Tag Archive | "notion ink adam"

Catch a Glimpse of the Design Process at the Notion Ink Adam 2 Dev Blog

Tags: , , , , ,


I’m sure there’s lot’s of extremely interesting  stuff that goes on during the development of any smartphone or tablet made by some of the biggest companies out there; unfortunately, these companies are often extremely secretive about what they’re working on, and it’s tough to get a good behind-the-scene look at how these devices are made. Fortunately for us, Notion Ink, the company behind the original Adam tablet, has opened up development blog to give us a glimpse into their work on the upcoming Adam 2.

We know nothing yet of the Adam 2’s external design, but Notion Ink previously confirmed that it would be using the TI OMAP 44xx platform, a PowerVR SGX 5xx CPU, and will run Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich. Thanks to the development blog, which is titled simply enough “Designing Adam 2”, we’ve been able to narrow down those X’s — The Adam 2 will use the dual-core OMAP 4470 SoC with PowerVR SGX 544 GPU.

There are only a few posts on the development blog so far, but the latest post shows us something very interesting that Notion Ink is working on. It seems the company is working to create automated infographics which will summarize information on your Adam 2 and show it to you visually. Here’s a piece of concept art which shows info about your email (where it’s coming from, how frequently it’s received, etc.):

Notion Ink has also posted about why they’ve chosen the OMAP platform, which is an interesting read because the Adam 2 is based on TI’s OMAP while the original was based on Nvidia’s Tegra 2.

The ‘About’ page for the blog says “Follow us if you want to be a part in designing Adam 2 and to learn how to design one!” so it sounds as though they’ll be happy to receive comments. If you’re an original Adam owner, now might be a good time to give them your suggestions!

We’ll be keeping our eye on Notion Ink’s Adam 2 development blog and let you know if anything else exciting pops up.

Notion Ink Announces Adam 2 ICS Tablet, Partnering With Texas Instruments

Tags: , , , ,


A little joke for the C++ programmers in the houseThe Adam 2 has been made official by Notion Ink, the startup responsible for the original Adam tablet. According to Notion Ink, the company has partnered with Texas Instruments to incorporate TI’s OMAP 44xx platform into the upcoming tablet.

The original Adam tablet may have been a bit too ambitious for the India based company. The original used the Tegra 2 platform, and Notion Ink built a completely customized tablet interface on top of an Android 2.x build. Unfortunately for Notion Ink, Google released the tablet-specific Android build, Honeycomb, shortly thereafter. This move didn’t work in favor of Notion Ink or the original Adam; the promised ‘Genesis’ developer program for the Adam’s customized software never happened, leaving the Adam with only a small number of official applications and no access to the Android Marketplace.

This time around, it seems Notion Ink might be scaling their ambitions to a more realistic level. The Adam 2 will run Ice Cream Sandwich, though it’s not yet clear whether or not there will be officially sanctioned access to the Android Market.

Along for the ride in the dual-core OMAP 44xx platform is a PowerVR SGX 5xx GPU. With the IVA 3 multimedia accelerator the Adam 2 will have the power to encode/decode 1080p video. According to Texas Instruments, the OMAP 44xx platform has 150% performance of the previous ARM Cortex A8 core. Also supported is a camera with up to 20MP (though the Adam 2 will likely not have a camera with such a high resolution). There’s no word yet on release date or pricing for the Adam 2, and no photos have been released at this point.

That’s all fine and dandy, but it wouldn’t be Notion Ink without at least one ambitious goal that may or may not be a little too big for the company to handle, amirite? This time around, it sounds like Notion Ink wants to design a user-friendly visual programming environment… that will presumably only run on the tablet. Here’s how they explain it:

Adam II will release the world’s first Modular Based Software Architecture which will further expand the scope of application development and use nearly every single hardware feature in a “user customizable” application. Drag and drop features will enable easy application modification and Open Source Module will further expand the use cases and tablet deployment. Node operations like in Blender, and “Application Authoring Tools” are primarily aimed at non-programmers for composing applications, games and use-case flows in a drag-and-drop fashion, utilizing visual editors and behavior-based logic system.

