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Seven Differentiators of Notion Ink’s Adam Tablet

The first real iPad Challenger

The first real iPad Challenger

In mid February, Notion Ink released completed specs on their Adam tablet (here).  It did not receive the attention that Steve Jobs did with the Apple iPad, but in my estimation it is the far superior device.   Apple has the ecosystem to back their products with a large application catalog.  Apple also has the iTunes content delivery system.  This is going to be where Android and Google most need to compete, in the application and content delivery ecosphere.  However, Android’s mall is heavily supported by Google themselves, and the Android App Market is becoming a robust competitor.

Apple has gone on record frequently and fervently about their decision to not support Adobe’s Flash.  As Flash is the delivery system for a lot of the video on the web, as well for games and other applications, I believe that it is extremely important to integrate Flash capabilities.  Adobe claims that they will have a Flash capability enabled for Android in the near future.  This is key, but is not the be-all and end-all.  At some point I believe Apple with have to get on board with Flash, but only time will tell.

Below I have listed the 7 differentiators that I believe are reasons to purchase an Adam instead of the iPad.  These differentiators will not be the same for everybody, but these are mine.

1) Android – As someone who does most of their computing with the aid of Google, Android is the next logical step for me.  It can easily integrate my two Google e-mail accounts, my use of Google Apps, my calendars, and Google Chats.  Having played with Android on a few devices, my primary concern was how slow it seemed, and I know I wasn’t the only one.  The 1 GHz processor in the Nexus One provides a zippy experience, and I believe the Dual Core Cortex A-9 possessed by the Adam will be powerful enough to enable a quick and seamless Android experience.

2) NVIDIA Tegra 2 GPU – NVIDIA’s Tegra is a mobile GPU solution.  I have blogged about it in the past – but to summarize, it is an extremely capable and efficient graphics processing unit.  The Tegra has found a place in the Zune HD and other portable media players, and the Tegra 2 is supposed to be better and even more power-friendly.  The Tegra 2 GPU will allow users to output at 1080p, watch HD movies (even Flash HD), and not lose capabilities.  On the other hand, the iPad is only capable of outputting 720p.

3) 2 USB OTG Ports – USB On the Go (OTG) ports allow you to plug in and power USB flash drives and even portable hard drives.  The ability to instantly increase storage, or access files on a disk at any moment is a great capability.  In addition, the USB ports will allow users to easily plug in keyboards, mice, and even devices such as speakers.  The Adam is designed to allow interoperability, and will provide a solid computing option when docked.

4) HDMI Out Port – High Definition Multimedia Interface (HDMI) is a one cable solution to video and audio interaction.  HDMI 1.3b has a bandwidth limit of 10+ Gbps, enabling a large amount of information transfer.  Crisp 1080p video and clear Dolby High-Def sound are delivered without any hiccups.  HDMI ports are found in HD TVs, Cable Set-top boxes, Satellite receivers, Audio/Video Receivers, and even computer monitors.  Many laptops and desktop computers are fitted with HDMI ports.  HDMI is the A/V cable of the future (for as long as we use them!).  Notion Ink’s inclusion of the HDMI cable in the Adam displays that that are in touch with today’s technology.

A tablet with a camera, what a novel idea.

5) Additional Storage via MicroSD card - The MicroSD card slot allows for the addition of up to 32GB of storage.  This storage could be used for HD video, pictures, or even PowerPoint presentations.  Adding storage capability at ones desire enables a more powerful and capable device.  32GB is a large amount of storage for music or e-books, yet for HD video it is still not a lot.  Users will have to rely on having a large amount of their HD videos on Network drives and just plug in at home.

6) 1024 x 600 Pixel Qi Display – The Pixel Qi displays are both transflective and reflective LCD screens.  This means that you turn on and off the backlight, while the device is in operation.  With the backlight off, the Adam will be much like an e-ink reader, except with faster response times.  Many people dislike reading backlit screens, and this will be a great selling point.  That said, the display won’t be as vibrant as the iPad’s IPS LCD screen.  The IPS technology allows for greater viewing angles and better color display at a high cost, but without the ability to turn off the backlight.  The Adam’s display is also matte instead of glossy, enabling users to better view outside and in bright light.  The Pixel Qi screen has great benefits.  Most notably, with backlight off, it boasts a battery life of 160 hours.  Lastly, the screen follows the 16:9 format, providing a great widescreen display for video viewing.

7) Rotating Camera – Adam comes equipped with a rotating 3.2 MP camera.  This camera enables web chats and just taking pictures.  The lack of a camera is one of the most oft lamented parts of the iPad, and Notion Ink made sure not to make the same mistake.

Despite these improvements over the technical specs of the iPad, it would be rash to dub it an “iPad Killer” or crown the Adam out of hand.  Notion Ink must fight the marketing machine and momentum Apple has in the personal media landscape.  Since 2001, Apple has had a controlling share of this market, and it will be tough for anyone to dislodge them.  In the tablet wars, everyone will be picking camps, and right now I am firmly in Notion Ink’s.

Related posts:

  1. A Reaction to the iPad
  2. The iPad is the Ultimate Thin Client
  3. My Thoughts on the Apple Tablet

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More Stories By Bob Gourley

Bob Gourley writes on enterprise IT. He is a founder and partner at Cognitio Corp and publsher of CTOvision.com