Kano is releasing a second-generation model of its buildable Windows 10 PC, which keeps the $299.99 price point and DIY touchscreen form factor, but offers a faster new processor and a slightly updated design (including the addition of USB-C).
The overall form factor — a convertible 2-in-1 tablet with an attachable keyboard that also doubles as a protective case — is the same as last year’s model, but Kano has made big improvements to the internal hardware. The main difference is the jump from the old Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor to a new Intel Celeron N4000 — jumping from a 2W chip to a dramatically more powerful 6W processor.
The company also now promises a minimum of 10 hours of battery life on the new model, which charges via USB-C. There are physical volume buttons on the side, Bluetooth 5.0, and a redesigned heatsink that should help with efficiency and performance.
Some things aren’t changing: the new model will still feature an 11.6-inch touchscreen, 64GB of eMMC storage, and 4GB of RAM. And like the original version released last year, the second-gen Kano PC was developed in partnership with Microsoft and runs full Windows 10.
The new model is the continuation of Kano’s ambitions to expand into the educational computing space. The company’s original buildable computers were based on Raspberry Pi modules and feature more actual assembly but could only run Kano’s custom software on top of Linux. The new Windows 10 models sacrifice some of the assembly process that made the products more unique (all that really has to be done is attaching the speaker and battery) in exchange for software that’s far more usable as an actual computer.
The improved specs on the new Kano PC model are key to those ambitions, with the company touting performance that’s on par with other entry-level laptops from companies like Acer or HP.
As for the software itself, Kano will continue to offer its own apps and learn-to-code tools, with games, videos, and the company’s signature block-based coding system. There’s also a new optional subscription layer, Kano Club, which costs $4.99 per month or $39.99 per year. Membership includes guided video tutorials, access to Artopia (a shared drawing app), and new Kano beta apps.
Kano is also launching a new lineup of accessories that are meant to complement the new Kano PC: a pair of headphones and a USB mouse (both of which are assembled from their various components in typical Kano fashion), and a USB webcam (which makes sense, given the increasing reliance on video-conference platforms that even younger children are experiencing).