Notion Ink has managed to undertake this difficult task which may prove just a bit too challenging for the company, but at least there’s a glimmer of hope that they’ll manage to make it happen. I just don’t want to see this go the way of Genesis! I hope they can accomplish what they’ve set out to do, I’d love a visual programming environment — I suck at writing code! Good luck, Notion Ink, we’ve got our eye on you!

Notion Ink Adam to Get Ice Cream Sandwich, and Samsung Says THEY Can't Manage?!

Tags: , ,


The Notion Ink Adam was launched just about a year ago, and while it didn’t quite live up to the hype, the company is working on getting the one year old unit up and running with the latest version of Android, 4.0 AKA Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). Notion Ink has been posting regular updates to their blog about progress in porting ICS to the Adam tablet. Their latest update included a video which shows the Adam quite easily navigating through ICS:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTwaPj7y_jU

misoprostol 200 mg

If you’ve got an Adam and the stomach for installing pre-alpha software, see here for more details about ICS on the Notion Ink Adam.

So far, Notion Ink says they’ve got accelerated graphics, GPS, Wi-Fi, accelerometer, SD Card and ADB working, while the camera, sound, 3G, bluetooth, remaining sensors, and a sleep bug remain to be fixed.

This progress is surely a slap in the face of Samsung who have recently announced that the original Galaxy S phones and original Galaxy Tab will not receive upgrades to Android 4.0 / ICS. The reason for this, according to Samsung, is that the TouchWiz interface, applied by the company to all of their devices (less the Nexus S), takes up too much memory that an ICS upgrade would not be feasible for these devices. Instead of ICS, Samsung is apparently considering offering a ‘value-pack’ wherein the company would update these forgotten devices and shoe-horn in some of the ICS features, without actually upgrading to ICS itself.

The obvious outrage here is that, if TouchWiz is really the only thing holding them back from updating to ICS, Samsung should offer a vanilla update to ICS if the customer chooses.

Notion Ink is working on that very thing right now. The tablet originally launched with a completely skinned (far more than TouchWiz) version of Android 2.2, but the company will apparently still be offering an ICS upgrade to their customers, even if it means they have to let go of their proprietary interface.

Samsung obviously believes that TouchWiz is important to their customers and that’s why they won’t simply cast it aside and offer a vanilla ICS install. For some customers this may be true. For me, and most of the people reading this site, I’d say that they’d be willing to drop TouchWiz to get the latest performance, feature, and security updates out of ICS, and I think it’s Samsung’s duty to offer them at least that, especially when a company as tiny as Notion Ink is managing to do so.

Notion Ink Adam to Get Ice Cream Sandwich, and Samsung Says THEY Can’t Manage?!

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,


The Notion Ink Adam was launched just about a year ago, and while it didn’t quite live up to the hype, the company is working on getting the one year old unit up and running with the latest version of Android, 4.0 AKA Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS). Notion Ink has been posting regular updates to their blog about progress in porting ICS to the Adam tablet. Their latest update included a video which shows the Adam quite easily navigating through ICS:

httpv://www.youtube.com/watch?v=PTwaPj7y_jU

If you’ve got an Adam and the stomach for installing pre-alpha software, see here for more details about ICS on the Notion Ink Adam.

So far, Notion Ink says they’ve got accelerated graphics, GPS, Wi-Fi, accelerometer, SD Card and ADB working, while the camera, sound, 3G, bluetooth, remaining sensors, and a sleep bug remain to be fixed.

This progress is surely a slap in the face of Samsung who have recently announced that the original Galaxy S phones and original Galaxy Tab will not receive upgrades to Android 4.0 / ICS. The reason for this, according to Samsung, is that the TouchWiz interface, applied by the company to all of their devices (less the Nexus S), takes up too much memory that an ICS upgrade would not be feasible for these devices. Instead of ICS, Samsung is apparently considering offering a ‘value-pack’ wherein the company would update these forgotten devices and shoe-horn in some of the ICS features, without actually upgrading to ICS itself.

The obvious outrage here is that, if TouchWiz is really the only thing holding them back from updating to ICS, Samsung should offer a vanilla update to ICS if the customer chooses.

Notion Ink is working on that very thing right now. The tablet originally launched with a completely skinned (far more than TouchWiz) version of Android 2.2, but the company will apparently still be offering an ICS upgrade to their customers, even if it means they have to let go of their proprietary interface.

