Notion Ink

The Week-End Special Part – III

Posted in Uncategorized by Rohan Shravan on October 2, 2010

Hello there!

Here is your week-end special, taking you further into the development decision we’ve made.

Lets talk about the camera again, but this time about the position. Few people noticed the change in its location. I mentioned it in the last post as well. When we made the camera at the center top edge of the Adam, we realised that it is only usable in landscape mode, cos in portrait mode your thumb is too close to it and obstructs a view. Interestingly for the same reason you can find that the front facing cameras are always on the left top edge and it made a lot of usability sense as well. It solved 3 issues for us, perfect placement of GPS antenna, lower interference b/w GPS signal and batteries, and use of standard 3-cell (and it felt better for taking background images as well).

Here is how it looks:

This decision was made in September last year and since then you have noticed the change. (I saw some people talking about the same in the comments to thought of clarifying).

My love for Golden Ratio

I must tell you that I have a very deep obsession for the love of Golden Ratio. Most of the design choices have been influenced by it, like the dimensions as explained in the image on the left:

where R1/R2 ~ Golden Ratio (1.61803..)

and it doesn’t stop here, cos it’s embedded into nearly all curves of Adam!

The screen format in 16:9 is more closer to Golden Ratio than 4:3.

Our UI also has a lot to do with the same which I will start explaining from the next briefing (and believe me I have tons to share!).

I am not sure how deep up you want to go into the electronics and design of the device, so I will stop here (if indeed you want more details and in specific something special, you can post it in the comments and I will explain that part).

This is the major junction where we will shift from the design and electronics to the UI and Software.

I believe all of you had questions on the UI and here is a small snippet:

  • UI is heavily accelerated and is based on Open GL Engine;
  • It features a very new concept of Multi-tasking which is going to be little different and controversial (soon we will know why)! Adam does multi-tasking in a way none ever has done. Gone are the days when we hold menu button for long to switch apps or windows! (I have a post dedicated on this in coming weeks);
  • It supports full 3D effects;
  • Icons are not glossy and web 2.0-ish as you find on all the current generation of devices;
  • Special Contrasting features have been used to support PQ display;
  • and yes it supports multi-touch.

More to come in the coming weeks!

With Regards

Rohan Shravan

597 Responses

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  1. dr nabakishor H said, on October 2, 2010 at 13:14

    Why dont you post your Mobile developer magazine article here also.

    I am interested in that article. (I couldn’t read the whole article at their website due to some problem of registration).

    Many would be interested to read that perspective also.
    (waiting for 9th)

    • Crystal said, on October 2, 2010 at 14:08


      Notion Ink is a very young firm that works out of the box. All those who are working at Notion Ink are really very excited about the future, and more than that, we appreciate the experience we’ve had! Unlike some firms who just want to get a product out, we are working to create a completely new category of products from scratch, changing the expectations we have from devices and bringing innovations on many new grounds. It was my dream to do something like this since childhood, and here we are!
      Starting from the design of the device to the User Interface, I was thinking there are many interesting and better things that can be done. And to get an idea that is out of the box you need people who are relatively out of that exact domain (Well, that’s how we think here at Notion Ink anyway). So, for the industrial design we hired an automobile engineer. For designing the user interface we hired a magazine designer, and it doesn’t stop there, people who work on patents, who program and who run the company all come from very diverse fields.
      And the sole reason was to infuse fresh beliefs we believe are missing from many other products out there (especially the UI). You look at Apple’s UI and think why hasn’t anyone gone beyond it yet, and why is this the standard?

