A Letter from a Friend! (Part – II)

I (Joshua) wanted to expand on the blog post you made today-

I am an engineering professor at the University of Delaware in the USA. The student whose email you quoted had several good points, but I wanted to make some comments from a professor’s point of view.

The Adam can be the perfect device for me if it has a few relatively-simple features.

1) It needs to support PDF. Textbooks are nice, but research papers are essential. If I could read and annotate papers on Adam, that would be a huge convenience.

2) Support for organizing research papers would also be quite valuable. Mendeley (a free program) or Papers (mac-only) or EndNote is the type of functionality I envision. This can, of course, be developed later, but it would be quite nice.

3) When lecturing, I go back and forth between PowerPoint and the blackboard. This is a waste of time and fairly inefficient. It would be great if Adam could support (at least playback of) PPT files and could work with a stylus to allow annotation and presentations.

4) For this to work, Adam needs video out. Most classroom projectors have only VGA inputs, so compatibility is a must.

5) The academic year starts in September, so it would be fantastic if Adam were available in the US before then.

6) Good support for e-books (epub or kindle) would be very nice, as I find myself traveling frequently for conferences, etc.

Best regards,

Joshua

52 thoughts on “A Letter from a Friend! (Part – II)

  1. I already commented on the huge potential in academia..

    There are two essential points:

    – Support for reading A4/letter pdf. I have good experience with this on the kindleDX so Adams display format should be fine. With fast scrolling even small fonts aren’t a problem.

    – Support for taking notes, preferebly with a stylus directly within the pdf as overlay or similar. Reviewing documents is essential in academia.

    There are several good systems for organizing papers. I wrote a bunch of scripts around citeulike and use it to feed my kindle and to generate bibtex entries for papers. If the Adam is good for reviewing, such apps will appear by themselves. Same for epub. Just make sure the system is open, performant and available.

  2. Great points, Joshua. I am also an educator (secondary) and I’ve quite excited by this product as well.

    While attending the ITSE conference in Denver a few weeks ago I made some notes about how many new handheld interactive whiteboards there were. Tons of big companies (Smart, Promethean, eInstruction, etc) as well as start-ups were promoting these very useful products. I think that I counted over 7 different but similar models.

    The beautiful thing is that NI’s Adam has all of their capability and 100x more! As Joshua mentioned, though, stylus capability is a must for this use, as well as a very good notebook software. (SmartNotebook is the most intuitive I’ve used, if compatible we have a winner!)

    There are a few HDMI to VGA converters out there, but the ideal product would be able to connect to a projector wirelessly. (USB devices exist, so this hopefully would be possible)

  3. This person really made some good points. He seems to be totally dreaming about ADAM becoming the best bet for organization of digital content, portability overall as a convergence product.

    The 4th point about the VGA ports, I beleive the ADAM is gonna have a HDMI port atleast a Mini-HDMI. If we have it in place I believe its not that difficult to have an adapter that would connect a HDMI / Mini-HDMI out to a VGA. Right now I own a HDMI to VGA port cable, so if at all ADAM has a HDMI port I can just use it to connect.

    I wonder if ADAM is having the new standard display output port. That would be cool to have may be in the next generation atleast.

    Mendeley is a great software, I wouldn’t even dream of missing it as it totally makes my life easy with organization of the huge stocks of research papers I have. So is EndNote a good one not to be missed out. I hope to see ADAM some how integrating with these two great pieces of software or atleast have alternatives for these software.

    GOOD LUCK TEAM ADAM!!!

  4. “It needs to support PDF. Textbooks are nice, but research papers are essential. If I could read and annotate papers on Adam, that would be a huge convenience.”-Joshua
    This is a huge priority for me.
    PDF support should be a must. Otherwise Adam is worthless, atleast for me.

  5. I would love to be able to annotate papers/ebooks on the Adam! Especially PDFs, but also ePubs and Kindle books!

  6. Amen! This is exactly what I want the Adam for, and I why I will wait for a tablet with the Pixel Qi screen. The PQ screen is the main selling point, and the unique feature that enables the Adam to play in multiple competing fields (i.e., ebook and tablet).