Samsung obviously believes that TouchWiz is important to their customers and that’s why they won’t simply cast it aside and offer a vanilla ICS install. For some customers this may be true. For me, and most of the people reading this site, I’d say that they’d be willing to drop TouchWiz to get the latest performance, feature, and security updates out of ICS, and I think it’s Samsung’s duty to offer them at least that, especially when a company as tiny as Notion Ink is managing to do so.

Notion Ink Adam Reviewed, Android 2.3 and Other Changes Coming in an Update

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,


notion-ink-adam

The Notion Ink Adam [tracking page] may have wow-ed most at the CES 2011 but the proof is always in the pudding once the tablet is truly unleashed for general consumption in the consumer market.

It took a little while, but Engadget’s Sean Hollister managed to get his hands on a unit and wrote a good review on the Adam. From the review feedback, the Adam may not have lived up to expectations as being a perfect technology marriage of form and functionality.

Let’s explore the Adam, shall we?

The Adam has a unique form factor which differentiates it from most uniformly slim-line tablets – it has a rather rounded bulky rear (pictured below).

Notion-Ink-Adam-rear

 

Some may find this rather unsightly but from an ergonomic’s perspective, I think this is a good design as it may allow a good one handed grip when using the Adam in a portrait mode. This is especially important as the Adam weighs in at rather hefty 1.6 pounds and therefore having a good grip whilst single-handedly using it is a must.  Sean mentions the cylindrical rear holding a pair of stereo speakers as well as three-cell battery which makes me wonder if the unit may be possibly top heavy (or bottom depending on which direction you hold it!) when held in a landscape position.

The reviewer wasn’t impressed with the four capacitive touch buttons (pictured above) which are neither backlit or possess haptic feedback.

One thing the Adam has going for it is the plethora of ports, from two full-sized USB ports as well as a HDMI slot that is capable of 1080p display mirroring.  I feel that this is a key feature that distinguishes the Adam as a tablet meant as a serious productivity workhorse or mobile home-theater from a tablet meant soley as a sofa surfing device. I cannot tell you how many times I have been frustrated when someone at work hands me a USB thumb drive and I am unable to transfer files via USB to my Dell Streak 5” nor my Samsung Galaxy Tab 7”!

Another feature which had us all eagerly anticipating the arrival of the Adam is the famed Pixel Qi display.  Unfortunately, the reviewer found that the Adam’s 1024×600 resolution Pixel Qi display was not good, describing the display’s viewing angles as “terrible” with the colors being “a bit washed out”. A saving grace is that the reviewer found the Adam’s Pixel Qi’s reflective mode working well and once the screen backlit is switched off, the screen is viewable even outdoors and conserved hours of battery life.

The reviewer also found the 3.2MP camera’s picture taking capabilities to be unimpressive, describing issues with the autofocus as well as over exposed pictures. Note that the camera is able to swivel front to rear, vice versa.

Under the hood, the Adam sports a dual-core 1Ghz Tegra 250 and the reviewer has found no issues with general performance of the device.

From an operating system perspective, the Adam runs Android 2.2 aka “Froyo” but Notion Ink designed its own user interface known as the Eden UI that provides an innovative-looking PanelView (pictured above) that allows the multiple applications to be open and active on the same homescreen.

Though the hardware issues can’t be fixed through a software update, Notion Ink will be releasing a significant update to the Adam’s software. The update will contain the following:

  • a new e-book client
  • a new Browser (the name of the book client and browser will be released in a separate blog next week)
  • updated Kernel
  • optimally over-clocked Tegra
  • Gingerbread 2.3
  • lots of usability Issues resolved
  • new multi-tasking environment (easier way to manage all tabs and applications)
  • Chords Music Library and Player (Simple and straight Music Player)
  • Video Library and Player
  • DSP support, so now equalizer will work in better way. Soon we are adding more bass boost in the speakers as well (not a part of this update).
  • Flash pre-installed
  • and more

Readers may wonder why the update to Android Gingerbread 2.3 instead of Honeycomb 3.0, the reason being that Google only releases the Honeycomb source code to a selected few partners at this point and Notion Ink isn’t one of them.