      People who will be designing Apps for Adam will find a very fresh way of looking at multitasking, working with applications and over all, a marvel in itself. The core eagerness was to switch away from the current 4 decade old UI (window concept) and fortunately, our designers pulled it off!
      Application designers will not only be surprised by the UI, but also by the hardware. There is no compromise on the HW front, right from giving you a Graphics Engine to GPS, we have tried to get the best out there. We are trying for a different kind of support for Application Designers. But the best thing is, we have considered a Tablet to be a little more than Mobile most of the time, and a heavy processing machine for the rest of the time. This is required, because the kind of work we will be doing (in the early years) will be data centric, and the expectation will always be of a device that can run for days.
      Most of the developers who will shift (co-work) on tablet platforms will be those who are already on Mobile Developing platforms, and they have proven to be the best designers (in looks and functionality) of applications. Tablets will be a much more interesting platform to develop for since the playground is much bigger (screen).
      Coming on to the business side, Notion Ink is an interesting case. Getting so much visibility has definitely made getting in touch with the right people really easy, and hence, a little easier to break the code (but not having grey hairs in Consumer Electronics does off set that a little bit). Firms working with us believe in us, and that is important. Soon we will release official notes on with whom we are working with and the collaboration which we have already in place.
      We are very conscious about the applications to go on our device. The UI is totally unique and calls for a very small but crucial change in the Application Architecture to use the UI to the fullest of the extent. UI is largely inspired from real world metaphors like magazines, wire-frames, newsletters. Even the color you will find will remind you of paper. Our UI works directly on the Open GL layer and is heavily accelerated. You will find beautiful Pie Menus and newer concepts on email as well.

      Initial developers will get a lot of in-house support for designing applications. Right now we are working with major houses to get their applications on board. This help ranges from feedback to compete UI design. We are very aggressive on revenue sharing as well, with most (more than industry standard) going back to the designer irrespective of the support they have asked from us.
      We are expecting amazing applications which will use the swivel camera design too. You can start thinking right from taking live video notes (writing on videos) to advanced touch focus technologies. There’s even an added sensor which is not known to people yet (not officially announced by Notion Ink). And over all, its going to be a dream device for the programmers with most of the components coming from Open Source Environments!

    • dr nabakishor H said, on October 2, 2010 at 14:18

      thanks. I knew there was something more in that. “an added sensor which is not known to people yet” this bring smiles. I get a feeling we all are in for the “revolution” promised.

      AND PEOPLE please dont bring crapshit like comparison to IPAD, TAMPAD (or whatever)

      Really going to raise the expectation for the NEW SPECIES -ADAM-. ;-)

    • Phillip said, on October 2, 2010 at 14:24

      Thanks dr nabakishor H, thanks Crystal.

      Very fascinating read, especially about the added sensor not announced yet.

    • mrzeal said, on October 2, 2010 at 16:30

      ohh dear! speechless… I don’t read novels and always liked the short anecdotes which sends the message that imprints in your mind forever… and boy I felt like riding a bullet train no on a rocket to space or more…. awesome read…

      thanks a bunch to Dr Nabakishor for the reference and Crystal for digging it for all of us.. great beginning to my weekend :)

      and my hearty congratulations and thanks to Rohan and NI for all the golden no diamond snippets in the blog and the above article.

      (I think as Nabakishor said pretty soon people will (hopefully) just shut up and get overwhelmed by the enormity of these new concepts and features which are easily a generation or 2 ahead. and don’t talk likes frogs in the well….)

      Bill Gates talks of them all the time and honestly with all respect to him … I cant understand why all he does is copy xerox to give windows, copy powerbuilder to give VB, copy playstation to give xbox, copy a to give b and then use the market/money/leverage on existing customers to push MS products… we have never heard (either in public domain or privately) if MS has a ‘lab’ where they incubate any futuristic ideas… heck he dares to ridicule car manufactures (with all his if cars were part of IT we would have cars that give Xmiles/gal etc.) but does little on his own in his own IT world…. for that reason I like Richard Branson more…. he at least gives his ideas a try in the real world (the space travel ship etc)

      also what Rohan and NI are doing is highly commendable for literally sharing the gains of their efforts with one and all – both as in sharing the wisdom but also the money etc.
      like I said before may this tribe grow by leaps and bounds and may this culture rub on all concerned and may we as humans on earth show coming with a better account of ourselves even as we discover new ‘earth’s and possibly soon other humans or human-like advanced creatures in our milkyway and beyond….

