Housed in a wooden, painted prototype case, the Notion Ink Adam tablet is rough. But with Pixel Qi dual-mode screen tech on one arm and Nvidia's Tegra 2 on the other, it's one of the most exciting devices at CES.
We've seen a fair share of Android 2.0 tablets at CES, some of which share not only Android 2.0 with the Adam, but the Nvidia Tegra 2 processor, too. But what they don't have is a Pixel QI transflective screen, a 10.1-inch panel that can switch between backlit LCD mode and electrophoretic reflective mode, which looks more less like e-ink, and which actually gets easier to see in direct sunlight.
We got our first good look at this screen tech this morning, and we covered its weaknesses: the LCD colours aren't as vivid as a plain LCD's and suffers at some viewing angles, and the reflective mode doesn't display text with as much contrast as a good e-ink panel, but in both modes, it's good enough. (And Notion honcho Rohan Shravan says he's working on a fix for the latter issue.) What this means is that no matter what you're using the device for - browsing the web over 3G, reading an ebook, watching a video - you can switch between screen modes depending on your environment or preference.
As I said before, the device is still in development, so you're seeing protoype hardware (there's prospective second model with a curvier exterior, too), untouched software (Rohan promises a custom interface, with a solution for text input other than the awkwardly sized standard keyboard), and unoptimised performance (Android 2.1 should help the interface move a little more quickly). We'll get a fuller picture of the device come Mobile World Congress in February, as well as pricing info - though we're assured we'll be "very happy" about it.
Anyway, you can stack these caveats as high as you want, and the Notion Ink Adam is still taller, if just for this reason:
We repeat: The bullet's in the chamber. E-ink is going to die.