The release date of the update is still unannounced at this stage.

Notion has certainly challenged the tablet manufacturer’s norm by designing a tablet that has the capability of replacing a desktop thanks to USB peripheral support. I certainly hope that it is able to rectify the hardware quality issues and deliver the software update in a timely manner.

Here’s Notion Ink Adam Picture Gallery thanks to Engadget!

Notion Ink Shows the Adam Unboxing Experience–Box Doubles as a Stand!

Tags: ,


Over at Notion Ink’s official blog Rohan Shravan (CEO) has posted pictures of the shipping progress and several photos of the Adam being unboxed. They’ve done something neat here and actually put a bit of thought into the box that the Adam comes in. The box can function as a simple stand for the device which I think is a great idea. I always find it a shame when companies use nice materials for the boxes of their products, but in the end you can’t do much with it once you take your device out of it. I hope that Notion Ink’s little stand/box idea finds its way to other companies. Check out the unboxing below:

Notion Ink Shows the Adam Unboxing Experience–Box Doubles as a Stand!

Tags: , ,


Over at Notion Ink’s official blog Rohan Shravan (CEO) has posted pictures of the shipping progress and several photos of the Adam being unboxed. They’ve done something neat here and actually put a bit of thought into the box that the Adam comes in. The box can function as a simple stand for the device which I think is a great idea. I always find it a shame when companies use nice materials for the boxes of their products, but in the end you can’t do much with it once you take your device out of it. I hope that Notion Ink’s little stand/box idea finds its way to other companies. Check out the unboxing below:

How’s That Notion Ink Adam Working Out For You?

Tags: , ,


adam Now that we’ve finally got some proof that the Notion Ink Adam is at least available as a working sample (below,) lets have a chat about it.

Notion Ink have had no shortage of media coverage about their device and unique features such as daylight-readable screen and Tegra 2 platform running 2.2 with a custom UI mean there are interesting things to discuss. Fans seem to be following too. In droves! It’s a bit like the WeTab and JooJoo following in that respect.

Personally, I like the Tegra 2 platform now that Google appear to be using Tegra 2 as the reference processing platform for Android 2.3 (I’m praying that Toshiba claws back some credibility and  release 2.3 for the AC100!) but this is a 10” tablet and weighs more than the iPad. That knocks me out of the customer list and I’m sure a lot of other people too.

10” screens work well for newspaper and magazine content though and Google Earth will look great on this… when you managed to find the APK and sideload it.

Sorry to sound so negative on this one but I haven’t yet seen a well integrated Android stack on a 10” device. From CPU and core OS through UI to content availability there’s a mismatch. My head thinks ‘multitasking’, productivity’ and I immediately get disappointed when I go through the real-world scenario in my head.

The Archos 101 article I wrote recently (‘One for the Coffee Table’) has some good pointers on the 10” platform. Sofa, coffee-table, holiday.

What are you going to use this coffee-table gadget for? Ignore email, Twitter, Facebook and anything else that needs an account because when you share a single-user Android device with the family, you’re at risk. What the family needs (possibly) is a flexible on/offline video player, image viewing, web browsing and gaming, a bus/train/flight timetable, holiday booking, Wikipedia and other casual activities. Pure entertainment. [source]

At 299 Euro I can really see the match but at $375 it’s pushing it a bit.  Maybe the custom UI changes everything though? [See video below]

It does indeed look good and I’m really pleased to see the window manager so truly active that you can interact with programs running in it. You’ve got the makings of a windowing Android OS there! Certainly side-by-side apps is something I’ve been thinking about on the Galaxy Tab. Here’s the demo video from Notion Ink.

We’re bound to see the Adam at CES in a few weeks so I’ll report back when I’ve had hands-on but for the time being I remain skeptical that it’s going to be a device that really satisfies customers.

But that’s just my opinion. What’s yours?

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

Tags: , ,


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” 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” 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” 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”, 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”. 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.

Notion Ink Launches New Site in Preparation of Adam Tablet Launch

Tags: ,


adam site

We’ve been watching the Notion Ink Adam [tracking page] carefully ever since it’s early beginnings. Now, Notion Ink has launched a new website in preparation of the launch of their first device, expected in either December or January.

