Posted by: crudbasher | December 22, 2010

Why I Think the Kno Tablet Will Fail

I have been watching the story of the Kno tablet with great interest.  It is a large double touchscreen tablet specifically designed for Higher Education. It actually looks like a cool device and could be effective in the classroom. However, I think it will fail and here’s why.

1. If the only market they are going for is Higher Education, they won’t be able to get economies of scale like an iPad. They will always be expensive.

2. Becaust it will be such a small market the company won’t have the money to keep up with the latest technologies.

3. A student will get one as a Freshman but after 4 years will they still like their outdated and slow devices? (if they last 4 years)

4. Textbook publishers are behind this.  This gives me the heebejeebies.  Textbook publishers are desperate for a way to keep their huge profit margins from physical textbooks.  Does anyone reading this think that these new eTextbooks will be inexpensive?  This also completely obliterates the used textbook market. (again the publishers are happy about this)

5. Many students will be coming to universities with their own computing equipment.  Are they going to want to buy a single use, very heavy tablet just for use in class?

The only way I see the Kno succeeding is if they can convince the government to subsidize these devices and mandate their use.  The market would kill this product otherwise.

Of course forcing products into the market seems to be what governments like to do these days. (see: Electric Cars, Wind Power, Solar Power, Ethenol, etc…)

Can anyone else offer a reason why this will succeed?

Posted from Diigo. The rest of my favorite links are here.



  1. Good points. I agree. Their market will require a broader target audience.

  2. You know Andrew, there will be some schools that will adopt this. But, we all really need to steer clear of this. I completely agree with your 4th point. Are digital textbooks really a bargain at $71? That’s ridiculous.

    I think the tablet is really cool- but I agree that all teachers would have to sign on at the school to use it. – the most important part of that is the school offering training for the instructors and students.

  3. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Cari Jansen, said: #edu #education Why I Think the Kno Tablet Will Fail – I have been watching the story of the Kno tablet with great i… […]

  4. Keep the basic form factor; at least halve the weight/bulk (without crippling the one-page, one screen capabilities); possibly ruggedise a little, possibly improve the UI a little (further optimizations for touch and pen-stylus note-taking); add some additional on-board memory, ethernet, USB (3 and 2), E-sata connections, 3G+ or 4G-LTE, wireless/hands-free audio and mobile phone accessories, a multi-card reader, LiveMesh-style group collaboration capabilities (aka. OLPC), excellent real time handwriting-to-text recognition software, MS OneNote+ equivalent for tracking, searching and organizing notes, etc.; without doubling+ the price and/or crippling the battery life; and you might have a half decent device for business and education (that can readily be combined if needed with a document scanner, DVD drive, external hard drive, a desktop workstation/dock, a corporate/institutional network, etc.)

    Traditional laptops, smart phones, iPads etc. all still lack a little something when it comes to practical organizing, presenting, collaborating and capturing all that must be organized, presented, collaborated upon and captured on the job around meetings, conferences, training events, etc. The new Acer Iconia laptop could conceptually almost go there, but it retains the weight and bulk ++, lacks adequate integration of touch and pen-stylus friendly OS and related software, localized collaboration tools/capabilities, etc.

    Problem might then be what such a device could do to all the other nifty, over-commercialized portable gadgets that fill up the pockets, briefcases and back-packs.

    • Hey David!
      Those are some great points! The big trick in what you mention is keeping the cost the same. I think right now technology can’t do that. In 2-3 years though I think that is doable. I wonder if putting some of the capability in the cloud and make the tablet more of a thin client would save some money? Oh and I love the Mesh learning idea. Definitely a great idea for schools.

      Slightly more longer term would be flexible screens. I think that is the missing piece of the puzzle.
      Thanks very much for commenting!!

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