    • wtff said, on October 2, 2010 at 17:03

      great news!

      my guess is that the clandestine sensor will be for determining the angle of the swivel camera.

      I noticed that the article contains the term “out of the box” twice and just wanted to let you know that you probably mixed this phrase up with “outside the box”:

      I don’t want to be nitpicking, just thought that you would appreciate the pointer.

    • steve said, on October 3, 2010 at 01:50

      wtff. i don’t appreciate your nitpicking it in light of the great work being done here, and i wouldn’t say that if your comment highlighted an (apparent) error regarding the technical aspects of the project.

    • wtff said, on October 3, 2010 at 01:59

      @steve: sorry, I really didn’t mean to offend anyone. My only intention was to be helpful. To most non-native speakers it might not be apparent that “out of the box” has THE OPPOSITE meaning as “outside the box”. What Rohan clearly meant to say in the interview was that NotionInk’s approach is “outside the box thinking”. Saying that somthing is “out of the box” means that it isn’t special or innovative at all. I’m a big fan of the great work being done here, I swear.

    • billreyn said, on October 3, 2010 at 07:04

      wtff, I don’t think you were nitpicking at all. Simply helping Rohan with his message.

    • Disregard said, on October 4, 2010 at 18:42

      …And then there’s “obtuse”, example: Steve

    • Brian Norris said, on October 5, 2010 at 14:40

      It all looks great, but where is it?

    • Abhishek Jain said, on October 8, 2010 at 01:54

      Heya.. Waitin eagerly fr the ADAM. N infact fr the launch of the Final Designs of the ADAM that is scheduled on the 9th(i hope it still is cz m really really lukin fwd to it :)
      Anywayz.. Jz wrote a blog entry about the ADAM. Hope you’d check it n you’d like it too :)

    • DreamHarvest said, on October 11, 2010 at 10:38

      Thanks to dr nabakishor & Crystal!
      Wonderful reading!

    • Denny Bolen said, on October 20, 2010 at 03:52

      As an “end user” I have been interested in Adam since I started following alll the iPad wannabes. I have been most excited about Adam feeling it deserved the most attention (of all the various contenders).

      Reading the blog & especially your reply has really peaked my interest as it appears you’re bent on “doing the iPad one better.”

      My wife’s first computer is the iPad. I hope my next computer is the Adam Ink.


      Denny Bolen (in the computing field since 1961)

    • Rohan Shravan said, on October 20, 2010 at 08:08

      Thank You very much Sir! Someone of your experience commenting this is a real honor for us!

      With Warm Regards

    • patt said, on October 8, 2010 at 00:26

      i was wondering the sensitivity of the touch function, because i am an art major, and if it can do at least 512 it would be ideal for my work enviorment. i dont want to buy a cintiq 12wx and duck tape it to ur tablet. so can you maybe make a special addition one with similar features i would pay more. im using an alenware with intuous and it sux.

  2. Manish Sabharwal said, on October 2, 2010 at 13:15

    Thanks for the update and really wonderful knowledge…

    But I must say your habit of leaving teasers for next post is just too much….

    Hope all is well at your end… and we get to ADAM soon….

  3. sahil said, on October 2, 2010 at 13:16

    yipppeeee i m d first person to cmnt …………ooooooo .coool mahn awwwsum stuff :D plizz cn u upload a vid of dis UI plizz

    • ragdogs said, on October 2, 2010 at 21:27

      a few comments late ey … :)

    • sahil said, on October 2, 2010 at 22:26

      :P no actually d moderation thingy beat m to it :P

  4. Quintesse said, on October 2, 2010 at 13:17

    Hi, there is one specific part that I would like more information about: the “trackpad” that is supposedly built into the back of the device. It seems like a great idea, but I was wondering how something like that would work in practice. Keep up the great work and the great articles!

