Mobile

The Kno wants to be the tablet for students — but is it too pricey?

Tablet maker Kno, which is hoping to find a niche for itself by marketing its devices specifically to students, has announced the pricing for its first tablet computers. The single-pad model will cost $600, and the dual-screen model will go for $900, the company said.

Kno’s idea is to create a cheap tablet designed to carry textbooks for students. When we covered Kno back in September, the company was promising to deliver an affordable single-screen model. But $600 probably isn’t quite as cheap as many students hoped.

The odds are, the tablets will serve well as a textbook readers. Kno co-founder Osman Rashid also helped found textbook rental site Chegg. But general-purpose tablet computers like the iPad and the Samsung Galaxy Tab already hit a similar price point and offer broader functionality than just a textbook reader. The iPad’s cheapest model costs $500, while the Samsung Galaxy tablet costs $600 without a contract.

In fact, the price point of most tablets is a little daunting compared to just picking up a full-fledged computer. College students simply write too much and use other applications like MATLAB and design programs to justify tossing the computer for any tablet just yet.

As a recent college graduate, I honestly can’t say I could justify picking up the Kno to avoid carrying textbooks. There’s a certain tactile satisfaction that comes from scribbling all over Greenberg’s twelve-pound guide to Advanced Engineering Mathematics.

But Kno has announced partnerships with publishers like Cengage Learning, McGraw Hill, Pearson and Wiley, and will begin¬†marketing the tablets at 10 college campuses across the country initially. The Santa Clara, Calif.-based company has raised $55 million to date, including the $46 million it raised in its most recent round of fundraising in September. It has the backing of one of the most prominent VC firms in the valley — Marc Andreessen’s investing firm Andreessen-Horowitz — and a good bit of momentum. So it will be interesting to see if Kno is finally the company to kill the textbook.


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