posted by Thom Holwerda on Wed 2nd Jun 2010 22:19 UTC
IconOf course. Just as I'm about to finish university, and leave school behind me for good, some company comes up with a dual screen tablet which I would've killed for to replace that boatload of textbooks I've read over the years. It's called the Kno (more here), and it's a massive thing for sure - but considering their target demographic, it actually makes sense.

The Kno is being developed by a Santa Clara, California, company called, well, Kno, and is aimed squarely at students. The device is massive - two 14.1" multitouch IPS displays (1440×900 each) bolted together like the Courier concept from Microsoft. It uses NVIDIA's Tegra 2 chipset, has 16GB of storage, and thanks to two batteries, squeezes out 6-8 hours of battery life.

At 2.5kg, it's quite heavy, but then again, I've had textbooks back when I was studying Psychology which were larger (and possibly, heavier). And we carried lots of those. This device could replace them all, while also negating the need for carrying around a laptop since the device supports the full internet (including Flash 10.1).

Software-wise, it basically runs a WebKit instance with a custom interface built from the ground up for touch input, on top of a Linux kernel. It supports handwriting recognition for note-taking. The idea is, quite clearly, to get textbook publishers on board. The concept video below shows how it's all going to work, and dear lord, I would've killed a unicorn for something like this during my years at high school and university.

As the hands-on video below of a current prototype shows, there's still a lot of work to be done, but it already looks pretty promising. The displays are glossy at this point, but they will be anti-glare once the device goes into production.

If you're currently thinking it's far too large, then you clearly haven't ever had to carry a 15kg backpack around campus 7 hours a day, 5 days a week. If these guys can get the textbook publishers on board, this could be a massive hit.

The future is awesome.

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