Would students carry and use this instead of a laptop or iPad? That's the question I asked when I went hands on with the new Kno dual-screen tablet at the D8 conference. In some ways, it's too early to call. The touch capability isn't yet fully baked, and the stylus support isn't yet activated. But the biggest question I have about the Kno is whether it's just too large. Packing two 14-inch displays (1440 x 900 pixels) and weighing 5.5 pounds, when closed this device measures 1.3 inches thick. That's pretty hefty.
But Kno insists that opting for this screen size was important to remain faithful to the way textbook content is traditionally presented. The device does feel solid, and we like how easy it is to fold one of the screens back to concentrate just on one LCD. However, the latpop mode Kno talks about will require a separate accessory to prop up the device. In other words, unlike a traditional laptop, you can't tilt the Kno the way you like for use. Plus, when holding the Kno with both screens open, it feels a bit unwieldy.
We'll withhold final judgement until Kno ships this product and the software is fully baked, but we think the platform would have more potential if the two screens were 7 or 9 inches and textbook makers reformatted their content for the digital arena.