The tablet industry has literally run amok at this year’s CES. Seemingly every single electronics company in the world and their aunts have either announced or launched a tablet device hoping to take top spot in the industry. In the latter half of last year though, two companies made the headlines a little more prominently – Apple, for whom it's not a new phenomenon and home grown Notion Ink, the apparent usurper of the tablet king's throne.
While the Apple iPad 2 is still under a shroud of mystery as to specs and other details, the Notion Ink Adam is out and enjoying the limelight after facing some seriously controversial issues with launch dates etc. But in the Adam’s case, at least we’ve seen a working model and have been fully briefed as to what to expect from features. Apple’s iPad 2 is something we have to look at with a little more speculation. Nevertheless, I do believe that the Adam has tremendous potential to take the iPad 2 to the cleaners. This is taking into account the fact that I consider Apple a worthy competitor to any and all smart-device makers but definitely not because they are the be all and end all of my existence, as some do (I know a few). I’m just not selling Apple short yet.
Please keep in mind that the iPad 2’s specs are still to be officially disclosed and most details mentioned here are based on speculation and rumours.
It’s doubtful that the iPad 2 would be released with a larger display than the original, although there has been word that the bezel would be decreased – making it appear larger. In fact, a few months ago there was speculation that the next gen iPad would even be smaller and cut down to a 7-inch model. While being more portable, it might not be too thrilling for the current iPad users looking to upgrade.
The rumour that the iPad 2 would most likely take on the iPhone 4’s Retina Display is one way that Apple would make a killing, but it’s not been officially confirmed yet. Itproportal.com has however poked a hole in that rumour. They’ve pointed out that there is no way a display in the 10-inch size range would be able to actually support a 2560 x 1920 pixel resolution which is what we should expect should the Retina Display be added to the current iPad. To actually support this we’d be talking about some hardcore graphics processor being part of the deal and the overall price tag being too small to contain the number of zeros Apple would need to add to the price. Let’s not forget it would probably require you to carry a back-pack battery pack if you didn’t want the battery dying when the device boots itself up. But if Apple managed to pull this off somehow, they would find a very serious fan in me.
The Adam’s 10.1 inch screen, like the current iPad’s, is what I believe to be a comfortable size for those who want a device that’s easy on the eyes for all purposes even though gaming can be a bit weird. The Adam is also available in a Pixel Qi version model. In case you’re not too sure, Pixel Qi technology allows manufacturers to not only create a product that won’t eat into your battery like a normal LCD screen would but also one that would be easily viewable even in direct sunlight and other ambient light conditions without any reflection issues. So we’re talking about sitting on a park bench at noon and reading an ebook as easily as you would if you were sitting in the shade.
The WSVGA resolution of the Adam’s screen might be an issue for some since it’s a wee bit lower than current iPad with the 9.7-inch screen. But I don’t see this as a ‘sales cutting’ problem.
What the iPad 2 and Adam’s displays would have in common is that both would incorporate an Anti-glare, scratch resistant and finger print resistant coating which is a bonus all around.
Point – Notion Ink Adam
There is no doubt that the iPad is one of those premium devices that looks as good as you’d expect it to, considering the price tag. The iPad 2 is rumoured to be possibly lighter and incorporate a flat back panel. Frankly, the slight curve makes for easy gripping and also gives the device a slightly raised yet classy look. The iPhone 4’s flat look is also elegant but it’s a much smaller device, so the combination does work. I’m not convinced it would suit an iPad sized device, however. It could also make it a little difficult to hold without a case.
The Curve design that Notion Ink has incorporated into the Adam not only makes it stand out as an unconventional design but also seems practical. Without the need for a prop up case, the Adam can be placed on a flat surface and viewed or handled quite easily, being at an acceptable 3 degree angle. While it’s quite possible that the Adam would be a little thicker than new iPad, it weighs the same as the current iPad (1.6 pounds).
Point – Notion Ink Adam
Now here’s where things get really interesting. Both of these devices are ‘slated’ (pardon the pun) to have pretty intense processing power.
The iPad 2 is rumoured to be shipping with Dual Core processors (a pair of 1Ghz Cortex A9 cores) which will make it a tough act to beat.
The Adam will also be equipped with a Dual Core Cortex A-9 processor and paired up with an NVIDIA Tegra 250 chip and ULP GPU.
