Kno textbook reader to ship this year

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The Independent Tech

Kno Inc., a California company making a digital textbook reader for students, announced on Tuesday it would begin shipping the tablet computer by the end of the year.

Kno, which has received funding from Andreessen Horowitz, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm launched by Netscape founder Marc Andreessen, said its 14.1-inch (35.8-centimeter) single screen tablet will cost 599 dollars.

The dual-screen version will sell for 899 dollars.

Kno, which is short for "knowledge," said it was accepting a limited number of pre-orders for an initial shipment that is expected to be delivered by the end of the year.

"Kno's extraordinary benefits represent only a tiny fraction of the overall cost of college," Kno co-founder and chief executive Osman Rashid said in a press release. "When you do the math, it actually pays for itself."

Kno said it has been testing the product with students and received a positive response for both the single and dual screen devices.

Digital textbooks will be sold through the Kno bookstore and cost between 30 percent and 50 percent less than physical textbooks, the company said.

Kno is working with a number of publishers including Cengage, McGraw Hill, Pearson, Macmillan, Bedford, Freeman & Worth, Holtzbrinck, BarCharts Publishing, Kaplan, Random House and University Presses.

"According to the not-for-profit College Board's 2010 report, the average college student spends approximately 1,100 dollars a year on books and supplies," Kno co-founder and chief technology officer Babur Habib said.

"Kno can reduce that cost while bringing education into the 21st Century, providing students with a far superior learning experience than they have today."

The Santa Clara, California-based Kno was founded in May 2009 and announced in September it had received 46 million dollars in the latest round of funding from Andreessen Horowitz and other venture capitalists.

Apple launched its iPad tablet computer earlier this year and a number of other companies have since announced plans to come out with touchscreen devices for reading electronic books or surfing the Web.

The iPad costs between 499 and 829 dollars.

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