Could the Adam Surpass the iPad by Taking More Risks?

Updated on 11 March 2010 by

ipad adam I just finished an overview post on the ever-interesting Notion Ink Adam slate over at Carrypad.com. As I researched the slate, I came away rather impressed with it. While we have yet to see production models, what Notion Ink claims to be bringing to the table with the Adam could very well surpass the iPad [Product page] in terms of power/battery life/features – is this a result of a small company’s ability to take risks that a large company couldn’t afford?

Most of us are all too familiar with Apple’s practices. Step one for Apple usually involves boiling a product concept down and identifying key uses. Next, they design the product around those key uses and make sure that it works very well for them. Finally they produce a well polished product that generally brings existing hardware together with streamlined software in a way that outshines most products in the category, but because the device is designed around specific uses, they often force their users to do things their way.

Then along comes a relatively small company like Notion Ink. I’ve got to imagine that being small allows them to respond quickly to changes in the market as they are developing their product, which affords them the ability them to incorporate some bleeding-edge hardware (like a dual-core Cortex A-9 CPU, Nvidia’s Tegra 2 platform, and Pixel Qi display.) Additionally, being open about the development of their device leaves the door open for feedback and constructive criticism which will all end up improving the final product.

It’s unlikely that Notion Ink will sell even half as many Adam slates as Apple sells iPads, but I feel that they have a shot at stealing relatively large chunk of would-be iPad users by being bold enough to include things like a swiveling camera and a rear trackpad. Of course much of this potential will be lost if the price isn’t right — as well as how long it takes them to get it to market (neither of which have been announced officially.)

And let’s not forget that both of these devices could fail pretty easily if their OSKs don’t function adequately.

I think this is a big opportunity for Notion Ink, and I really hope they are able to delivery everything that they have been claiming with this product. What do you think, dear reader? Would you take the Adam over the iPad if you could pick either for the same price? Let us know what your thoughts are in the comments below.

19 Comments For This Post

  1. UMPCPortal says:

    New article: Could the Adam Surpass the iPad by Taking More Risks? http://bit.ly/c3fWrB

  2. Ben Lang says:

    New post [UMPCPortal.com]: Could the Adam Surpass the iPad by Taking More Risks? – http://is.gd/8qfhE

  3. George says:

    “Most of us are all too familiar with Apple’s practices. Step one for Apple usually involves boiling a product concept down and identifying key uses. Next, they design the product around those key uses and make sure that it works very well for them. Finally they produce a well polished product that generally brings existing hardware together with streamlined software in a way that outshines most products in the category, but because the device is designed around specific uses, they often force their users to do things their way.”

    Whilst this is true, it should be noted that Apple have a tendency to omit highly desired (and in my view, some essential) features (or create artificial flaws) in all of their first-generation devices.

    For example; non-standard headphone sockets that only accept specially-shaped Apple headphones …or a limited bluetooth stack that prevents A2DP …or no support for expandable flash memory in any of their portable devices …etc

    Their second-generation devices normally have these features added (or flaws removed), making early adopters re-buy what is effectively the same product.

    In my opinion, they are doing the same thing with the iPad (no internal SD slot, no USB ports, limited bluetooth stack, no Flash web content, no multi-tasking, etc).

    I own an iPhone3G and a previous-generation Macbook (both fantastic devices), and was planning on buying an iPad – but they’ve simply crippled it too much to be useful to me this time around.

    I’ll be keeping a close eye on products like the Adam over the next few months (including the HP Slate and Crunchpad/Joojoo).

    …In my experience, the best innovations in product design don’t come from Apple itself, but from products developed to compete directly with its range.

  4. Mike Cane says:

    No, no, no. Let’s see this thing *on sale* first. You are drooling over a fight where there’s only ONE fighter in the ring: Apple. There’s no evidence other than NI’s hype that this will ever be produced and will ever be sold widely. And if going on sale — in the US, at least — means only via carrier stores, well, it’ll be the latest Geek Toy, like the Droid, but never a threat to anyone, least of all Apple. And both you and jkk have used the Archos 5 Internet Tablet. You like that Android? Ha! You think a small company like NI can come up with Apple-Class lipstick for that OS? I don’t think so.

  5. tmarks11 says:

    uhmm, the iPad is on sale already?

  6. Wes says:

    I’ll be getting a Notion Ink Adam (if it really does get to market, and barring reviews revealing major problems), and I’ll be getting an iPad. I’ve been waiting for a long time for something with a Pixel Qi display. But I think we already know the answer to the question of whether the former can surpass the latter: not while it’s running Android. The iPad will be running an operating system that takes provides full advantage of its capacitive touch screen, creating a seamless experience. Android is not there yet.

