Thursday, 10 February 2011

Goodbye Adam

Well, it is final. I am disappointed with Notion Ink's Adam... and I am not talking about the numerous business-side problems everyone can read about, but about their decision to cover the Pixel Qi display with a reflecting glass and thus turning it into another high-tech mirror (still much better than the iPad but I am not interested in half measures).
Since I still need a mobile device, I decided to stop waiting for a miracle and bought myself a netbook yesterday (hope to get it tomorrow). I decided to go with the Samsung n210/n220[plus] (they are all almost identical... really). With the right battery (these models are sold with either a 3-cell battery or a 6-cell battery which comes in two versions - 4400 and 5900 mAh) the battery life should be around 8-10 hours (Samsung claims 13.5h but I wouldn't trust them here ;)).

After it arrives and I decide I like it, I intend to replace its dipslay, which is a decent matte (Yes! Finally someone made a good design decision! Thank you!) LCD, with a Pixel Qi. This way I will be able to use the netbook even in direct sunlight and its battery life is expected to go further up by 20-25%!.

Another modification I think about is adding a touch-sensing layer in front of the Pixel Qi (matte - not the glossy abomination used in Adam!).

When everything is complete, I will have a device with the following characteristics:
  • much faster than iPad (even the old Atom N270s are faster than A4)
  • almost e-ink image quality in direct sunlight (but with the responsiveness of LCD (e.g. video playback etc.))
  • a decent LCD indoors
  • 10-12 hours actual battery life
  • a multi-touch touchpad and display
  • a decent keyboard (no Adam or iPad can compete here)
  • a full Debian GNU/Linux with KDE 4 - the best OS out there (the netbook comes with Microsoft Windows 7 so I could have a dual-boot but I don't need another gaming machine)
The only thing the above lacks is a trackpoint instead of a touchpad. Trackpoints are so much better. Invaluable to a touch-typist and they even allow people to play computer games which are impossible to play with a touchpad (e.g. FPSs). Still, Alienware (including the smallest model for mobile use) and other gaming laptops all ship with touchpads - how crazy is that?!

To wrap up, here are links to youtube videos watching which should make everyone understand why, after waiting for almost two years, I decided to give up on Adam and go for a pure Pixel Qi solution:
  • Adam vs. Kindle (e-ink) - after watching this, ask yourself if you would like to work with Adam in the sun for a few hours
  • Pixel Qi vs. iPad - not really relevant to this topic so posting it here just for the fun factor - "mobility according to Apple" or "be mobile but stay in your basement" (if you are wondering, iPad is turned on ;) ) !


  1. Once you are done, please create a DIY project blog and most importantly how much it cost to do this change..


  2. Hi Jayant. I will think about it, thanks for the suggestion. I just got my netbook today and am now encrypting my hard drive (the whole drive encryption - another advantage over Adam :)!).

    As for the cost:

    - I paid £205 for the netbook (a brand new n220 with a 5900 mAh battery)

    - Pixel Qi DIY kit costs £180

    - touch panel kits currently available cost £30-60 (but I am waiting for something better like Synaptics ClearPad 7200 which distinguishes up to 10 simultaneous finger touches (AFAIR Adam distinguishes just 2))

    So the total cost of such a configuration is £400-450 (which is the same as the current price of Adam for the UK consumer). The configuration without a touch screen seems to be cheaper than Adam.

  3. Pixel Qi installed - more in my latest post here:


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