Notion Ink

Week-End Special Part – X

Posted in Uncategorized by Rohan Shravan on November 27, 2010

Hello Everyone,

Here we are with our 10th week-end special (little late though)!

It’s really interesting to go back and see,  how we have come together on every Saturday with some expectation from this blog. It’s been a live documentation of the Adam Coming to life!

Let’s start with a few updates:

  • An additional section on the website is up (I was waiting for this section to go live before clicking on the publish button for this blog)! We have been listening to you and making the required changes. Hope you like the new one too! Here is the link : www.notionink.com/features.php
  • Calendar has Entered Beta phase, now it supports contacts management, quick “add-event” (only 6 taps for extremely detailed entries)
  • Fonts have improved, and there is no  color banding (we solved this issue some 4 weeks ago, but were waiting for some time to give an update on this, some more details given below).
  • On FCC, you guys are following much better than us! One heads-up. Earlier we wrote down all the tests which FCC and CE will do and performed them in-house in our labs. Adam passed all the tests, so expecting glitch-free certification.
  • There is a LONG LIST of items and tasks one needs to do to get the online payment gateways. We just cleared all, so before time it will be tried & tested and will be available as the default payment option for everyone.
  • Panel Engine is in beta since long, multiple instances of application was the last we were testing.
  • Now Programmers can do more with CPU Hot Plug feature enabled by default!
  • LiveShare by cooliris on Adam! (some more details given below)
  • More Document Format Supports (See Below)

I hope many of you have seen “The Prestige”. There is a scene in it there where Christian Bale shows his wife a “bullet catch” magic. It looks incredibly intriguing till the point he explains how it can be done, and from there even the magic looks trivial. We don’t do these many things in a week, it takes months and sometimes quarters to finish applications and develop mature relationships. I can’t explain all everything in one week as well, so will keep this tradition of sharing something every week.

The Calendar

Calendar Application in Quick Add mode

While designing for touch screen devices we need to understand that irrespective of how well we design the keyboard (more on this next week, we have 4 variants!) people won’t like typing a lot. And if in this case you need to enter a Calendar Entry, the fields you’d need to fill up, will be just too many!

We integrated your contact list with the Calendar and entered a list of all possible events (with grammar! :) ), all scrollable, and now in 6 taps you can save an entry like “Meeting with Nikolas Tesla in Missouri on 10th July 1856 : High Priority”. Things are changing because of “touch environments” as we can see in applications, but to see how you can interact with wireless technology is yet to come,  and you will have to stretch your imagination a lot!

The Fonts

I haven’t done any formal courses in typography, but I really love fonts and designs which can be created using fonts (like the word cloud). My first presentation to our investor was made on “Prezi” (we are trying hard to get them on Adam, but I think it will take a little more time). Android was designed for phones which in general have higher DPIs and expectation of spending long hours of reading is less. If you take any Android tablet (who has not done R&D on font rendering and most out there fall in the same) you will see that on bigger screen the rendering is really embarrassing. The font hinting is not perfect, and sub-pixel rendering kills whatever sharpness is there in the portrait mode (where the pixel orientation changes physically). Anti-Aliasing do work, but text will not be as crisp. We have spent night-outs fixing and now we finally have. Its beautiful now and better than the rest out there (Android Tablets) but there is still some improvements which have to be done. (I am little out of time today, but will post the images next time).

The FCC

You all have been following up with FCC a lot better than us here! :) I would let you guys tell us that we have got the same! To ensure that we do get it in time and without any glitch we designed an internal test plan replicating all the tests which FCC labs can perform and ensured that Adam will pass all (same for CE).

The Payment Gateway

Ideally this should have been made available to all the EAPs as well. But the devices are not yet certified and can’t be “sold” as such. That is why the agreement sent to them said ‘its been licensed till we get certification or launch’ and after that they own it. Some laws prevent direct payment gateway solutions for licensed products and that’s the reason of direct wire transfer. Having said that, it’s really sad that the selected ones are not following the Confidentiality Agreement they have signed. Four EAP applicants have already been dis-qualified on the grounds of information disclosures. My investors are really angry at me, and now suspect that before the release in the market, all the images and reviews will be out. I am hoping against it, lets see.

The Panel Engine

Few applications will require multiple instances (have you heard of this on other non-PC devices?) for better functionality, like File Browser for faster file transfer, web browsers in incognito modes, etc. Hence, Panel Engine will support multiple instances.