    I am curious, though, as to why the PQ version will be the more expensive when one of the main selling points of PQ is it’s cheaper construction. Isn’t this why the OLPC is using PQ screens?

  7. I agree more with this letter than the last one. I like having my laptop and my cell phone, but this would be awesome for all sorts of things that those either don’t do, or are hard to use for doing. I love the idea of using it to make videos for conferences, classes, or various other types of presentations. Perhaps powerpoint or pro-presenter friendly? I have no issue with just HDMI though, I’m a sound/video tech and if I wanna use it for output that badly then I’ll just use one of my adapters.

  8. if you are really listing requirements here.. then i might as well give you my $0.02/- 🙂

    I am not sure if you have seen this product from Cisco.

    http://www.cisco.com/en/US/products/ps11156/index.html

    but this being on android os too. i figure it would not be hard for you folks to have them on board. this then provides everyone from students to professors to run their apps and be integrated into their networks/clouds.

    have been eagerly waiting to get my hands on one.

  9. As an engineering student myself, I agree with the OP. I hope the ADAM comes out before I give in and get an iPad. I hope the camera records great video and allows for note taking while I’m at it. This would allow for reviewing my notes later on, and rewatching the lesson.

  10. i would say #5 is most key for me, if i’m not going to start the year with it, then i will have already established habits for where and how i access media, so a month/semester into school i would have learned a way around getting what i need, or learn to do with out. If the patterns are already set, then justifying the guestimated $350-800 for a tablet that, albeit cool, probably won’t happen for me.

    Even as a student I work with the projectors at school at least once a month in every class so without someway of being able to support powerpoint, the tablet would render itself mostly useless.

    I also agree with the PDF, most online textbooks are in PDF format, and if a school is going to provide a textbook free, I have to have the capability to read it on the go.

  11. Too bad that this is not available until early next year…seems like a good product..even more an incentive (in addition to the google tablet) for NI to get ADAM out soon..

  12. Here’s my take on the letters. They are a list of what features the Adam will have. Most of which, as has been pointed out by several bloggers, we already knew. The google reference, remember when I asked who they are selling the company to? The “professor’s” comments about when it needs to be available, before semester starts in Sept, could be a release “period”? Is this an update? If you want to believe what you read between the lines…maybe. As has been pointed out words like”soon”, “coming” are not dates. I teach my students to never sign a bonus agreement that states you’ll get a bonus if sales increase “soon”. Business is run on specifics. Objectives must be framed in time, not platitudes.

  13. 1. Honestly I am surprised by some of the comments. I personally had taken it as a given that PDFs would be supported as Adobe is working closely with hardware makers and such to provide Flash and AIR, so I assume they’ll provide their other basic (and free) product, Adobe Reader. And if not there have always been various alternatives, many open sourced.

    2. Also, PixelQi is NOT cheaper than LCD. It is not a lot more expensive, but it is SLIGHTLY more expensive. It uses the LCD process so it is cheaper than a brand new technology. That’s one of its main points, the ability to be produced easily with existing technology without having to build new plants and such (and that’s why it was able to come out to market so quickly). But in the end it is basically LCD with a few more steps/technologies involved, meaning that if it requires more, it has to cost a bit more as well. But it IS competitive with LCD. It was used in the OLPC’s (well, its predecessor was) because of sunlight legibility, which was an important factor especially in sunny places like Africa and Latin-America. This is why Notion Ink can offer a cheaper LCD version (how much cheaper I don’t know) but in my opinion if I am going to get the Adam it is going to be the PQi version without a doubt.
    As for those hoping for a higher resolution: that might be possible with the normal LCD version but not with the PixelQi version. PixelQi right now only makes one screen size with one resolution (though the horizontal resolution triples when used in monochrome mode). So if you want a tablet with PixelQi you are stuck with that resolution for now (in the future this will change if PixelQi is a success, they have said they are looking at different screen sizes, which implies different resolutions).

