Digital textbook manufacturer Kno announced the release of a single screen version of its tablet textbook. The single screen version extends the functionality of the dual screen version announced in June. Kno, short for knowledge, is a learning platform that blends a touch-screen tablet, digital textbooks, course materials, note-taking, Web access, educational applications, digital media, sharing and more into an educational experience that the company said is not available on any other tablet or e-reader currently on the market.
The company plans to ship both the single and two-screen tablet textbooks to consumers by the end of 2010. Pricing and preorder announcements would be made in the coming months, according to a company release. "From day one, we designed the Kno with flexibility in mind," said Babur Habib, CTO and co-founder of Kno. "We developed the product to have multiple configurations and meet different student needs. The single screen maintains the elegance of our fluid, intuitive interface while capturing the richness and -page fidelity' of the original textbook."
Osman Rashid, co-founder of Chegg and Babur Habib, founded the company in May 2009. Kno has a team of management from Apple, Cisco, HP, Intel, TiVo, Chegg and Palm, and the company has received funding from Andreessen Horowitz, First Round Capital, Maples and Ron Conway. In July, the company sent surveys to college students, parents, educators and developers on their advisory panel: The survey found nearly three-quarters (74 percent) of students said lecture notes and class notes are their most valuable study materials, while 59 percent also said the ability to access external online content (educational Websites, reference sites) to help them learn subjects in a textbook would be very useful.
"Kno fundamentally improves the way students learn," said Osman Rashid, the CEO and co-founder of Kno. "We are driven to innovate in a category that has been static for too long. Even though the Kno pays for itself in 13 months, the smaller up front investment of the single screen version will allow more students to use our learning platform."
The company unveiled the first version of the Kno in June, which offered full browser support, access to email accounts and the ability to send coursework to professors. The Kno supports Flash, HTML5, PDF and ePub content. Kno also said that it has established strategic relationships with higher education publishers Cengage Learning, McGraw Hill Education, Pearson and Wiley to launch a student beta program in fall 2010 with a number of universities and colleges across the United States.
Additionally, Kno is currently working with developers and it will come bundled with a variety of education-focused applications. Simultaneously with the full product launch, Kno.com said it would offer a store for developers to host and sell their applications and for students to download textbooks and course materials.