E-Books as prevalent as the iPod? Only time will tell how the market develops, but there’s no shortage of new entries to the fold. Last month, CES saw countless new e-reader devices emerge from the Far East, each one promising to enter the mainstream as a faster, cheaper device. One that caught this writer’s attention, however, originates from another innovation center: the Adam, from India-based startup Notion Ink.
Insight Media Consultant
This device portends higher goals than those of an e-Reader: PC-tablet and Apple iPad-smasher. Two models appear to be close to street release, one of which will be 12 mm thick, and will feature a traditional TFT screen. The other uses a 10.1-inch transflective display from Pixel Qi, with a WSVGA resolution of 1024 x 600; the unit measures 6.3"´9.8"´0.6" thick and weighs 1.7lbs. This display can operate in multiple modes: LCD transmissive, with an LED backlight; a low-power, sunlight-readable, reflective "e-paper" mode; and a transflective mode. Both models feature a capacitive touch surface for human interface.
According to Notion Ink CEO Rohan Shravan, the pre-production Adam is said to have at least two to three times longer battery life than the 10 hours of the iPad, when browsing the web using Wi-Fi or watching video. The unit boasts an NVIDIA TEGRA 2 video engine, with a 1GHz Dual Core ARM Cortex A-9 processor. With this horsepower, the unit can easily handle 1080p video, although the display can’t show it, so this capability means attaching the unit (by HDMI) to a full-HDTV display. Using the Android OS means plenty of "open source" application support, and that includes full support for Flash video-which Apple is loath to support anytime soon. WiFi and 3G are both on board, as are Bluetooth and USB connectivity; the feature list goes on to include a 3-Meg camera, 3-Axis accelerometer, and A-GPS too.
Based in Hyderabad, India, the Notion Ink startup could help bring a new awareness to Southeast Asian technology capability, which until recently has been viewed primarily as an IT leader. (Have you heard of the Nano, the ultra-cheap "people’s car" that India’s Tata Motors launched last year? The $2,000 car could be available in Europe in the U.S. in perhaps a year.)
Pixel Qi is a San Bernardino, CA startup, founded on the belief that the future of computing is not about the CPU or the OS, but is about the screen. Their vision is that new displays, with integrated touchscreens and wireless capability are the future. The founder of the company is Mary Lou Jepsen, the MIT display technologist who co-founded the One Laptop per Child (OLPC) initiative, the U.S. non-profit organization set up to oversee the creation of an affordable PC-like device for use in the developing world. "Qi" (pronounced "chee", literally meaning "air" or breath") is defined by Chinese culture to mean "energy flow," the circulating life energy that in Asian philosophy is thought to be inherent in all things.
The Adam is slated for a June release, according to the Indian newspaper The Hindu, with a street price of Rs.15,000 (about $325). -agc
Update: Our Feb. 6 Display Daily article on the HDMI 3D spec had stated that HDMI 1.3 did not provide the bandwidth needed to handle two 1080p pictures at 60fps. In fact, at 10.2 Gbps, 1.3 already had sufficient bandwidth to carry that much video, but did not provide the format and signaling needed to carry 3D pictures. Many 1.3 transceivers can be firmware upgraded with this signaling support, which is included in the 1.4 version, together with format support for 4k D-Cinema. Look for additional information in the 1.4a update slated for release in the near future.