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Handhelds Displays Input Devices Portables

Hands On With Notion Ink's Pixel-Qi Equipped Adam Tablet 109

Posted by timothy
from the feel-free-to-send-one-this-way dept.
Jax7 writes with this snippet from Technoholik, which dispatched a team with a video camera to get some early footage of the upcoming Android Tablet from Notion Ink, with Android and a Pixel-Qi transflective screen. Also interesting is the back-mounted touchpad. "We flew down to Hyderabad and caught up with the Notion Ink team just before they left for Barcelona to showcase the Android-based tablet tomorrow at the Mobile World Congress. Note that this product was 'one engineering day short' but we aren't complaining since we literally badgered them into giving us this sneak peak. The top panel over the screen was still a bit loose, so they took it off before booting the system."
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Hands On With Notion Ink's Pixel-Qi Equipped Adam Tablet

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  • Nice, but Android? (Score:3, Interesting)

    by BadAnalogyGuy (945258) <BadAnalogyGuy@gmail.com> on Monday February 15, 2010 @04:56AM (#31142282)

    I like Java as much as the next guy, but why would you want to force all your developers into that language?

    Since it's clearly able to run Linux, just provide a standard Ubuntu installation. That'd be much better.

  • Like the LCD (Score:5, Interesting)

    by SuperKendall (25149) on Monday February 15, 2010 @05:10AM (#31142340)

    The LCD does look pretty impressive, it seems like it would totally address all of the concerns of those who claim you can't read books on an LCD. They forget that no LCD is emissive, they are all reflective at heart... it's just a matter of what the light source is.

    I think the form factor seems decent, I like the faux notebook look and I think the bulge up top is to let you get to the trackpad easily when the device is on your lap - though the trackpad on the back seems a little wierd when you already have a touch-screen, it will be interesting to play with that and see how it works in practice.

    The only thing that I saw as a potential downside is the tracking looked kind of slow - when he scribbled rapidly across the screen it lost almost all the input, it was only when they drew much slower that it worked and even then there was a little lag. But hey, they are still working on the software. I wonder what the SDK is like for this device, since it's Android what have they added I wonder?

  • Re:Like the LCD (Score:3, Interesting)

    by xlsior (524145) on Monday February 15, 2010 @05:20AM (#31142368) Homepage
    though the trackpad on the back seems a little wierd when you already have a touch-screen

    Except the touchscreen is difficult to use while you're walking around -- a 10" panel is kind of unwieldy to balance in one hand, especially while applying pressure to the touchscreen in varying locations. Overall this looks like a pretty ingenious setup, although I do wonder if the touchscreen on the back is going to be affected by other things than fingers pressing it.

    I'm curious how the monochrome version compares to actual eInk displays.
  • Sigh, (Score:1, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2010 @05:29AM (#31142402)

    Apple in a way hit spot on, there is no reason to pack the tablet full of features when the form factor hinders utilization of those features, what can you seriously do with a tablet?..
    I know people argued the same about netbooks, mainly because of the smaller displays, but fact remains it's a 'hold while using' concept with input requiring at least one free hand, preferably two. I don't have 4 hands and holding it with one will be quite a strain (tried reading a book while lying on your back).
    Applications; writing/coding (not really), drawing (not really), reading/browsing (yes), movies (maybe if you don't mind holding it and arching forward, very inconvenient if you eat while watching), gaming (not really) unless you are really into arcade games.
    If everything was as easy as it was in Stargate Atlantis for McKay to control everything with only a few clicks, sure, unfortunately, not there yet.

    Not saying I wouldn't see the benefits of a tablet in certain situations, but then I'd really prefer an iPad which is 'slimmer'!

  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 15, 2010 @05:50AM (#31142496)
    It's not locked down in any way so you will be able to install standard Ubuntu on it once it supports the Tegra platform.
  • by Trepidity (597) <delirium-slashdotNO@SPAMhackish.org> on Monday February 15, 2010 @06:22AM (#31142612)

    Unfortunately, I think this particular rearguard action was lost [google.com] a century ago.

