Tuesday, February 22, 2011
These shots are of my co-worker's Notion Ink Adam Android tablet. He just got it over the weekend and I got a chance to play with it a bit. My first impression was that the tablet is not nearly as big as I expected from the pictures I've seen online. That's a good thing.
Unfortunately, the bezel is bigger than I expected, meaning there is a fairly thick black border around the whole thing, making the screen look smaller.
The version of the tablet my friend got was the one with the Pixel Qi display. Switching between plain LCD and Pixel Qi was simple...just hold down one of the capacitive buttons and it switches to a non-backlit greyscale e-ink type display. Not sure if it's true e-ink or something similar, but it is supposed to work well in direct sunlight. From what I could see indoors, it was ok. The contrast was definitely not as good as a Kindle, however.
Also, the screen was not as sensitive as I expected and would require a very firm press of my finger for it to respond. Now, this might be due to the screen protector it shipped with, which my buddy felt compelled to install, against my wishes :-)
Interestingly, and perhaps telling, is the fact that my friend almost immediately installed ADW Launcher to replace the Notion Ink home launcher. Why did he do this? Well, honestly, the biggest problem with the Adam, in my opinion, is the software. First, it comes with Android 2.1 (that's Eclair...not even Froyo). Not the latest, but that would be ok if it had been left stock. Notion Ink, however, added their own custom UI (called "Eden") which, frankly, is crap.
I'm a User Experience Designer, and in my professional opinion, the Eden UI is nearly the opposite of intuitive. I can see what they were trying to do, but it fails on so many levels that I suspect anyone who gets an Adam will want to root theirs and install a custom ROM as soon as possible. I'm not sure if there are any custom ROMs out yet that will work on the Adam, but seeing as it's already been rooted, it's just a matter of time.
The Adam will become infinitely more useful once Honeycomb becomes available. Since it's currently running Android 2.1, it must not be taking full advantage of the dual core chip it comes with. Honeycomb should wake this puppy up.
Interesting hardware, though not as durable feeling as it could be...very "plasticky". Crap software...install a new ROM as soon as possible. Will make a good dev tablet to play with.
By Ed Caggiani at 11:06 PM