Feb 22, 2010

Notion ink adam
HYDERABAD: Apple’s iPad was, it’s fair to say, awaited with the kind of breathless anticipation usually reserved by nubile nymphets for rakish rockers. But even as consumers rave about it, the technoscenti are already looking forward to a product that could make the iPad seem outdated, and, what’s more, is completely Made in India.

India is, of course, regarded as a software superpower but hasn’t made waves in IT hardware. That could soon change, thanks to the Adam tablet PC of Hyderabad-based Notion Ink. Adam has generated enormous buzz on tech websites and gadget blogs ever since an early prototype was first demonstrated at the Consumer Electronics Show, the world’s largest consumer tech show in January.

Info: Scroll down to check out more pictures of the adam
On Sunday, the final product minus the custom user-interface will be showcased at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona. But first, we sneaked a preview at Hyderabad’s BVRIT Innovation Centre, where they are based.

Never heard of Notion Ink? Its founders are six IITians and an MBA graduate. With an average age of 24, they believe India has what it takes to compete with the most innovative tech companies in the world. ‘‘We knew that Indian engineers and designers were doing most of the innovative work at Microsoft, Intel, and Apple. We just needed to take the first step,” says co-founder Rohan Shravan.

‘‘Current PC technology is like a Hummer on a city road,’’ quips Rohit Rathi, the youngest of the group at 23, and, along with Shravan, one of four co-founders from IIT Kharagpur. Two are from IIT Delhi while Sachin Ralhan, the eldest at 25, is a childhood friend of Shravan and Rathi and an MBA from IIPM. Apart from Ralhan and Rathi, the other five are all aged 24. What’s so different about their tech? Three years in the making, the Adam tablet is the first device in the world to integrate two breakthrough power saving components — nVidias Tegra 2 chip and a PixelQi screen. Together, they help it achieve twice the battery life and performance of the iPad. The chip provides an edge over the iPad, with its ability to play full high definition videos and Flash on the web browser. ‘‘It can offer the performance of a computer with the power consumption of a cellphone,’’ explains Shravan.

Adams 10-inch screen integrates many innovations first used in the $100 OLPC (one laptop per child) project. Unlike traditional screens, PixelQI screen has a dual mode, and can be read in bright sunlight like an e-reader. With the backlight off, the company claims that it can increase battery life between charges by a factor of five. What about the pricing? The company has not yet taken a decision on this crucial aspect, but is clear that Adam will definitely be competitive vis-a-vis Apple’s iPad. It expects to start retail sales, first in the USA, from July onwards.

Notion Ink worked with National Institute of Design’s R&D development campus in Bangalore to build a unique touch interface that runs on Google’s Android mobile operating system. As a startup, it faced many obstacles in filing patents and finding the right engineering talent. ‘‘India doesn’t have people working on Android. And the companies that have, charge Rs 1 lakh per resource per month,’’ says Rohan. ‘‘So we came up with a social solution — we opted to train engineers ourselves.’’

The company trained and then recruited over 50 engineers at BVRIT in Bachupally, Hyderabad. ‘‘We got the infrastructure at their Innovation Center, and the students as well. We knew the technology in and out and started training them. Within two months it started paying off, and we started developing the professional applications for the product we wanted to design.’’

‘‘The company is working on an application store platform of its own, where users can find a wide variety of content. It will offer everything from apps, books, video, audio, to magazines, newspapers and comics,’’ says co-founder Rajat Sahni. ‘‘We see more and more users reading newspapers on e-readers and tablets in the near future, and has designed a lightweight product that adapts well to this purpose. They showed us a version of how a digital magazine would look on the Adam. We’ve taken design inspiration from a 400-year tradition — the user interface of magazines!’’ chuckles Shravan.

TrendyDigital WaterGuard Waterproof Case for Apple iPad, Blue Borderthe global tech media waits for Notion Ink to unveil the Adam at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, we decided to hop across to Hyderabad and catch them before they caught the flight to MWC! It’s finally time to put an end to all the ’spec speculation’ around the Adam. We still don’t know what the Adam’s price will be, though we have been told that it will be competitively priced. We also have some exclusive pics of the Adam, from our shoot yesterday at the BVRIT Innovation Center in Hyderabad. The pictures show the final dimensions of the Adam, which has changed since the prototype was first shown at CES.

Adam currently runs on Android 2.1, and two versions are planned, one with the PixelQI screen, and one with a normal LCD backlit display. We also know that the Indian version of the Adam will not be 3G enabled as the infrastructure is practically non existent – “We won’t be using a 3G module in a region that is so sensitive to price.”

For more insights on Adam, read this http://www.technoholik.com/news/ten-...tion-ink-adam/

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