    Personally, VGA is not a priority I think, some projectors can use USB video out as mentioned above so that could be a good solution and if not there have been vga-hdmi adapters for a while now (and if the projector has DVI it’s even easier/cheaper to get an adapter).

    As for the rest, yes, annotation on PDFs and any other kind of books/documents would be not only great but a lifesaver. An ability to avoid major clutter (and if whatever software you are employing for that could let you go directly to annotations rather than have to look for them even better).

    One thing I am hoping for, though I don’t know if the software/camera will allow it is video conferencing in HD. With the swivel camera it would be great. I could be talking with someone and if I need to show them some paper document I could swivel the camera (I assume it has auto-orientation) and show them the document with enough detail for them to understand it (obviously this would be for quick views, not reading a book or anything like that) and obviously it would help in showing them anything else they might need to see (can you imagine sometime in the future showing your broken piping to a plumber so they could give you an estimate without having to go to your home?).

    I am looking forward to the new site, more frequent updates, and forums. The forums can be great for providing community support, both before and after buying the Adam which would be great.

    As for the Google thing, I don’t know if it means that Notion Ink will be responsible for the Google Tablet or if it refers to some collaboration, but whatever it is it sounds good and optimistic. More good news is always welcome. And for the naysayers… if there is any direct relationship between Notion Ink and Google then it is highly unlikely that the Adam will just be vaporware.

    Hope you’re feeling better Rohan. Take care.

  14. Hi Rohan! I’d be happy to put you in touch with someone at Mendeley if you’d like.

  15. The current version of ‘Kindle for Android’ does not allow you to load your own unDRMed ebooks, so you would only be able to use Amazon’s Kindle ebooks.

    Also it does not current support notes.

  16. Couldn’t get Rohan to answer me so not sure if it’s even possble hardware-vise but one really cool use of Adam could be as DSLR controller. I’m looking for a 7-10″ pad with HDMI
    input running Linux. With it I could hook-up Canon T2i/7d/5dM2 to it and control focus, zoom etc. w/o touching camera. If it only could input HDMI… Rohan?

    Another idea – universal remote control. Needs IR dongle though.

    Pavel.

  17. I’ve commented before on the lack of concreteness of these posts. Everyone typically notes the fact that Notion Ink doesn’t seem to be overly concerned with engaging the community it has created.

    This whole endeavour seems to be over-stuffed with gimmicky interest-creating elements and no solid release plan. I’d like to see this trend change.

    Notion is on the verge of creating a truly fantastic product and a loyal userbase to match, but serious tech people like myself demand a serious response from the company.

    Let’s just be honest, it’s a lot late to be stipulating requirements since the first release date just breezed by without note and they’ve yet to update their website with any solid info.

    I was telling people who asked to wait for this as I felt the product would be really solid, but now it just seems they’ve made a couple of demos and are creating some buzz.

    I prefer the Max method of advertising to this… Lie about being interested and then just drop the product on the market.

    Notion:
    1. Is there any chance you’ll be releasing this any time soon? Have the agreements been reached? Can you put it in black-and-white on your website?

    2. Will you be sending something solid out to us reviewers or just another demo model? (it is false advertising to review a demo model as people usually end up with different hardware and software)

    3. Can we hear about the progress regarding the changes that were stipulated in the demo videos waaaay back in Feb?

  18. Any chance the Adam will (optionally) be sold dual-booting Android and Ubuntu or similar Linux OS? This would enable a lot more compatibility by default – esp Openoffice and similar programs mentioned in a later post — although obviously the team will have an interest in making sure that the most highly prized apps and functionalities are available directly as Android apps, without the need to reboot.

