11 Comments

Summary:

Notion Ink’s Adam with innovative Pixel Qi display uses less battery life and still looks great. Digital content pops on the device, just like it will with Apple’s iPad. Will the Android platform coupled with this hardware appeal more to tech enthusiasts than Apple’s iPad?

notion-ink-adam-thumb

Apple may have widespread interest with its iPad, but the Notion Ink Adam has geek juices flowing, too. We got our own hands-on demo with a prototype at last month’s Consumer Electronics Show, but if that wasn’t enough for you, check out the detailed video that SlashGear has put together.

In it, you get a far better idea of how the innovative display works quite well in various use cases without any backlighting. In that situation, the display component only uses 0.2 watts of juice. Less watts required means longer battery life and for mobile devices, that’s a key attribute. One thing I didn’t realize about the Notion Ink technology was that the display backlighting isn’t just an on or off feature. There’s a third mode that uses an ambient light sensor — when it detects that the light levels are too low, the backlighting kicks in as needed.

Aside from last month’s video, SlashGear offers some updated pictures of the Adam device. The video looks used a prototype, but the newest pictures show a more refined unit. And the Notion Ink folks even show a nice magazine mock-up of SlashGear, which I expect would look equally as nice on the iPad.

I have little doubt that purely from a specification and performance standpoint, the Adam competes well with the iPad. In the case of battery life and display technology, it probably exceeds Apple’s product. There isn’t enough information on Apple’s custom A4 chip to compare it with the next-generation Nvidia Tegra that powers the Adam. We should know more in about a week, however — Rohan Shravan from Notion Ink told us that Mobile World Congress will bring news about the company’s product line.

Marketing is obviously a big factor, but putting that aside for a second, the bigger question may come down to the operating system. Is Google’s Android platform perceived to be “as good, if not better” than Apple’s iPhone operating system? Clearly, Android is making huge gains as a smartphone driver, but Apple’s control of the overall experience and ecosystem is something that many mainstream consumers appreciate. We geeks like choice, control and customization, so the Adam might turn out to be the “iPad” that mobile tech enthusiasts adopt. Thoughts?

Image courtesy of SlashGear

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  1. This looks quite promising and I for one will hold off on the iPad until more competition comes along. Perhaps by the end of the year there will be several much better alternatives to the iPad…I can always hope anyway!

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  2. Thanks for the link, Kevin. I agree that we don’t know enough about Apple’s A4 chipset to draw any firm conclusions as yet. However, out of the box the Adam is going to soundly trounce the iPad when it comes to media performance – you’ll get 576p at most from Apple’s tablet, using the optional component cables, whereas the Notion Ink machine has HDMI for full 1080p HD.

    Oh, and Adam will have Flash, too :)

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    1. Oh, and Adam will have Flash, too.

      Are we sure about that? Last I saw, Adobe had just announced that only Android 2.1 devices will get Flash 10.1, and I’ve yet to hear solid confirmation that any Android tablets will even be running 2.0.

      I think that ultimately access to the Android Market and other Google apps will be a bigger determinant of the success/failure of Android tablets than the presence/absence of Flash.

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      1. We spoke with Notion Ink about this and they confirmed that, in just the past day or two, they’d been green-lighted by Adobe for Flash support on the Adam.

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  3. I feel the major stumbling block to the Adam is it’s lack of developer tools mothers can use to write applications. Apple has never had the best set of hardware and UI features but the simplicity of their UI and developer tools has I feel helped fuel their rapid entry into this highly competitive market.

    I see this continuing with the iPad.

    The German’s are hoping to deliver Dalvik Turbo but native code vs byte code hasn’t been what is holding back Assassin’s Creed II Discovery and other titles from coming to Android.

    I am curious why Apple didn’t go with Pixel Qi’s display though. Everything I’ve read and seen seems to support it being high quality and low power. I’m thinking Pixel Qi’s idea of “production quantities” and Apple’s needs didn’t match up.

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    1. If Adam is running on Android i don’t think that will be a problem especially after watching the video shown. Adam knows its market is tech enthusiasts who want something better than what Apple is offering and so they chose Android: an open source software which will allow people to build many apps. Plus we saw that gesture program and i think Adam will release their own API because they will have a custom UI and that will further enable development.

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    2. Android is an open source version of linux with an app store that isn’t cesored by its makers….sooo yea…

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  4. If it has writing recognition and also has the ability to read books espically college course books I could defintely see this out doing the IPad

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  5. It is starting at $325 which is even better. Not everyone engages in daylight robbery like Apple does. I would certainly buy one or two.

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  6. To be blunt, The Adam (and similar upcoming devices to follow) will be the iPad for intelligent people. I know it’s popular to bash the iPad, but in all seriousness, this simply runs circles around it, at half the price.

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  7. What I’m really curious to know is Kevin’s and James’s personal opinion of the Adam and the iPad vs Adam debate before the new gadget giddiness of having the iPad takes over and fogs things up a bit tomorrow.

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