Notion Ink’s Adam Tablet with Pixel Qi Display

As promised, a write-up about Notion Ink’s Adam. Yes, it’s yet another tablet, and yes, there’s only so many ways you can build a tablet, but this one is special: it has a much-vaunted Pixel Qi display, a type of display that is supposed to herald the coming of the Unicorn of Plenty. All hype aside, this is a pretty cool piece of technology.

So, let’s get the specifications out of the way first. We’re looking at a tablet using NVIDIA’s Tegra 2, so that means a dual core ARM Cortex A9 which can deliver 1080p video, which obviously makes the most sense when the device is hooked up to an HDTV via its HDMI port. It has a 3.2 megapixel swivel video camera, the usual wireless stuff, accelerometer, aGPS, ambient light sensor, USB 2.0 ports, MicroSD slot, audio jacks, and so on.

The Adam (I’m playing Bioshock 2 at the moment, so the name sounds a bit… Off) has two very distinct features. The first of these two distinct features is a trackpad located on the back of the tablet. So, when you’re holding the devices, you can use the trackpad to use the mouse pointer if you’re using an operating system that wasn’t designed with touch in mind. A pretty obvious solution, but whether or not it works in real life remains to be seen.

The second distinct feature is the Adam’s display. You can opt to have your Adam equipped with a 10.1″ 1024×600 display by Pixel Qi, which, simply put, combines the best of e-ink with the best of regular LCD. In other words, you can have a full colour, normal LCD, or a black and white e-ink-like display at the flick of a switch.

Everybody’s still a little sketchy on battery life, and claims go from spectacular to downright bizarre, so I wouldn’t dwell on any battery life claims too much until the device reaches the hands of testers (Notion Ink is aiming for a Q3 2010 release). So far, it’s only been demonstrated – there are no actual hands-on reviews that I know of.

Software-wise, it can run whatever runs on ARM, so that’d be Android, Ubuntu, or whatever you can think of.

It’s an interesting piece of kit, but I’d be careful about going all starry-eyed over this one. It’s still a long way off, and coming from such an unknown and small company, you always have to be careful. We’ll have to wait and see.


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