2010 has seen a flood of tablets, all attempting to compete with the enormous success of Apple’s iPad. Most of these tablets have failed to even make it to market, and the few tablets that have made it to the production line have been horrible failures. A handful of tablets, however, show potential in their hardware capabilities and their promise of powerful software. Notion Ink’s Adam tablet is perhaps the best of these promising tablets, ahead of HP’s Slate and Innoversal’s Lattice. Denounced by many as vaporware, destined to be abandoned, the Adam has emerged as a possible iPad-killer with superior hardware, open software, and an extremely competitive price.
The best feature, and the reason the Adam may be the most successful tablet besides the iPad, is the 10.1 inch touchscreen. Not only is the screen capable of multi-touch, similar to the iPad, it is also dual-capacity. In its primary mode, it is a normal LCD screen, similar to any computer screen. Its second, black-and-white mode is activated with a switch on the side. Known as a Pixel Qi screen, the black-and-white image is good for reading in the sunlight where LCD screens get washed out and are impossible to read. Also, LCD screens can tire the eyes after long periods of reading. This secondary mode is very easy on the eyes and resembles written paper, making the Adam tablet excellent as an e-book reader. Not only is the secondary mode easy on the eyes, it also uses very little power, a feature which Notion Ink says will give the Adam a battery life upwards of 100 hours when in use.
Even if the Adam tablet didn’t have the Pixel Qi screen, its technical specifications would still be impressive. It has three USB ports and one HDMI port to put your images and videos onto a monitor. The Adam comes with either 16 or 32 gigabytes of memory, but it also has an SD card slot to easily expand the limited memory of the tablet. Its other features include stereo speakers, microphone, 180-degree 3 megapixel swivel camera, and a low-power Tegra 2 chip. According to the article “Kno Tablet Aims to Replace Textbooks”, Adam competitor Kno also runs on a low-power Nvidia Tegra 2 graphics chip, helping the battery life, and comes with 16 gigabytes of built-in storage (Digital Book Readers).
While the hardware of the Adam tablet is impressive, perhaps more important is the software. Notion Ink hasn’t said much about the software that will be used. The Adam’s hardware is open, meaning that a user will be able to use a variety of operating systems on the tablet. The tablet will likely ship using the Android 2.2 FroYo operating system with the capability to upgrade to future Android releases. If Android isn’t the user’s cup of tea, the Adam can be manually installed with a portable Linux OS or with Google’s Chrome OS, expected to be released in the fall of 2010. By way of applications, Notion Ink will be hosting an application developer challenge to create Adam-specific software in the weeks leading up to the Adam’s launch.
On paper, the Adam tablet is the most astounding, revolutionary piece of technology to hit the market. With its hardware and dual-function screen, the Adam has potential to compete with the iPad, which has already sold more than three million units. Even better, pricing for the Adam starts at $ 300 while the iPad starts at $ 500. Unfortunately, this potential, for the moment at least, is completely abstract. Notion Ink, the India-based start-up responsible for the Adam, has not revealed the release date for the tablet, though they have hinted that the release would begin in India and expand into other countries with time. Other statements by the company suggest that a Thanksgiving release date is probable for at least some countries. Even if the Adam is released by November, Apple may have sold upwards of four million iPads by that point, reducing the potential for any new tablet to expand and be successful. The next twelve months will tell whether Notion Ink’s Adam becomes a valid, though delayed, competitor with the iPad, or if it will fade due to its late release date and lack of ability to capture the public’s attention.