  19. The ADAM might be coming with a data plan… but I think the company should not bet too much on 3G connectivity….

    By being open and providing USB connections…. many people might prefer to upgrade to other options like 4G or WiMAX with products like these…

    http://now.sprint.com/nownetwork/4G/#/product_250u

    As networks mature into 4G or xG a device with a fixed closed 3G component becomes a dead investment

  20. hi rohan iplz avoid these rathis and rahlan , these people are not trustworthy

  21. i can see it happening again…
    step 1:
    post some email by someone
    step 2:
    post another email
    step 3:
    talk about how close it is to lauch date
    step 4:
    one month gap(with absolutely nothing)
    step 5:
    it goes all over again

  22. 1) It needs to support PDF. Textbooks are nice, but research papers are essential. If I could read and annotate papers on Adam, that would be a huge convenience.

    From a read point of view, Adobe themselves have release Adobe Reader for Android, and from my use I have to say it’s pretty good. Some sort of tie in with an ability to annotate would be good, and the only feature it’s sorely missing IMOSHO is a jump-to-page feature, which I’m sure will be in the next release.

  23. I am a bit scared that since you adam team is delayed in delivering the product, they might compromize on the quality control part of the task. Please ensure that before releasing the product the QC is fully done and validated. While we are supporting your efforts, we are observing that even google and apple are prone to errors these days. Please immediately release a white paper with all tech specs and qc scenious with all user scenarious that you have validated on the product. Please also let us know the SDK Language framework that is supposed to be thrown out for developer community. What are the specs of your operating system and what programming attributes does the SDK support. I am writing this because I am a big disappointed by your lack of transparent communications and excuses like “suffering from fever” e.t.c..

  24. for us audiophiles out here i hope you have some good audio output for the machine, something that rivals the ipad or the ipod in sound quality.

    Also pdf support and Java for games like runescape. Ive been looking if you will support java for web games like runescape but i failed to find any info on that. Also i havent seen any info on what type of audio card you would use.

    Im definetly buying this even if the sound quality turns up to be average. Just hope that you start shipping soon.

    For the future i hope that if chrome OS turns out to be much better than android you give us early adopters help with documentation of how to install chrome or ubuntu or something of the sort. Im sure that 6 months after i buy this tablet you will already be launching version 2.0 and in a year and a half 3.0 and ill want to upgrade because it will have something even nicer… Sincerly hope for your success. And i will be sure to be an early adopter. 🙂

  25. for us audiophiles out here i hope you have some good audio output for the machine, something that rivals the ipad or the ipod in sound quality.

    Also pdf support and Java for games like runescape. Ive been looking if you will support java for web games like runescape but i failed to find any info on that. Also i havent seen any info on what type of audio card you would use.

    Im definetly buying this even if the sound quality turns up to be average. Just hope that you start shipping soon.

    For the future i hope that if chrome OS turns out to be much better than android you give us early adopters help with documentation of how to install chrome or ubuntu or something of the sort. Im sure that 6 months after i buy this tablet you will already be launching version 2.0 and in a year and a half 3.0 and ill want to upgrade because it will have something even nicer… Sincerly hope for your success. And i will be sure to be an early adopter.

  26. Totally agree with all of these… The only shame is I just graduated, and won’t be able to experience the classroom of the future…! T_T But I’m an aspiring designer, so stylus input (maybe even a way to work in pressure sensetivity..??) would be great! Autodesk Sketchbook Pro would be AMAZING!

    But I really do hope these features make it to the Adam… I am SO much more excited about this than iPad.. (and my heart already melts when I walk up to on in an Apple store). I think the iPad has some serious limitations and is really just promoting this unhealthy trend of consumption; my hopes are the Adam will deliver the ability for creativity and productivity, which is why I’ve been changing the default home pages on the Apple Store iPads to the NI:A homepage. Spread the love! xD

  27. This will be a perfect addition to my business. Being able to keep track of appointments, stay in touch with customers, and stay connected with my business network while on the go is a must. Having all those features in one device is awesome! A built in cellphone would be nice to fall back on, but there are plenty of VoIP programs for Android and you can pick up a VoIP plan for around $15 a month. I can’t wait to work this into my company’s network!