    • wtff said, on October 2, 2010 at 17:19

      concerning the trackpad at the back of ADAM:

      It was mentioned before that Notion Ink is also working on another project named Eve.
      I believe that Eve will be a mobile phone that will integrate nicely with the second iteration of ADAM:

      The current issue with mobile devices is this: some people like tiny handsets that fit nicely in their pockets, others prefer big screens at the compromise of having to carry around a bulky device. The second tradeof is in wireless connectivity. Do I have a mobile phone with a data plan that I need to tether with my tablet in order to be able to access the internet from my tablet or do I pay for two different data plans? Do I just have a tablet and no mobile phone? But then I’d need to be using a 7 inch device….

      I imagine/hope that Notion Ink is working on a mobile phone that can be hooked into a backside compartment of the ADAM 2 tablet device at the place where the current ADAM tablet sports the backside trackpad. This way, the mobile phone can act as the backside trackpad and also as the module providing wireless connectivity, GPS a.s.o.
      People who don’t like to purchase this high-end solution could instead pluck in a module with trackpad and wireless module instead.

      Having the mobile phone connected to the tablet would solve a countless number of current issues concerning modularity, keeping several devices charged, several data plans, extra ports, hardware consolidation etc.

      I believe that Notion Ink might have something like this in mind, but if not, this might serve as an idea for the future design of ADAM2 & Eve.

      I’m aware that this design would also be problematic in many regards, but if designed properly it might be possible to achieve such a solution at a reasonable price.

    • napplesnapplesnapples said, on October 2, 2010 at 21:34

      dude you just blew my mind [7]

    • mrzeal said, on October 3, 2010 at 04:08

      cool wtff; what are the chances iBore… err phone guys come calling to Rohan to have a pillion ride on Adam even if it is a small patch somewhere on the back of Adam? being a Gandhian generous businessmen he is Rohan might even give them the ‘lift’… :)

    • billreyn said, on October 3, 2010 at 07:18

      So, Eve will come out of Adam. As the rib that made the biblical Eve came out of the biblical Adam? Cool concept!

    • Disregard said, on October 4, 2010 at 19:07

      @wtff…There’s one flaw with such a design concept you’ve imagined. What if one needed to talk on his/her phone at the same time? Your first response may be Adam could absorb both the functionality and mobile network connectivity. The problem with that for many users of these new tablet devices would be doing so in situations where using the primary device, Adam, does not involve a desk or other convenience, namely space. Take for example working on reports, etc. and having a conversation on a way to a meeting in bus or train/subway. I think having a permanent trackpad and wireless tethering to a cell phone for data connection would provide the optimal freedom of using each while addressing the single data plan issue.

    • felton (from Chile) said, on October 4, 2010 at 20:02

      That idea was recently presented by the people of Allways Innovating (those who presented the idea of a netbook with detachable screen that becomes a tablet).

      The new product add an voiceIP phone to the back, but I don’t know if it works as a back trackpad too.

    • JP said, on October 7, 2010 at 02:23

      I think thats a very abstracted idea. I don’t see the need to mount the phone to the back – it just makes the device 5 times as big, and doesn’t add a trackpad as there is already one installed on the back of the Adam.

      I think that Eve will either be a phone that can wirelessly tether with the Adam (though what use this will be is yet to be seen – 3G is still pretty slow in terms of download speeds), or it will be a totally different solution to a new technology – maybe if the Adam sells well enough notion ink can sell an all-in-one computer. I’d love that. notionink needs to be the new, better, version of apple to succeed. They’ve started well with the Adam (as long as they release it – COME ON!!) but they need to stay tight to their objectives.

      To answer the OP’s question, pick up your keyboard and imagine that it is the Adam and on the back where your left hand rests there is a trackpad. Imagine trying to use it. It’s actually super comfortable.

    • Arioch said, on October 7, 2010 at 16:52

      back trackad is really cool, and Motorola phone already used that. However how strong would it be. Here were a lot of requests for Gorilla Glass, but no one asked how fragile can touchpad be, if Adam is kept in average backpack with other random stuff inside :)

  5. Gaurav said, on October 2, 2010 at 13:17

    Hi Rohan.

    Eagerly waiting for UI part. Keep up the good work.


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