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Jumbo Dual-Screen "Kno" Tablet Debuts At D8 106

Posted by timothy
from the maybe-don't-supersize-me-quite-so-hard dept.
itwbennett writes "The Microsoft Courier may be a dead project, but that doesn't mean you can't still have a dual-touchscreen e-reader. And a super-sized one at that, says blogger Peter Smith. The Kno, which debuted at All Things Digital's D8 conference yesterday has 'two 14.1-inch (1440 x 900) capacitive touch screens. Each screen has its own battery, giving the Kno 8-hours of battery life, but a hefty weight of 5.5 lbs. ... If Kno (the company) has its way, students will be carrying around a Kno (the device) rather than a stack of textbooks. That's the reason for the huge screens; most textbook pages can be shown 'full size' on a 14-inch screen.' Engadget, who got some hands-on time with the device, says 'the entire experience is essentially a WebKit instance.' Price is still up in the air but Ina Fried at CNET says the company is aiming for a price well under $1,000."
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Jumbo Dual-Screen "Kno" Tablet Debuts At D8

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  • by Darkness404 (1287218) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:13PM (#32454146)
    So why not just get a laptop? For $400 you can get a 14 inch screen, full keyboard, a real OS, can do tons of other things, etc.

    If its not e-ink to reduce strain on eyes, not running a real OS (as in full Windows, Linux or OS X), no full keyboard, etc. Why buy it? Under $1,000 means nothing, if its $200, yeah, I can think about getting one. For $250, I can buy a dedicated e-ink e-reader, for $350, I can buy a low end laptop or decent network, for $500 I can buy a great laptop or an iPad and anything more than $500 would just be pointless.

    Really, why would I want a giant, heavy, LCD tablet not running a real OS?
  • by Kashell (896893) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:42PM (#32454304)
    The Kno will be a serious failure.

    Publishers damn well could spend a tiny bit of time publishing .epubs that ran well on Kindles and iPads alike. Of course, when you publish electronically, you can't justify $149 for a copy of Organic Chemistry 14th edition, and you can't publish new editions every year to force the used market out of business. Who cares about the consumer when the market is inelastic and professors are forcing you to buy books that equate to the yearly incomes of people in third world countries?

    If publishers won't bother doing such a simple thing for popular devices, do you honestly think they are going to support this monstrosity?
  • by proxima (165692) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:44PM (#32454312)

    A second screen seems less useful than a keyboard, so I'd rather just have the latest tablet offering from Lenovo/HP/etc which converts to a tablet mode with a pen. 5.5 lb is way too heavy to be used like a book (people complain about the ipad's 1.5 lb feeling heavy), though I suppose it's comparable to very large textbook. Still, a now-standard tablet with an extra-large battery and some decent software can do most of what this hopes to do and act as a primary laptop, all for around the same price ($800-$1000).

  • Entourage Edge (Score:4, Insightful)

    by Daetrin (576516) on Thursday June 03, 2010 @11:50PM (#32454328)
    I agree completely. I'm much more interested in the Entourage Edge [], or at least the general idea of something like that. One regular LCD screen and one e-ink screen.

    Of course i'll be waiting to see if there's a second generation version that fixes all the problems present in the first model. [] In particular, it needs to have Android 2.2, complete with access to the regular app store. Both screens need to have multitouch. You need to be able to put it in laptop configuration and use the bottom screen as a virtual keyboard. And it would be nice if when you have it folded all the way backwards you could use the screen on the back to control a pointer on the front screen. (I think the Motorola Backflip does something like that?) Oh yeah, and it needs expandable memory. Now if they could get all that together in one package for a reasonable price i'd be seriously interested.
  • Re:Entourage Edge (Score:3, Insightful)

    by WinterSolstice (223271) on Friday June 04, 2010 @12:03AM (#32454384)

    I find the completely different format on the screens a bit distracting, but it's still better than this Kno thing.

    I will just keep carrying a little torch for the Courier that could have been, and stick to my moleskine.

