Tag Archive | "notion ink"

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

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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

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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?!

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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

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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!

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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:

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