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Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Kno for Sale?

It appears that Kno, which last year unveiled eponymous single- and dual-screen tablets designed specifically for the education market, is exploring selling off the hardware side of its business. According to this All Things Digital post, the abruptly crowded tablet market—with more than 80 such devices released or announced at CES 2011 in January—convinced Kno execs to tilt all the company’s focus toward its software and services rather than actual devices.

Kno is said to have two consumer electronics manufacturers interested in its hardware business. Although the Kno touchscreen tablets were slated for release toward the end of 2010, only a few hundred preorders were actually filled before Kno recently ceased shipping. The company [ web site states, “You now need an invitation to get a Kno. There aren’t enough to go around.”

The devices’ price tag of $599 for the single-screen and $999 for the dual-screen had raised some doubts about their viability for the higher ed market, so it will be interesting to see what a buyer does with the hardware.

Once any sale is complete, Kno would reportedly use its software, which includes annotation and highlighting capabilities, to serve students via the iPad and tablets employing the Android mobile OS. The company has a “wide range” of existing textbook distribution partnerships with colleges and universities upon which to build, and one of its founders Osman Rashid, co-founder of the textbook-rental company Chegg.

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