For those of you who haven’t heard of the Kno before, I don’t blame you. It’s one of those tablets that go in the “other tablets” category here on NBT, which says a lot. It’s basically a tablet designed for students, all the way from the hardware to the software and up. Among the features are either a single or dual 14″ 900×1440 screens that support special (accurate) styli (without being a resistive screen), native smartNote-like functionality and a store full of digital textbooks. However, at 2.5kg (5.6 pounds!!!), a sluggish Ubuntu 9.04 based OS and a battery life of only 6 hours despite the battery being twice that of the iPad it isn’t exactly the most portable or usable device out there. I predicted it would meet a very sudden death when I first read about it, and it turns out I might have been right.
According to All Things Digital, Kno is now in talks with a couple of big unnamed hardware manufacturers to sell off the hardware aspect of their business in order to focus on software. The reason is said to be that other tablets made it to market far quicker than they expected. I can pretty much guarantee that it isn’t just the fact they made it to market that’s the problem, but also the fact that other tablets don’t weigh 2.5kg, die after 6 hours and cost $900 (and are unavailable to buy). No matter how misinformed the average student is, the iPad is on everyone’s list now and once you try out one of those you’re never paying $900 for something that runs on Ubuntu.
It seems as though Kno agrees, as they’re now supposed to focus on iPad and Android software instead. While I thought the Know was complete rubbish hardware wise, I think it is absolutely phenomenal that they’re shifting focus to software since that’s what it’s all about. smartNote is great, but it’s made by a small company of who knows how many. Know has some serious funding behind them at this point, so if they can bring that to the iPad and Android in form of a serious software package to handle school work that will be a game changer for everyone involved.
Nothing is set in stone for this yet though, so we’ll just have to hope for the best. I don’t know who would buy the hardware they have at this point (and I feel sorry for the few hundred people who will have a Kno with no future) but I hope everything works out.