Will the Kno be the answer to cheap textbooks?

Chegg founder, Osman Raid, has been working on the stealth product for awhile, and today it is available for purchase, the Kno.  Osman is a serial entrepreneur who has already left a strong impact on the world of education, as the founding CEO of Chegg. Chegg is the innovative textbook rental company that has saved more than $200 million dollars for millions of college students at practically every campus in the U.S.  Like most successful businesses, Chegg sprung out of a deep-seated passion; Osman never forgot that the cost of textbooks was a crushing burden when he was in college, and he wanted to solve that problem for others by creating a bold new model.

The Kno is Osman’s answer to cheap textbooks – a dual screen tablet device, that allows you to read etextbooks, highlight passages and of course browse the web, research online and study (unfortunately).  The Kno also includes a pen like stylus for natural writing of notes which can be easily saved:

Kno Tablet

Kno tablet allows multi-media experience with pen like stylus.

The main concept behind the Kno is to have everything in one place: your laptop, web browser, notebooks, calender, textbooks – any time, any where, and all automatically backed up.  How much will all this capability cost you?  It is believed the Kno will start at $899 for its dual 14.1 inch screens, for comparison the iPad has a 9.7 inch screen, while a single screen version will be available for $599.

Kno has partnered with four major textbook publishers including Pearson and Wiley which give it an extensive catalog of etextbooks that will either allow a Kno user a textbook rental, or purchasing an etextbook outright to keep forever.  Kno claims with digital textbooks costing 30-50% less than physical textbooks it will pay for itself in 3 semesters by saving college students lots of cash in textbook costs.

Currently the Kno is available in very limited quantities by invitation only currently, though according the website they hope to begin shipping initial product very soon.


  1. TechStudent says:

    Apparently Kno is now looking for Student Ambassadors to test out the Kno Tablet, just to to their website http://www.kno.com for details. From what I read, you can buy a Kno for 50% off, but you have to attend weekly meetings, conduct product demos, work with organizations and student clubs, and participate in viral marketing. Not really sure why this company got over 50 million in funding, but what do I know?

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  3. violajack says:

    I think digital sheet music is the future, and the future is not yet. There are pluses and minuses to both systems, but I have yet to pull off using digital music in a performance.

    iPad pluses – lightweight, forever battery life, tap to turn the page.
    minuses – even with a good stylus, it is very hard to write small enough and accurately enough to put in fingerings and bowings. If you already know your music and just want a reference, this is not a problem. If you need to really read it, including markings, or you need to mark it up quickly (catch bowings in a rehearsal) this could be more problematic.

    Windows tablet pluses – active digitizer is accurate and you don't have to worry about keeping your hand off the screen, a variety of page turn options – some have touch, some have jog dials (my favorite), all have USB ports so you can use the much less expensive wired foot pedals. You will get better library management as this is Windows and you can arrange your files in whatever folders and directories you want. Also, SmartMusic!
    minuses – even the longest lived have less battery life than an iPad (the lenovos are up to 8 hours, my 2370p with extended slice battery gets 9), heavier, takes longer to wake from sleep and get going, thicker – I would not put my tablet on a folding stand, only a sturdy manhasset style, the iPad would be less likely to tip over.

    Despite the variety of sizes Windows tabletPCs come in, nothing is really big enough to be comparable to sheet music. You will only ever get one page at a time, or really tiny 2 page layouts. I guess that's fine if you're playing mostly from memory and just need the reference, but if you need to really read it, it's hard to get it big enough. That's the biggest thing that has stopped me from trying it up until now, I just don't want to have to flip every single page. Perhaps it would be different if I had a page turn pedal, but I don't.

    Also, do you share a stand? I can't even give it a try in my chamber orchestra, as I have to share a stand, and it's just too much to try to get my stand partner on board. I have a dream of scanning all my trio music and taking just the tablet to gigs, but I just can't drop out at each page turn. I either need to get a pedal, or something, I don't know.

    I'm actually very interested to see what comes of the dual screen Kno tablet: Two 14″ screens might actually make for readable sheet music, and you get two pages at a time.

    What we really need is epub for sheet music. We need a file standard that can re-render and re-flow the notes based on the size of the window and the size of font chosen. I should be able to pick how big I want the notes to be and have the software re-flow the measures and staves to fit the page. I guess it's time to test page turn and annotation options in Finale. And figure out how to get my trio books in.

    I think I just wrote a blog post of my own here in your comments, but I really do think tablets and digital music is the future. I just can't wait for the future to get here.

  4. ThaRealBomb says:

    Who came up with this POS!!!