Tag Archive | "reviewed"

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!

Kyocera Echo Dual-Screen Android Phone Reviewed

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echoLaptop Mag has posted an (obviously) thorough review of one of the most interesting Android phones released in recent history, the Kyocera Echo. Laptop Mag also has a great gallery for the device.

The Echo, which was announced back in February, is the first dual-screen Android phone, featuring two 800×480 screens which can be used simultaneously with one application for a combined 960×800 space, or used for two applications at the same time. The Echo is available exclusively from Sprint for $199 on a new contract.

The reviewer, Avram Piltch, seems to generally enjoy the Kyocera Echo, but notes that the device “won’t win any beauty contests,” and I’d have to agree, but that’s not a show-stopping issue for many.

Only a small number of applications currently support the ability to use two screens with two separate applications, but what’s there seems to work quite well, including a browser that has an option to open webpages on the other screen (sounds handy).

Piltch lists the lack of 4G as a downside to the device as well short battery life (though a second battery is included).

I haven’t had my hands on the Kyocera Echo, but my prediction is that the biggest challenge to this being a successful device is attracting development that will support the unique phone down the road. It’s great that any application can span both screens, but I feel like real improvements in usefulness will come most from applications that are designed specifically to be used with two screens. It’s unlikely that this sort of development will reach critical mass with only one product on the market that sports such screens, but the Echo stands a good chance of at least attracting enthusiasts and perhaps fostering a niche community. I must commend Kyocera for working on a novel approach that doesn’t feel like every other decidedly cookie-cutter 1GHz phone from 2010/2011.

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