Notion Ink Adam Pre-orders Start on the 10th, Pricing, Interface, and Input-Device Functionality Revealed

Posted on 10 December 2010, Last updated on 10 December 2010 by

adam pre-orderNotion Ink, the company behind the forthcoming Adam tablet [tracking page], has divulged lots of info on it’s official blog today about the company’s first device, including pre-order information.

Pricing and Availability

notion ink adamAs mentioned in an earlier post on their blog, Notion Ink has sent out emails to people who have commented on their site in the past, and these people will be able to access pre-orders 6 hours before everyone else. If you aren’t among this group of people, you should be able to pre-order the Adam starting on December 9th at 7:30PM EST, presumably from Notion Ink’s site.

The Adam will be offered starting at $375 for the basic Wi-Fi only version, while the 3G version will run $425. If you opt for the Pixel Qi (transreflective) screen, the Wi-Fi only version will be $499 or $549 for the 3G version. Notion Ink says they have 6 different variants available citing the “900 and 850 series inch which may represent different 3G radios for different networks.

Interface

Notion Ink has also given us a good look at the custom interface that they’ve been working on, which I’ve been excited to take a see. I’ll drop the images below for you to peruse. The first thing I’ve noticed is that their choice of “hand-drawn inch icon style doesn’t seem to fit with their hyper-modern interface (which reminds me much of Mirror’s Edge aesthetics). They’ve previously stated that they didn’t want to follow the current glossy icon style that has been popularized thanks to Apple’s iOS app icons.

adam interface

adam interface 2

adam interface 7

adam interface 4

adam interface 3

adam interface 6

adam interface 5

adam keyboard

Based on images alone, I find Adam’s interface to be graphically very sharp and impressive. Unfortunately, we don’t have a clear idea of exactly how it will operate, and intuitiveness and consistency might be an issue (we’ll have to wait and see). I’m happy to see them trying to do something revolutionary though. Android’s app design is more fragmented than the versions of the OS itself. If Notion Ink wants to be able to pull off this app paradigm, their approach will have to be very usable, and they’ll need to publish tight design/usage docs for developers to follow. Otherwise we’ll end up with a messy, confusing, and inconsistent interface which will result in fewer people using the device, and thus fewer developers wanting to develop for the platform. I have at least a little bit of hope as Notion Ink claims to have done lots of user testing in these areas.

The Adam as a Drawing Digitizer?

One of the most interesting points on the afore-linked blog post was that the Adam will include a “digitizer inch and be able to work as a wireless input device for other computers. I wish I had more solid information about this, but their language isn’t very clear. According to Notion Ink, the “Adam comes with an Open Source implementation which converts it into a digitizer inch, and further clarifies by saying “Please note, technically Adam’s way of using the screen as touch input for your computers does not make it fall into traditional digitizer domain, but it’s rather an intelligent implementation and hack in to the system inch. So at this point, it doesn’t sound like were talking about an active digitizer (which is how almost all decent computer drawing pads work). Sounds like an interesting feature, but it might not turn out to be anything more than a VNC implementation.

Mystery Sensor

Notion Ink has been teasing a mystery sensor that will be included with the Adam. In the blog post CEO Rohan Shravan writes:

One of my wish was to design a product where every fortnight you can receive a new update which isn’t just a security bug fix, but a discovery of something which already existed, sort of un-locking a part. This is my first attempt on the same lines!

An interesting concept, but people might take this the wrong way. There’s nothing more annoying than a product shipping with a particular piece of hardware, but having it locked down for no reason. Apple did this with their iPod Touchs, which included Bluetooth radios, but were locked down to only be used with proprietary Nike+ sensors. Eventually Apple opened up the Bluetooth functionality with an update, but it took some time before users were actually able to take advantage of the hardware they paid for.

6 Comments For This Post

  1. Elgin joshua says:

    Nothing annoys me more then a site that has broken links. Didn’t do it for me guys. I mean the adam looks awesome but I hate the fact that I cant find a decent bit of information about it on both their site and blog

    sorry just feel like the commonwealth games all over.

    more then skilling to eat humble pie though if they quickly get their act together.

  2. Elgin joshua says:

    I meant more than willing. sorry

  3. MarcG says:

    Looks interesting.

    If I could pre-order in the UK I probably would…

  4. zorg says:

    I blame consumers in general for the Adam debacle. People are so used to looking at feature lists and spec sheets that they forget that these things have to be designed and engineered to work together. It is completely loony to believe that the fabulous feature list that is the Adam really exists. Only reports from people who have used it, preferrably with video, will convince me that there really is an Adam.

    Yet Adam is very, very different from others who have never released a product. Adam cultists compare the Adam to the seven million iPads or the million Galaxy Tabs that have been shipped, even though none of them have ever, ever seen or used one! That is really interesting.

    It doesn’t exist and yet every post on their blog has over a thousand comments! It’s also really fascinating that they are now allowing their followers to commit money to it. This is a key ingredient in flying saucer cults where there is dissonance between belief and reality. As documented in “When Prophecy Fails”
    (see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/When_Prophecy_Fails for an overview)
    five factors will have to come together to allow the cult to adjust to the eventual reality that the Adam will never be released or that a very different product than promised will be released.

    Just as the flying saucers never showed up and the cultists decided that their devotion had caused the flying saucers to change course and “spare Earth”, whenever the Adam doesn’t show up, more features are added to help with the explanation that the Adam just keeps getting better and better.

    Members of the Adam cult will pounce on disbelievers as hard as they can, so I would not advise drawing the parallel on their own blog. But it will be instructive to see the saga play out from a distance.

    Note that the leaders of the flying saucer cults themselves really believed. Are the people behind Adam similarly deluded? Of course, after the suicide of one of the Madoffs today, there is plenty in the news to remind us that scams do happen on an enormous scale. For a while, I thought that their emphasis on communication via blog, which must be horribly time-consuming for a startup, was a signal that they were planning to do a preorder and make a run for it with the cash.

    But now that they have done the preorder and botched it so badly, I prefer to go with the assumption that they are delusional. A serious con would have smoothed the preorder process, realizing that it would be the only source of income for the project. The loopiness of the preorder details shows how difficult it is to think through all the possible problems. That may be a lesson they’re just learning. Right now, I believe that they will be as blindsided as their followers when the Adam cult is eventually forced to prove itself by avoiding other tablets that actually exist.

  5. chippy says:

    Interesting but probably not right. I draw parallel with the WeTab where the company has solid intentions but the sum of the exciting parts didn’t add up to a useable product. Without companies like Notion Ink and Wetab, it would get quite boring out there.

  6. Shane says:

    That interface. Where to start? It looks over-designed, arbitrary, messy and inconsistent. When something is that overdone, it looks very amateurish. However, worse of all, the usability suffers. The calendar is especially bad. It’s all about design wankery and has nothing to do with helping the user manage their appointments.

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