  • by i.of.the.storm (907783) on Friday June 04, 2010 @12:17AM (#32454468) Homepage
    Also, it's a capacitive screen and they didn't mention an active digitizer so I don't know how well scribbling would work anyway.
  • by Concerned Onlooker (473481) on Friday June 04, 2010 @12:29AM (#32454526) Homepage Journal

    True, but that really just points up that you should never, ever show something before it is ready. People--even bosses--will only see the glaring things that are wrong. They won't skip past that stuff to see the potential. I think that is one reason Apple is so successful. When they roll out a product it is really ready to go. Don't get excited, I didn't say they were perfect.

  • Why e-readers? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by CMontgomery (1238316) on Friday June 04, 2010 @12:52AM (#32454608)

    If Kno (the company) has its way, students will be carrying around a Kno (the device) rather than a stack of textbooks

    Speaking as a student I want to know why all these companies keep thinking we want e-readers and e-books instead of textbooks. I don't want my textbook to go dead 9 hours into studying, or not be able to have 3-4 books open to 3-4 different sections each. I would however, like one for pleasure reading, but not a $500/5.5 lb machine. What exactly is this for?

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 04, 2010 @12:55AM (#32454614)

    I grabbed an average size texbook (out of my engineering texts) and the largest from my shelf:
    largest: 1.5kg, 12 inch diagonal
    average: 1.2kg, 11 inch diagonal.

    So for less mass than this device (~2.5kg) I can carry two decent sized dead tree books. If not all publishers sign on for the Kno, then I would need to carry the heavy Kno and paper books.

    Among my course, this device wouldn't be particularly successful. Most of my subjects are lecture oriented, as such I've only needed to take more than one textbook a couple of times in the last semester. Where possible I have copies of texts on my Kindle. It's not ideal, it's not convenient to annotate. But if I just want to read or find a reference quickly, the kindle does a great job. No need to carry a large reference with me. The find-in-text is great for some situations when I know exactly what figure or section I want to see.

    If they made this 'Kno' smaller and thus lighter and cheaper (ie, MS Courier) I think it'd be great. Two iPads stuck together should be under 1.5kg (given 1x3G is 0.73kg) and that screen is sufficiently large.

    The ergonomics of using that large, heavy, thick thing on a desk are dubious too:
      - I place my paper on an angle when I write, which would push the opposite page of this Kno away from me.
      - Reading of a textbook for long duration on that screen would be uncomfortable.
      - As it's so heavy, you're desk bound, unlike the paper alternatives

    I doubt this monstrosity will make make it to market, or be a success if it does. The weight needs to come down, a lot.

  • by imroy (755) <> on Friday June 04, 2010 @12:55AM (#32454616) Homepage Journal

    not running a real OS (as in full Windows, Linux or OS X)

    From the first link:

    It runs a browser based OS running on embedded Linux that sounds almost like Chrome OS in some ways.

    Personally, I'm liking the look of the Always Innovating Touch Book []. It's much more open, in both the hardware and software. On the downside, that means it's not as polished and ready for mainstream use as the other netbooks/smartbooks.

  • by OrangeTide (124937) on Friday June 04, 2010 @01:00AM (#32454640) Homepage Journal

    does it come with multitouch and pen interface and two screens on that $400 laptop? No?
    Dell Latitude XT2 with the same sort of touch and pen technology = $2,686.00

  • by somersault (912633) on Friday June 04, 2010 @04:13AM (#32455604) Homepage Journal

    I find it very hard to pay attention when I'm trying to take handwritten notes, because my handwriting is so incredibly feckin slow. After my first year of Uni I realised I didn't even refer to my notes once in my revision either, so I stopped taking any. Lectures actually being interesting and well presented "forces" me to pay attention a lot more than having to take notes.

  • by somersault (912633) on Friday June 04, 2010 @04:17AM (#32455626) Homepage Journal

    Yeah it seems they really missed a trick.. if you're going to have two touchscreens, why not have one capacitive and one resistive? If they'd done that then I'd definitely have bought one of these as it has the best of both worlds :)

    Also just having it as basically a giant textbook reader seems to be limiting the scope a bit. I'm guessing it was maybe running Android though so it will hopefully be capable of far more.

  • Re:Amazing (Score:4, Insightful)

    by mdwh2 (535323) on Friday June 04, 2010 @08:47AM (#32457046) Journal

    True, though let's face it - if this was from Apple, there'd be people here praising how revolutionary and innovative the idea was.

"Summit meetings tend to be like panda matings. The expectations are always high, and the results usually disappointing." -- Robert Orben