CPU Hot Plug

This topic will interest geeks more, so I won’t write much about it, but would like to share the fact that its supported and you can do some cool power optimizations. On low battery (and one more area where we are awaiting patent) we are already using it.

Liveshare by cooliris

Liveshare from cooliris

Real-time collaboration is missing in events, there are multiple applications for various tasks and sponsorship exposure is limited. That’s what Liveshare might change for you. And with the special camera design on Adam, you can definitely do a lot more! You can find more here!

The Format Support

I read a lot of comments on “what all file formats and languages will be supported?”. The Office suite supports 35 Languages, all major formats (including docx, pptx, pdf, etc) and zip files as well. Its pretty handy when it comes to business. We might do some custom templates for you, so it becomes much easier for you to create production quality documents, faster.

When Programmers are not programming they design! :)

The Canvas

You see here the screen shot of the opening page of our photo editing + paint application. The launch screen shows the last art you created. There is a reason why we merged photo-editing and paint. We saw a lot of repeating components and felt the need. Did we tell you it supports layers as well? (We are also working on different brushes for you, specially the ones you see in HTML 5 Canvas examples)

Layers was little difficult for us to implement because of native Android’s memory management (it’s not build for Photoshop kind of applications). We have done little optimization on the way we are handling layers here and you can really do wonders!

Something about Notion Ink and our vision: We believe we are at the transition point where machines will do a lot more for us than we expect them to. Media, office suits, video telephony looks completely trivial as soon as our mind starts imagining the future. We can see developments all around and many firms are striving to integrate the latest, but that’s not what Notion Ink is all about. We wanted Apple to introduce their 3D touch technology in the iPad 1, which would have forced us to work even harder on our technology (both are wonderful yet works quite differently), but everything takes time to reach maturity and production quality. I spend hours looking at the recent patents and if you also do so, you will be as excited as I am, by just adding little extrapolations and imagination.

Notion Ink is about bringing that ‘future’ faster towards us (but not rushing by releasing sub-standard products, we are here to stay for centuries). Its time we start making intelligent machines and companions which can help us do more, learn more, than just creating copies of hot selling products (I wish I could exactly share here what I meant, but..). That is why Adam is not a tablet, it’s a seed for us, the first one which will help us lay the grounds for what is yet to come. I have designed the complete blueprint of an application called “Bliss”. You will find its components and traces on Adam and I think it will help us change our expectations & experiences from the machines we interact with.

(I apologize for being little mystic in this post, but I want to point in the future, back to this post and tell you that I shared a secret and  hint with all of you, and it all happened in front of your eyes! :) )

With Warm Regards

Rohan Shravan

New Site is Up!

Posted in Uncategorized by Rohan Shravan on November 23, 2010

Hi,

Just posting so it becomes easier for everyone to follow comments!

(Will be collecting the changes recommended in the comments and change it in the morning!)

Warm Regards

Rohan Shravan

Week-End Special IX

Posted in Uncategorized by Rohan Shravan on November 20, 2010

Dear All,

Again a very short week! As promised, here is a small teaser video we were talking about earlier. Lets take a look:

(At the end of this video you will see notionink.in, but its not up (shows the older version till now). Will be releasing the new one in 48 hours)

Its made in-house by 2 of our very special UI Gang Members – Gagan(s), and they have done a good job in the final video as well which will be released soon.

Small update:

* Genesis is up and Running!
* GPS Navigation Software entered beta and it speaks 43 languages!
* Look at the self exploratory image on left
* Email client  (Mail’d) (we will talk more about it in a while) enters beta
* Paint + Photo Editor enters beta (along with 5 more softwares

  • Where is the logo? One of our friends sent us, a Company registration page where he found similar logo. It is impossible that the winner had seen it before, but the similarity couldn’t be denied and we had to contact this firm for their confirmation that they are fine with us using the selected logo. They havent replied since then and we are still waiting (our legal team is completely against using it, cos its too similar, but if we can get permission from this firm then they have no issue).

Mail’d

Right now it comes with all the default features you expect from it, plus better “Missing attachments”, “offline mode”, and “UNDO a sent email” feature.

This is one application which will get amazing updates as we enter January and will redefine things a little bit like how big an attachment can be, or when can an email expire, or how can you fix the time of delivery even if you don’t have internet connection! Jaya (the lead and one of the better programmers at Notion Ink) is on fire and will get you these ASAP!

