The iPad has sparked a flood of new tablet-format devices, including Asus' just-announced Eee Pad and Foxconn's as-yet unbranded Android-powered tablet. The Kno Reader is easily the largest of the new tablets, utterly dwarfing all others both on the market and in development. With two 14-inch screens (diagonal), the devices is over an inch thick and weighs 5.5 pounds--which might simply be too large for the tablet market. While its size is in line with large textbooks, as a portable device it's simply not very portable. Kno's executives also announced that their device would run an Linux operating system optimized for touch and is powered by Nvidia's Tegra chipset.
Back in April, we looked at the tablet form factor and whether such a device can be too large. Every one of the devices looked at, from the 5-inch Dell Streak 5 to the 12-inch JooJoo, was much smaller than the Kno Reader. The nearly half-stone device might just be too big to be feasible, with a profile larger than most full-size notebook computers. Kno says it will be available for "under $1,000" placing it at twice the cost of most tablet devices, and more expensive than most notebook computers.
The two large screens can obviously display a lot of information, but they seem unnecessary. Dual screens are useful in a workstation environment, but for a portable device it seems cumbersome. After all, if a display can quickly change what it's showing, there's little reason for a second screen. Textbooks (and all books) have two pages because that's how books are bound. Pages are double-sided, so content naturally appears on both pages. For a tablet, the second 14-inch screen seems unnecessary. Perhaps the advantages of the design will become apparent during the beta program this fall.