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.