  28. Bookmark function !!!
    Don’t forget to having bookmark and word marker function when reading ebook.
    I see many of ebook reader doesn’t have it.
    It’s just bookmarking the page, but not the word.

  29. Any comments on this news?

    Reliance Industries is said to be in talks to invest in the Hyderabad-based Notion Ink, which is developing a “made in India” tablet computer that is already being pitched against Apple’s iPad.

    It is learnt that the talks, which could even lead to RIL picking up a majority stake in Notion Ink, are centred on the Adam tablet, which is scheduled for a worldwide launch later this year.

    A tablet PC is a laptop equipped with a stylus or a touchscreen.

    RIL’s interest could have been triggered by the fact that the Adam has been touted as an “Apple iPad killer” in many quarters. The product has been generating enormous buzz on tech Web sites and gadget blogs since an early prototype was put up for demonstration at consumer tech trade shows earlier this year.

    An RIL spokesperson said, “We do not comment on speculation as a matter of company policy.” Officials at Notion Ink said the same.

    Notion Ink was established by six IITans and an MBA graduate who were able to integrate two breakthrough power saving components — nVidia’s Tegra 2 chip and a PixelQi screen.

    The buzz is that Adam has twice the battery life and performance of the iPad.

    Starting at $325, the Adam tablet PC is around 36 per cent cheaper than the starting price of an iPad — $499. Moreover, Pixel Qi screen technology makes it easier to read under bright light, technology experts say.

    The deal with Notion Ink is also expected to help RIL in its quest to garner a significant share of the Indian broadband market. RIL recently re-entered the Indian telecom market through its Rs 4,500-crore acquisition of Infotel, which has bagged broadband wireless access spectrum for all 22 circles

    Given the high propensity of a tablet PC to consume bandwidth, RIL could bundle the Adam tablet with its broadband services to target high-end users in India, Mr Kunal Bajaj, Director, of technology advisory firm Analysys Mason, told Business Line. “From Notion Ink’s perspective, the funds infused by RIL could help in setting up its manufacturing and distribution networks.”

    Apple’s iPad is not yet sold in India. Interestingly, in a blog posting dated June 9, Notion Ink co-founder Mr Rohan Shravan, said: “We have closed the final round of funding and are now in perfect sync with our investors. This is extremely good news for everyone. I say that because if we have global ambitions, there must be someone who can help us achieve that. And now we have got the muscle power… I cannot reveal the amount of investment, but it’s a big day for Notion Ink!”

  30. Note: Once again, nobody’s payed for the Adam in full yet. We don’t need any of your “promises” to be 100% on the mark.

    I say this because, apparently, Nvidia’s Tegra 2 is 20% over its initial power usage estimates. I don’t care, if the Adam has even half the initial battery estimates (16 hours watching video, 160 hours in e-ink mode), I’ll still buy one on day one. Seriously, the money is there and waiting to be spent. Please make this tablet happen by November. ^_^

  31. the point is whether ADAM will be launched.
    there is one more pad-stuff that is scheduled to be launched in August 2010, in India- OlivePad. so it becomes very important for NotionInk to issue a launch date and launch on that date may what come. We will support them, if they ask … but neither they ask any thing nor they speak anything. Its more like a CIA-type stealthy operation going on — and we are kept nearly completely aloof from all the stuff that goes on inside. Few buts of info would not hurt any business’s interest but helps.

  32. is there any truth regarding RiL’s involvement? and do we have a time frame when the ADAM will be out……and saddend by your move out of hyderabad!!!

  33. have you seen TAB CANDY
    http://azarask.in/projects/tabcandy/

    there is an article here on techcrunch
    http://techcrunch.com/2010/07/23/firefox-tab-candy/

    We have been stuck in the 1960’s far too long. Yes I understand that building systems analogous to an office was useful to be used to working in paper based environment. But most of the computerised world has not been operating like that for since the 80/90’s. I want an environment that U can warp to fit how U do things. I want something that reflects that fact that computers are adaptable and that takes advantage of all the psychology we have done since the sixties about how we do what we do.

