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Kno Tablet May Become Software Only

by Sean P. Aune | February 21, 2011February 21, 2011 10:11 am PST

kno_dual_screenThe Kno tablet, the first of its kind designed specifically for academic settings, may become nothing more than an app on other tablets according to sources.

Kara Swisher of All Things D is reporting that the folks over at Kno are looking to sell off their hardware manufacturing portion of the business.  Sources familiar with the matter are saying that the company is in talks with two major manufacturers, but which companies those may be is unknown at this time, and Kno itself is not commenting on the rumors.

Apparently the new plan calls for just making Kno apps for already existing tablets such as the iPad.  This would be a radical shift for the company that had already secured $56 million in venture capital under the idea of releasing a tablet.

Considering the reports from earlier this month that the Kno tablet had been delayed for unknown reasons, it definitely looks like things are shifting at the company.  I tend to agree with Swisher’s speculation that it has to do with the flood of tablets that are about to hit the market.  With over 100 tablets being shown at CES last month, the tablet market is about to get a whole lot more completive.

I got to spend a little hands-on time with the Kno in Las Vegas, and I have to say I walked away a pretty big fan of the concept.  Yes, there were some things that could be fixed, but overall the concept was great, and it was unlike any other tablet in the marketplace.  If the company is truly going to walk away from manufacturing its own hardware, I think this is unfortunate for the industry as a whole.  Overall tablets are beginning to look sickeningly the same both in hardware and software.  None of them seem to really address the needs of students like the Kno does, and by just becoming an app, it will lose the features that made it really stand out.

We’ll see if this ends up being true, but sadly I think it’s going to end up being so.

What say you?  Do you think it’s a mistake to cancel the Kno hardware?

[via All Things D]

Sean P. Aune

Sean P. Aune has been a professional technology blogger since July 2007, but his love of tech dates back to at least 1976 when his parents bought...