Kno, the small start-up that announced a dual-panel touchscreen device this year, has a 14.1-inch single-panel device in the works. The single-panel touchscreen is aimed at students and will be available by the end of the year, the company said during TechCrunch Disrupt in San Francisco.
Neither device has made it out of the prototype stage, but a working demo was presented during the D8 conference in June.
Pricing and detailed specs for the single-panel device should be announced in the next four weeks, Kno executives said on Monday. Despite the lack of specs, the new single-panel device appears to be similar to Kno’s dual-screen device. It will accept both touch and stylus inputs, and students will be able to use it to take notes, surf the Web, view digital media and read and annotate textbooks.
The dual-screen Kno includes two 14.1-inch capacitive touch panels with 1440-by-900 resolution. It weighs 5.5 pounds, runs a Linux-based Web browser operating system similar to Chrome OS, has 16GB internal storage and a Tegra 2 system-on-chip under the hood. Pricing is supposedly going to be under $1,000. The single-panel device will cost less, the company said.
Kno isn’t the only device aiming for the student textbook market. The Android-based Entourage eDge, announced in January during the Consumer Electronics Show, features a 10.1-inch LCD panel and a 9.7-inch E-ink display. The eDge has a Web cam, mic, 3GB internal memory and an SD card slot (no word on maximum storage support) and two USB ports. The device features 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. Weighing 3 pounds and featuring a one-inch profile when closed, the Entourage eDge currently sells for $549.
The big question, however, is whether students are willing to part with heavy traditional textbooks for the new and equally bulky e-textbook readers. Digital textbooks account for about 2 to 3 percent of sales at the more than 3,000 stores affiliated with the National Association of College Stores. Nevertheless, the NACS predicts e-textbooks could make up 10 to 15 percent of the textbook market by 2012. That forecast, however, depends on textbook content becoming more “more interactive” and college faculty embracing the new textbook formats.
Kno has raised more than $55 million from investors, according to TechCrunch.