Why the Notion Ink Adam, and not the Apple iPad, is the tablet to watch
There are a lot of tablet skeptics out there. Many don’t see room for a tablet form factor in a computing world full of clamshells, sliders and desktops. We don’t agree. In fact, we see a huge potential for tablets in the future — it just takes the right company to make them.
Many thought that company would be Apple, but when the iPad was finally announced, after years of speculation and rumor, it had been built up so much in our heads that it couldn’t possibly live up to its imaginary image. We firmly believe that the iPad will be a success, but think Apple did a very lazy job making what could have been the signature tablet product.
If you look at the computing world you’ll see a cycle of divergence and convergence. For decades the computing world revolved around desktop PCs. Then came the divergence of laptops to fulfill a portable need. Soon further divergence ushered in personal digital assistants (PDAs) to facilitate a handheld need for tech. This eventually led to more portable gadgets and niche products; including netbooks, MIDs, PMPs and eReaders. Now we find ourselves in the midst of a convergent cycle. Starting with the smartphone (the joining of cell phones and PDAs), these devices are converging into products that do multiple tasks. That happens to be why we’re so keen on the tablet. We see it as the ultimate convergent device — something capable of being your desktop, your mobile internet device, your eReader, your personal media player, your communication tool, your GPS, your one computing device. So far, that idea is a fantasy. As much as a “mythical unicorn” as the Apple tablet was this time last year. But it is coming and the first company that realizes this device wins.
Enter the Notion Ink Adam. This is the first tablet device that we’ve seen that could possibly begin to unlock the tablet’s true potential. It’s a well-planned device — something that has been thought out to be an ultimate (but not the ultimate) convergent device. Its NVIDIA Tegra 2 processor guarantees that it is fast enough to satisfy the user and can render 1080p HD video. It also helps redefine power consumption to make the device last much longer on a charge (a must for a portable tablet).
The Adam will also be the first device to feature the Pixel Qi 3qi display — one of the few second generation color screen technologies that we see as the future for tablet displays. The beauty of the Pixel Qi screen is that it’s two screens in one. The first is an emmitive (and common) LCD screen. The second is a reflective color ePaper-like screen that uses much less power. What this does is finally converges the eReader with the tablet PC. Aside from price, there will now be no added benefit to buying a traditional E-Ink screened eReader over a tablet PC. It will have all of the advantages (color, reflective, large screen, low energy consumption) without any of the detriments (the E-Ink flash, low frame rate, monochrome, dedicated device). Sure, there will still be people who see minute differences in traditional eReaders (like size and weight) that will make them preferable to a tablet, but for someone looking to buy one product (barring price) the tablet will offer more ability and use.
A lot has been made about tablet operating systems lately and for good reason. The ideal tablet OS hasn’t been made yet. Many people have problems with Android, but it is an OS on the right track. As an application-based system, it allows for developers to quickly identify needs and develop applications to fill those needs. It’s an evolving OS thanks to its open source nature.
The Notion Ink Adam has the promise to deliver on a lot of the iPad’s missed potential. Barring any huge screwups by Notion Ink (which would include performance and pricing), the Adam will be an excellent eBook reader, a speedy internet and media playing device and a versatile and capable computer. In short, it’s the new tablet to watch — until it dies or we find something better.