Microsoft partners on touchscreen 'Kano PC' to challenge iPad in education

Posted:
in General Discussion
Microsoft is partnering with company called Kano on the "Kano PC," an 11.6-inch touchscreen tablet meant to teach kids how computers work and how to use them for simple coding projects.

Kano PC


The device comes broken into several components, which kids have to assemble before it can run. Once it's on a "How Computers Work" app teaches more about computer architecture, as well as things like creating emoji with binary code. Also preloaded are coding and art apps such as Kano Projects, with options to share finished apps on the free Kano World social network.

The machine uses a 1.44-gigahertz quad-core Intel Atom processor, paired with 4 gigabytes of RAM and 64 gigabytes of flash storage, expandable via microSD. Other specifications include two USB ports, Bluetooth 4.2, a 3.5mm audio jack, and dual-band 802.11b/g/n Wi-Fi. A keyboard case is bundled for typing.

Kano PC


The Kano PC should soon be available to preorder for $299.99, but will only ship to the U.S., Canada, and the U.K. on Oct. 21.

The product could potentially eat into Apple's iPad sales, though likely to a limited degree since the iPad is a fully-assembled product meant for a wide range of classwork. Apple has however tried to insert its Swift programming language into all levels of education, something the Kano PC could better challenge if it catches on.

Comments

  • Reply 1 of 9
    Assembling this thing will likely teach the kids nothing. The "how computers work" program will probably be less effective that any number of YouTube vids on the topic. Overall, it's a silly gimmicky idea and a waste of money. Sorry if I sound bitter, I once bought my son a "build your own camera" kit with a similar educational message. Took 5 minutes to "build" and was a piece of trash. May as well have burned $100.
    colinngwatto_cobra
  • Reply 2 of 9
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 31,334member
    Teaches kids how to be contract assembly line workers. Fun!  /s
    chiakestraldewmewatto_cobra
  • Reply 3 of 9
    AppleExposedAppleExposed Posts: 1,407unconfirmed, member
    Assembling this thing will likely teach the kids nothing. The "how computers work" program will probably be less effective that any number of YouTube vids on the topic. Overall, it's a silly gimmicky idea and a waste of money. Sorry if I sound bitter, I once bought my son a "build your own camera" kit with a similar educational message. Took 5 minutes to "build" and was a piece of trash. May as well have burned $100.

    I think it' a cool idea. I just can't stand the fact they take all of Apples ideas and peddle them for profit.
  • Reply 4 of 9
    lkrupplkrupp Posts: 7,170member
    Wait. What? I thought ChromeBooks had the education market all wrapped up. Weren’t we told that no school buys Apple anymore? How can Microsoft compete with Apple compete in a market that doesn’t include Apple? /s
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 9
    dewmedewme Posts: 2,126member
    I'm all for doing whatever it takes to light a spark in the next generation of technologists but this kit is no commercial threat at all to iPad on the high end or Raspberry Pi on the low end. But that's not even the point. If someone can actually come up with a "spark" that really makes a big difference I'm sure Tim Cook and all of Apple would celebrate its success even if it wasn't their product and even if it significantly cut into current iPad sales. The ensuing rise in the tide and broad industry growth driven by a wave of enthusiastic and capable young people interested in pursuing technology careers would dwarf the marginal reductions in current product revenues. Gotta look at the big picture.
  • Reply 6 of 9
    radarthekatradarthekat Posts: 3,117moderator
    This should be a hit in the Philippines, where Kano stands for Amerikano, a not always flattering term used to describe western foreigners.  If you want to know how people perceive the term, just watch the expression of a European who is lumped in with all fair-skinned foreigners when he or she is referred to as a Kano.  Great move Microsoft.  
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 7 of 9
    MacProMacPro Posts: 18,359member
    lkrupp said:
    Wait. What? I thought ChromeBooks had the education market all wrapped up. Weren’t we told that no school buys Apple anymore? How can Microsoft compete with Apple compete in a market that doesn’t include Apple? /s
    It's an obvious ploy to get more kids into the Microsoft ecosystem with their Microsoft Phone OS ... Oh, wait...
    watto_cobra
  • Reply 8 of 9
    vmarksvmarks Posts: 721editor
    This should be a hit in the Philippines, where Kano stands for Amerikano, a not always flattering term used to describe western foreigners.  If you want to know how people perceive the term, just watch the expression of a European who is lumped in with all fair-skinned foreigners when he or she is referred to as a Kano.  Great move Microsoft.  
    This isn't Microsoft's move. Kano is a separate company who named themselves for Kanō Jigorō, lifelong teacher, founder of the art of judo. They launched on Kickstarter, with a custom linux build for Raspberry Pi. The idea was a computer kids could assemble themselves and learn from. Yes, it's not a solder-wires-and-pliers build, but you want it to be achievable for the youngest set, which means balancing what you ask them to do. Is the interest in the assembly, or in the learning from the software?

    The raspberry pi kit from them had a keyboard and trackpad, speaker, battery, display, raspberry pi, and display driver board, allowing you to assemble a laptop or desktop-like kit.

    The software was a little like Swift Playgrounds in how it instructed the user to work with it. It wasn't bad, but Raspberry Pi is a little underpowered and the software was a little buggy across the different versions we tried of it.

    Then they licensed Harry Potter and made a wand with an accelerometer and gyroscope, programmable using Scratch language.

    Now they're partnering with Microsoft to run the Kano educational apps on what amounts to a clunky Windows 10 tablet. Honestly, I hope it works for them. If I had to guess, they're probably using the linux-inside-Windows-10 functionality that Microsoft provides - that would seem the fastest way to bring it over.

    Chromebook is dominant in education. Chromebook hasn't got any default programming lessons, instead being Google Docs, Drive and Classroom - anything else is from some other website you happen to run on it. Teachers like it because students can turn in assignments easily. IT like it because there's no drive to have to image, desktop support is easy.

    Here's my wishlist for Apple to really compete in the 'education and programming' space that Kano are trying for here:

    Swift is open source. Great.
    Swift Playgrounds is (hopefully) written in Swift.
    SwiftUI is a declarative UI with DSL that translates it for the target client device.
    Swift Playgrounds should run on macOS, iPadOS, and the web (ChromeOS, Windows Edge based on Chromium).

    If you want people to learn Swift, you have to bring it to them where they are with the devices they have.


    gatorguy
  • Reply 9 of 9
    gatorguygatorguy Posts: 20,932member
    This should be a hit in the Philippines, where Kano stands for Amerikano, a not always flattering term used to describe western foreigners.  If you want to know how people perceive the term, just watch the expression of a European who is lumped in with all fair-skinned foreigners when he or she is referred to as a Kano.  Great move Microsoft.  
    Zero impact. This won't be sold there anyway.

     From the article: "...but will only ship to the U.S., Canada, and the U.K.".

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