  • by AuMatar (183847) on Monday February 15, 2010 @06:26AM (#31142636)

    Possible, but definitely not recommended- the APIs for anything OS specific except file access are non-existant. You end up with a Java GUI calling C/C++ via JNI, which probably has to call back into Java via JNI again. There may be multiple levels of language switching there, all of which are expensive. And that leaves you an environment pretty difficult to debug.

    In reality the NDK is only really suited for creating a graphical UI to a command line C or C++ program. Anything else and you'll feel less pain rewriting. Which is a shame, since its just a linux box in the end. Google needs to release some real C APIs. At a minimum give us draw to screen APIs and the like, they don't need to copy the whole activity model to C. In fact I'd prefer if they didn't, I don't see a lot of value in it.

  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Monday February 15, 2010 @07:23AM (#31142924) Journal
    I don't know exactly why loads of random vendors who would never have touched linux are putting out android devices rather than stock linux devices, or maemo devices, or moblin devices; but I'd say that Google's motives for using more-or-less-java are fairly clear:

    First, of course, they bought Android when it was a startup, founded primarily by ex-Danger guys. They were using java for Android because they had used it for Sidekick, where they had presumably been using it to give themselves some degree of architecture independence.

    Second, if Google is planning in the long term for Android, they won't necessarily know what architectures it will be running on. ARM is obvious today; but, who knows, intel might get their mobile act together, or Android might become the darling of set top boxes, or whatever. If the vast majority of 3rd party applications are running in Dalvik, rather than natively, there is some hope that the market won't be hopelessly fragmented by devices of different architecture.
  • Re:Not really (Score:4, Interesting)

    by renoX (11677) on Monday February 15, 2010 @08:20AM (#31143180)

    >[cut] most memory problems you have are the same ones between Java and Objective-C - over-retention. That's not something GC fixes for you.

    A GC *could* help: there has been some research with GC which cooperates with the kernel's virtual memory manager, the main advantage is that memory referenced but unused can be swapped instead of being kept in memory by the garbage collector, see http://lambda-the-ultimate.org/node/2391 [lambda-the-ultimate.org]

    Unfortunately this require modification of the kernel's virtual memory manager, so AFAIK the research has never been used :-(

  • by PFI_Optix (936301) on Monday February 15, 2010 @08:29AM (#31143240) Journal

    I work in education IT. An application I'm keen to see in a tablet is the ability to control a desktop computer via a wireless tablet such as this device or the iPad. Especially if the software involved allowed the instructor to enter a mode where they can draw/write on the screen that the students see, allowing them to visually communicate information about applications or web sites they are using.

    Why not just use the tablet via some wireless video technology directly to the projector? Because it would be hard for the teacher to run Photoshop on a low-power tablet. But controlling it via the same tablet is quite possible.

    There's a market for a product like this. In the small school district I work in, we're seeing substantial spending being directed at presentation technologies, and none of them really do what teachers would like. Having an on-screen remote control like a tablet would be perfect for most of our teachers who use projectors...I'd estimate that's 80-100 teachers in this one small district. Multiply that by the thousands of districts in Texas, half of them larger than us, and this state alone could buy enough units to justify the product. And all you'd really need is a 802.11x tablet that could run VNC with a little extra software to provide the draw-on-screen capabilities.

  • by naz404 (1282810) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:38AM (#31144506) Homepage
    Interesting thing I see about rear-touchpad is that your finger won't obscure the display. That's one problem when building apps for touchscreen such as games, because your big clunky fingers will get in the way of seeing stuff like small targets onscreen.
  • Re:Sigh, (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Arthur Grumbine (1086397) on Monday February 15, 2010 @10:41AM (#31144556) Journal
    According to Notion Ink, there will be different versions (probably based on 3G capabilities, internal storage like the iPad) ranging from $327 to $800 [gizmodo.com]. I don't really know how they could be making a profit @ $327 with everything they crammed in there, but I'm pretty damn hopeful.

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