Sniffer: An extremely fast and handy File Browser is a must (especially if you are talking about USB drives, bluetooth etc). Personally I don’t like syncing my device every time I need to show someone a presentation or an image or even to listen a new song, may be I need more freedom in how I access and use my data. And hence we have the ‘Sniffer’ (Murali is the Architect of this one), as shown in the image on your right (please remember, I cannot share the final images, else my investors, design and legal teams will kill me! :)) There is a preview mode as well which works well for most of the important formats. I/O port detection is automatic and fast, and it goes well with the 3 panel layout system.

An interesting use-case: how do I transfer files/folders from one storage location to another, or may be, how to compare the contents?

On Adam, just open these 2 storage locations as panels (distinct instances) and voila!

We wanted to make Adam independent and self-reliable. That would mean it shouldn’t need any other device to think, store, get updates from and rather be able to drive others. It’s there now, in its genes, and all of us will see how it evolves.

The Matt

We told you how much we love Matt (that’s one reason why all the monitors here are from Dell). We have invested a lot of time in figuring out the right surface values which gives the perfect combination of 2 worlds (no reflection property of matt and scratch resistant property of glossy surface). But the first question: “Why every other device we see is Glossy and not matt?” The answer lies in the surface property. In general you can say that glossy surfaces along with giving better photograph of the device for marketing and shelf view, gives scratch-less experience (for its defined life time). And that is very much required. If your surface is rough (matt), it will be susceptible to scratches cos now when you drag a sharp object on it, it will have something to drag along, and leave a mark behind. All of this makes designing matt surfaces for touch screen extremely difficult and costly.

This is a small test I did for you in the morning. You can see one of our engineers dragging a sharp object scratching on of the Matt glass samples we had ordered for.

You can easily see the scratch (though you will not be pressing this hard, but still) and we definitely don’t want this.

After nearly 2 months of tests, we have been able to figure out what exactly should be the parameters and here is the result:

This is Adam’s glass and the result after the same test performed thrice. You can actually notice the speckles left from the last experiment on the other screens.

It took us really long and was really harder for the manufacturers to make what we wanted. We can’t compromise on few things and this was one of them.

Here is the image of the 3 tests which I did for you this morning (Adam is using the improved version of the last one shown here)

But the story between Glossy screen and Matt is not finished yet. One of our friend (working in Pixel Qi) who has an amazing command over LCD technology made us aware of the issue of using the matt surfaces on LCDs.

Look at the image below:

(You need to open it in another tab and see it full screen). If you can see (I hope you do), you will see small green fringes and speckles. Matt surfaces don’t work well with Green colors and creates  diffusion around green pixels. You Dell screens look good for two reason, one they have done good job and two, they don’t have to deal with the gap of touch screen in LCD monitors. Gaps add more refractions. Please see the next illustrations for more understanding.

We have done a good work when it comes to both of these issues and you can observe the same in the final product.

There is a LOT to share, from what all what we did, what were the issues we faced, sometime “the ridicules” and sometimes feelings of satisfaction for seconds as we are always drawn away for the bigger goal. I can keep on writing, but every thing that has a beginning has an end (Neo).

But wait! Did we say beginning? OK, then this is how one of our designers visualizes Adam booting up for the revolution.

[Update: Apologies for forgetting this: There is an un-official forum already up called www.notionaddicts.com I read a lot of peeple had issues in following up comments here and wanted something up. Our friend Avo helped us out and built one from scratch. Please take a look!

Thanks Avo]

With Warm Regards

Rohan Shravan

Week-End Special – Part VIII

Posted in Uncategorized by Rohan Shravan on November 13, 2010

Hello there!

Its was a real short week for us here at Notion Ink!

Some short up-dates first:

  • Little about the EAP results. We had far too many entries from such brilliant companies and individuals that it wasn’t making sense that we limit the EAP to only 200 people. Hence we have extended it to more. So now there is EAP 1 and EAP 2 where we have 200 in the first one and around 200 more in the next one. Look at the chart below for the EAP 1 selection and country average:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  • In the EAP 2 we have around 46 countries! EAP was multi pronged test for us. Production Validation, Logistics (handling shipments, etc. for so many countries), test of the support system, work on the feedback before it reaches masses (ones which we can quickly fix) and sending out messages to all that we have arrived! (Interestingly India is missing from the EAP 1, but has its presence all over the EAP 2 selections)
  • News on SW: Adam will have FULL Office Suite!

Now few images.

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Those were all the images which we have for this blog, and actually gave you an idea of what we are also going to talk about.