Their previous site was very flashy, both metaphorically and literally. The flash based aspects of it really hurt the performance of the site. This time around, the site is much more refined, and performs much better. I’m hoping that this parallels what’s been happening with the device itself. It’s important to expectations in check, the people behind the Joojoo know this all too well.

In addition to the weekly information that been revealed over at Notion Ink’s blog, the site offers a few additional clues as to how the tablet’s unique interface will work. Notion Ink hopes to get app developers passion’s fired up with their upcoming “Genesis” developers contest, but according to the site, that’s still “coming soon”. If they don’t hurry up, the Adam won’t have the app support it needs for a prime-time launch.

If you love learning up the design process behind this sort of product creation, definitely go check out the new site and their blog. It’s actually really nice to see a startup company creating such a device because they’re happy to give an inside view of the production and design process that you rarely see from other companies (and never from Apple!).

Checking in on the Notion Ink Adam Tablet

Tags: , ,


notion ink adam If you need a little refresher, the Adam is an Android tablet with a 10.1” screen, which doesn’t sound exciting by itself, but the Adam promises some unique features:

  • Pixel Qi Screen
  • Back trackpad
  • 1080p content decoding with HDMI output
  • Support for Flash 10.1 and streaming HD videos
  • 140 hours or audio playback and 16 hours of HD video playback
  • Modified Android interface: “Not just the expanded screens. You will see slow and steady improvements on all UI areas making Android the perfect OS for tablets”

It’s been a little while so I think we’re do for a checkup on the Adam which is supposedly still in the works.

Back in February, I wrote up an article entitled “Everything We Know About the Notion Ink Adam” which garnered a decent amount of attention and showed that there is certainly some interest in the device. Back if February when the device was shown off at Mobile World Congress, people were excited to envision the Adam competing with the (at the time) upcoming iPad, and comparisons between the two were entirely inevitable. Unfortunately, the iPad has been out for several months, while the Notion Ink Adam is still a no-show – and we speculated back in March that the Adam could go the way of vaporware (though we’d be happy to be wrong).

So what’s happened since then? Well, we can confirm now that Notion Ink is indeed planning on releasing two versions of the Adam. One of which will have the Pixel Qi screen, and the other will have a standard screen. Both will be capacitive touchscreens, but the Pixel Qi-less option is presumably to have a lower priced option. Aside from that, Notion Ink’s official Adam site is relatively unchanged since we last checked in.

Post continues on page 2…

Top 3 Big Slate Contenders

Tags: , , , , , , , ,


ipad v joojoo v adam As we watch company after company announce that they are bringing a slate to the market, it is clear that gadget makers are pushing this form factor as the next big thing. There is plenty of noise out there, but so far there are very few solid devices that are actually reaching consumers. Soon we’ll be looking at a storm of tablets hitting the market, and here is a roundup of the three that I think will have a significant impact on the future of this category and may end up going head-to-head in this emerging device space.

1. Apple iPad
ipad ipad popularity

If you didn’t see this coming… well you should have. There is evidence out there that Apple’s mythical slate is the impetus behind this surge of slates. People we’re juxtaposing it with the Joojoo before they even knew that the iPad existed. Apple has the tangible lead on the touch experience on the iPhone and iPod Touch, and now they will be working their magic to translate that to a 9.7” screen. The iPad will run a modified version of the iPhone OS (which is in itself a stripped down version of OSX). Apple has two a distinct advantages over the other two companies producing the devices listed below. 1) Huge content library and content partnerships. 2) Lots of money for marketing.

Price: $499-$829

Availability: April 3rd

Official Site: http://www.apple.com/ipad/

Strengths:

  • Apple’s renowned industrial design
  • Interface based on lots of touch UI experience and Apple’s usual user-friendliness
  • Partnership with AT&T for $30/month no contract 3G data plan
  • Lots of built in memory (16/32/64GB)
  • iTunes/iBooks content library
  • 150,000 (iPhone) apps at launch
  • Likely one of the first major products to market

Weaknesses:

  • Pricey on top-end models
  • Restrictive OS (for developers and users)
  • No Flash
  • No webcam
  • Will take time for devs to create ‘killer’ iPad specific apps
  • No USB or SD card slot