Both will make multitasking, gaming and pretty much all functionality a walk in the park, making this round a tie.
Point – Tie
We obviously expected the iPad’s camera to be upped in the next gen model and word is that Apple has done just that. They’ve even thrown in a secondary front facing camera to most likely take FaceTime to the iPad 2. There’s been no word on the resolution of these dual cameras just yet but if I had to speculate I’d assume the iPad 2 would kick off with a 2MP rear camera. Apple likes to start small and move up with each new device. If this turns out to be true, it would seem like it’s been added on merely to shut the fans up about the device not having a camera to begin with. Let’s wait and see.
The Adam’s camera is another unconventional idea that gives it a little ‘step up’. Notion Ink has gone with a 3 megapixel autofocus swivel-type camera that can be turned to face forward for video calls or backward for capturing images. Presumably it would also include some settings that Android powered devices tend to have. We’ll have to wait and see which, though. Although FaceTime is not an Android friendly app, it’s quite likely some developer would most likely develop something similar for the Android community.
Point – Notion Ink (for now)
Although it’s been rumoured that the iPad 2 could feature a USB port, I’m not buying it just yet. While Macbooks have given way to conformity simply because Apple hasn’t really developed proprietary thumb drives yet, it’s not likely that the iPad 2 would feature standard connectivity. I will be pleasantly surprised if it did. It’s also very doubtful that Apple would allow the iPad 2 to be used as a storage drive out of the box, which would also allow for drag and drop playback or access of media and other files.
It’s also possible that Apple would be announcing CDMA and UMTS versions of the iPad this time around, with a separate Wi-Fi model as well. Hopefully, till micro SIMs become the norm, the iPad 2 will not require us to cut up an existing card. Of course, now even the likes of Loop Mobile are offering micro SIMs so the point is moot.
There’s been no word on the iPad 2 having a TV out option but even if it does, what are the chances it would allow for HD content to be viewed on HDTVs?
It’s also highly unlikely that the new iPad would be capable of making a normal phone call.
In this particular segment the Adam would seriously beat the iPad 2 to a pulp. Aside from sticking to the norms of standard USB or other connectivity, the Adam is taking things a step further. The Notion Ink offering will pack in HDMI support as well as USB plug and play connectivity. It’s also quite likely that the device's Bluetooth capabilities would include file transfer along with A2DP compatibility which is not something we can expect from Apple, at least not data transfer.
Like other Android powered devices, the Adam will be fully capable of reading data transferred and stored on its internal memory. It’s also quite likely that it would be equipped to handle all kinds of video formats without the need for conversion. No pesky proprietary software thrown in to gum up the works.
The Adam will be available in a Wi-Fi only model as well as a 3G + Wi-Fi version. Although it’s not been specifically mentioned, it’s possible the Adam will be equipped with a standard SIM card slot.
Running on an Android Platform, Notion Ink’s Adam, like other devices available already, would almost certainly have normal phone/SMS capabilities.
Point – Notion Ink Adam
Apple is known for piling on the memory onto their devices so it wouldn’t be too far-fetched to assume a 64GB iPad will be launched, but it ends there. Apple is not known for making provisions to up the internal storage.
Another one up on the iPad is that the Adam will be capable of supporting external memory via microSD cards although the internal capacity is a mere 8GB so far. The word is that Notion Ink is working on higher capacity models as well. This means if Adam announces a 16GB version with support for 32GB memory cards it would be just as good as the iPad in this section. Of course we’ll have to wait a bit for an official announcement on this.
Point – Apple (For now)
The Bottom Line
In conclusion it seems like based on the information we’ve heard about the Apple iPad 2 the Notion Ink Adam is set to ‘Seek and Destroy’ all competitors. Of course Apple has a way of walking away from any fight with plenty of money in its pocket so I doubt it’s really concerned. But as of right now, controversy or not, the Adam is proving to be one hell of a device that one would find hard to pass up. Let’s also keep in mind that the current price of the Adam is cheaper than the existing iPad and Apple’s not known for making next gen devices with lower price tags and more features. Another point to the Adam camp.
I’d like to know what you think, readers. Based on the rumours going around about the iPad 2 and the details we know about the Adam, which do you believe is going to be the better device and why? Our comments section, email accounts (Shayne@tech2.com) and Facebook page await your response.