and parents, but mostly onlookers – were furious.

“There is no humanity reading a book on a computer,” an anonymous commenter on the popular site ParentDish.com wrote in response to the announcement of the Cushing learning center. “You have lost the interaction with the page. How sorry I am for all of you who will never know the pleasure of turning the pages of a book.”

Over to you. Do devices such as the Kno have a future in US classrooms? Drop us a line in the comments section – and keep it civil, folks.

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