    I not asking adam to be all things to all people, but I hope that it will allow easy adaptation via code so that it can be one of the tools I carry with me. That might seem like stating the obvious but I find most products scarily locked in, and good ideas seem quickly dropped – which is why i am typing this on a flexview thinkpad

  34. I am Intrigued by the comments relating to GOOGLE’s Tablet and he has been talking about new investors etc.. Hmm…. And chance the Big “G” cut a big old check..and the Adam may be the future GOOGLE PAD.. ??

  35. Dear Rohan,

    your Product is good..!

    when are launching your product in India & what is price tag

    i m sure you must be aware similar product is already launched in India

    let us talk more

    raomn
    mohitnrao@gmail.com

  36. 3) When lecturing, I go back and forth between PowerPoint and the blackboard. This is a waste of time and fairly inefficient. It would be great if Adam could support (at least playback of) PPT files and could work with a stylus to allow annotation and presentations.

    I second it….

    please make this function available. Will love to get rid of mile high folders that i carry to class and carry all pdf/ppt notes in adam and be able to annotate and take notes on them as the prof lectures…please please make this function available.

  37. I think to make it a world class tablet, it needs at least to be able to read, if not write to, all the popular file formats: txt, rtf, doc, xls, ppt, mdb, jpg, bmp, gif, png, pdf, mp3, avi, mov etc. Built-in USB port, an SD reader, a microphone, a standard 3.5mm earphone socket, speakers and WiFi. Charging from USB is very important too.

    From your website I can see it ticks most of the boxes already, but does it tick them all?

  38. The only thing you must have is a stylus input (Digitizer) !!!

    Listen, you have some good point : PixelQi, long autonomy, … but that’s nothing compared to the possibility to TAKE NOTES !!!

    If you put a digitizer to adam tablet, you have a chance to get the School Market BEFORE MICROSOFT ! Microsoft Courrier has been canceled but everyone knows that they will do something (Handwriting recognition, Windows Journal, OneNote, InkSeine, and lot of research in this domain : Bill Gates has always believed in Tablet PC + handwriting (particularly in school), I think he’s right). It’s just a question of time.

    Tablet PC in school has BILLIONS of advantages (no weight, access to information, easily class your notes, ebook,…). So you could be the FIRST SLATE TABLET WITH STYLUS AFFORDABLE IN THE WORLD ! ( and so you could be the first serious solution for Student).

    Tablet in school will happen ANYWAY ! But you could be the first. Please don’t think like Archos, Joojoo, Paddle(Evigroup), Dell (Streak),… who just want to do a Ipad alternative. SEE BEYOND !

    You don’t need necessarily an expensive Wacom-like technology with Pen Pressure, Eraser on the top of the stylus, extremely accurate, ect… We just want to be able to write and be able to put the plam of the hand on the screen. So either a REALLY GOOD Palm rejection (but I don’t think it’s the best way) either a dual-touch screen like in the HP Hybrid tablet (which is better I think).

    I can’t create my own company and create this Perfect Tablet because I don’t have enough experience and If I’d start creating this tablet other good alternative would have time to take the market… BUT YOU CAN ! You have Pixel Qi which is perfect to read book ( very useful for student) long autonomy (which is crucial for Student) but you don’t have the most important feature : NOTE TAKING.

    The software to take note would not be a problem : a simple Paint-like program with possibility to put pictures would be sufficient at the begging. And you could improve it later (with why not Handwriting recognition😛 lol)

    I don’t want to buy a 2700$ tablet or a hp at 900$ which is heavy, hybrid, Windows powered (so no touch interface) and without a good autonomy (be stressed in class and always look at the battery indicator … ).

    I’m not the only one : THOUSAND of students are looking for the same opportunity !

    I’m a student, not a child and the good tablet to take notes in class will appear when I’ll have finished my Studies so please consider this request snif 😦 …

  39. And I (and probably many other students/geeks/developers) can help you developing the Note Taking software if you need to …

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