Here we have your Mother Board and on top you can see the NVidia’s Tegra 250 power house. You can also see here the RAM, ROMs and other circuitry. We have spoken about sharing those Power Charts, but we havent yet! Nearly all here are clocking something around 28 hours a week for their sleep. For us in the core team is around half of that! Whole team is extremely busy, so please give us more time in creating those interactive charts.

Right, you can see your Magnalium Tool Chassis (upside down) which holds a lot for you! This whole structure is around 36gms and is responsible for providing shear resistance. LDC fits inside, so it’s designed to be compatible for both the LCDs (Transflective and Normal, they have some constructional difference). PQ is around 5.2mm in thickness and we had to use the same for the normal ones, else they are available in 3.6mm height as well. The left side of this image is where it holds the CAP-SENSE buttons (your 4 touch keys). The top portion is where you will find your Wi-Fi, 3G and GPS antennas. On top of the LCD you have the Capacitive screen and then the Glass. In the manufacturing process you join the touch-screen on LCD (with either high strength glues or optical bonding) and then attach this section to the Top Glass. So the black border you see is actually the Glass area used to stick this 3 part set on the Magnalium Chassis.

On your left here is a weather app, which acts like your screen saver as well (in full screen). There are some cool animations which are really stunning specially for thunder-storm! This is the panel implementation of the same.

Total more than 20 customized applications are coming your way. Not the stretched mobile apps, but custom-made for your Adam! One for each occasion, crafted with a lot of effort and patience. Email, Calendar, Office, Paint, Gallery, Settings, File Browser are some of the very special ones to mention here, along with the whole Panel System. For the Panel system there is an OPEN GL Engine which extracts the juice out of Tegra and delivers in beautiful and smooth animations.

(I prepared a different post for this week, where I was to take Adam apart and introduce all but one components, but then I read the comments and there was a larger emphasis on the images, so here we are)

I guess times ahead are far more interesting than I thought they would be! The response to Adam is ecstatic. It’s really wonderful what all you have done for Adam and how everyone is picking up on your words. There is a lot more left before we can even start thinking that we have reached our vision, but the starting is not bad at all.

I have spent nights preparing for the day when finally we can stand in front of all of you and explain what Adam is, why is it not a tablet, how it works, what is still left to be done and how future generations are going to evolve. It still moist my eyes in joy when I think of that day, and we are really close. There are only few moments in your life when you speak a word called satisfaction and you know what it means! And I know this is it!

With Warm Regards

Rohan Shravan

The Baby is here!

Posted in Uncategorized by Rohan Shravan on November 10, 2010

Hello there!

How would you describe the feeling of holding your new-born for the first time in your arms?! It was the same feeling of fatherhood when we got the first manufactured samples in our hands! (This doesn’t mean we have started manufacturing, there are some tests to be done on the manufacturing set-up, )This is where everything gets exciting, the machines would soon be making that sweet mechanical sound, sound after which you feel satisfied, a little more content, something for which we have waited this long!

There is a BIG difference in this version and the older one where the outer body was still in works (texture and tolerances were to be fixed), final changes in the PCB layouts were left (like how to use the 2 system LEDs in a better way), some silkscreen information and those wonderful words printed on the back of Adam.

We promised ourselves that we will get them printed on the back, no matter what, and that’s what we saw! The back of Adam will read “Created with Love by Notion Ink” (instead of the standard ‘Designed’ or ‘Assembled in’) cos we really have done everything that’s in our control, something which you only do, when you are in love ( :) ). It feels lighter than the last version, but our minds now filled with heavier responsibilities.

If you ask an artist or a sculptor, “when do you feel that you are about to finish your artwork?” He’d probably reply, “when I start feeling the body and its texture!” And, we felt the texture. It was little tough for us to select the texture, after all there are thousands of them. We didn’t want it to be smooth; else it would feel artificial, plastic and un-natural. We wanted it rough, just enough to make us feel its full of life!

Will get someone better than I, to take good images and post it for you guys.

We call the Red one as the “Ferrari” Version (we don’t have one, but just for fun in the lab and is only available for internal testing! There is NO correlation between the colors shown here and the ones finalized for the manufacturing as these are lab testing samples). I have taken one apart for you and will take you deeper into the mechanical construction in the next week-end special. (Please see that the exact colors here are not final and subject to change and apologies if the post was little on the emotional end!)

With Warm Regards

Rohan Shravan

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