updated 12:20 pm EST, Sat January 15, 2011
Notion Ink Adam tablet to finally ship to US
Notion Ink chief Rohan Shravan told early fans that the Adam tablet has finally landed the FCC approval needed to go on sale in the US. The Android tablet should now start shipping for the first pre-orders on Wednesday, January 19. Prices for the 10-inch slate range from as little as $375 for a Wi-Fi version with a standard screen to $550 for a 3G edition with an outdoor-friendly Pixel Qi screen.
The tablet is unique in the industry both for coming from India but also for its interface. Although it uses Android 2.2, the Adam has a heavily customized front end, Eden, that promises to address the problems of scaling the pre-3.0 OS to the large screen. It revolves around "leaves" that let multiple apps work alongside each other even if not explicitly optimized for tablets. Other apps, such as the browser and e-mail, have been reworked to use the full screen properly.
It will be one of the first non-Apple tablets its size in the US and also one of the most feature-laden, with both a dual-core NVIDIA Tegra 2 as well as front and back cameras and 1080p-capable HDMI output. Versions with 3G in the US will work on AT&T.
Along with the shipping notice, Shravan mentioned that Android 3.0, Honeycomb, was still a planned upgrade but that it might take some time to implement. The Eden interface was designed with Android 3.0 compatibility in mind, but Google's OS is a "work in progress" and is bringing a lot of things that Notion Ink had previously had to add itself. The CEO was optimistic and noted that a lot of the improvements would focus on smooth visual transitions that had previously been a weak point of Android, especially on the larger canvas of a tablet.
He wouldn't give an estimate for the upgrade as it depended first on having access that hasn't been a real option so far.
The Adam isn't expected to be a major challenge to the iPad's American dominance due to distribution limits but may be the first truly optimized Android tablet to offer competition before Motorola's Xoom tablet comes with Android 3.0 sometime in February.