  7. ma10 says:

    I was looking forward to the iPad but it’s announcement left me underwhelmed to say the least… So, after trawling of alternatives esp what was shown at CES, Notion Ink’s offering showed the most promise. I sincerely hope that they would do a good job and I would be paying close attention to them showcasing the Adam at MWC.

  8. HoboJ says:

    This notion ink tablet seems too good to be true. Given that it likely is. I call vapourware on this until proven otherwise. To me it looks like they’re trying to fish out funding for this tablet using hype in order to get it to market and that’s never a good sign.

  9. Ben says:

    Ya I’ve been weary about it turning into vaporware as well. Time will tell I suppose.

  10. Ramv says:

    I agree with you in part.But saying they are building up hype for funding is a bit ironic when compared to apple IPAD.Apple is big conglomerate with a lot of research going on.These are basically 25 something kids trying to bring out a product which has till now lived up to expectations.But apple ipad still recieved a lot of hype which was encouraged by the company itself bring a lot of sci-fi effect, but ultimately the product was totally crippled.But still the hype and apple cult following will make sure that the Ipad leaves any rival in dust.My point it that apple alos depend on hype to sell its products.

  11. PJE says:

    I’m very interested in the NI Adam – I would assume that NVidia will be helping porting Android/Chrome/Ubuntu to the Tegra 2 CPU.

    I notice on one of the internal shots a month or so back that the prototype was actually just the standard NVidia Tegra 2 development board in a case with the Pixel Qi screen and touchscreen added. Which is no bad thing, as I assume NVidia did a lot of preliminary work on the development system hardware.

    With all these large screen Android devices coming out, I can see a reasonable number of apps written for this screen size.

    The main issue for me is price. At $499 for a 16GB device I think they’ll struggle against the iPad – even with it’s benefits. If they can get down to $399 for a 16GB machine I think they stand a good chance of success.

  12. AP says:

    Starting price is going to be about $ 325 US so it will be considerably cheaper than ipad. The price was reported in several Indian newspapers as Indian Rs 15.7K which comes out to be around $315-325 depending on exchange rate.

  13. AP says:

    Sorry forgot price links.

    http://www.techtree.com/India/News/MWC_2010_Why_is_Notion_Inks_Adam_an_iPad_Killer/551-109285-615.html

    http://business.timesonline.co.uk/tol/business/industry_sectors/technology/article7027796.ece

  14. PJE says:

    I saw $325-800 which is a pretty large range…

    If they can sell it in the USA for $399 they’ve got a good chance of getting some of my money.

  15. 4EVR says:

    only if they have the Google android app store..

  16. Perry D. Riggins says:

    I would diffinitely support a product such as the Adam Slate concept as it seems to align itself to be a useful business / education device instead of a seemingly entertainment only device. I have been in the education technology field for years and have been a proponent of the TabletPC since 2003. Through hardware and software, we have effectivly changed the way medical education is taught through this technology. I am not sure how folks can suggest that there is only one player in the field! The market is ripe for a combination device that can answer the needs of education and business’s alike. Let Apple do what it does best which is to support it’s own interest. The rest of the market will change the world. I am very interested to see how Android OS combined with PixelQi’s screen tecnology and quaolcom’s Snapdragon processor will playout.
    ———-
    PR

  17. Scott says:

    It can only be good to have more devices in this space. No one device is perfect for everyone – the backlash against the iPad demonstrates that much, if nothing else – and the various vendors need to see how consumers respond to the range of options in terms of device features (how many people actually want that camera badly enough to buy a different device?). And I remain convinced that mobile-OS tablets will provide a better user experience overall than unmodified desktop-OS tablets.

    On the other hand, I remain wary of Android tablets for a couple of reasons. First, there’s the skinning question: either the device manufacturer skins the OS to make the UI more tablet-friendly, which complicates the upgrade path, or releases the device with a standard Android build, which is probably not optimal for a larger-than-smartphone display. Second, unless and until Google screws its head on straight and opens up its apps to non-smartphone devices, you simply can’t get the same Android experience on your tablet that you can on your smartphone, which impedes adoption by current Android smartphone users *and* by their friends and family who might be swayed by their recommendation. Apple was *very* smart, I think, to provide support for current iPhone apps on the iPad; it will lessen the sting of the inevitable wait for iPad-tailored apps.

    Notion Ink talks a good game, and certainly has impressive hardware specs, but the meat of a tablet’s usability is in the software, and we’ve seen almost nothing on that front apart from a concept sketch or two. I still think they could pull off an amazing product, but the ball is definitely in their court.

  18. fraglez says:

    No dimensions and weight – this is two most importatnt thing in any tablet. So this is a Crap.

  19. horse21 says:

    Preliminary specs show 11.6 or 12.9 mm and 600 or 650 grams, respectively. For reference, the iPad is 13.4 mm for both versions, and 680 or 730 grams.

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