Thursday, March 31, 2011

A Thank You to Notion Ink Hacks

     A couple of days ago, while browsing the NIH forums, I ran across the banner running atop their home page. It said something about a link exchange program. That turned out to be the best discovery I have made in a while. The link to my this site was posted on the NIH landing page and BOOM! I have gone from ~70 per day to nearly 200. Thank You Notion Ink Hacks.

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Help an Adam Demographic

     A recent study says that only 20% of Adam owners have hacked their Adam's. Notion Ink Hack's Andy thinks otherwise, and has compiled a survey to prove it. This survey won't be at all fair since the majority of Notion Ink Hack readers have hacked their Adam's. Regardless of the fairness, here is the survey:

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Notion Ink (Rohan) Finally Updates the Public

      It has been nearly a month since the last post from the mysterious company. Most of our needy questions have been answered this time along with a few exciting things to keep the fun going. Rohan is going to start the weekend specials again for the few and far between blog posts to stop. More good news after the break.
     First and foremost, you can stop posting your infinite questions to the Notion Ink blog. THe official Notion Ink forum is coming in the next few days. Coming with the forums will be the ability to live chat with the support team. Let's hope the support team can take the strain that the anxious fans will undoubtedly put on the system.
     Rohan gave full details on the delays put on Adam deliveries, and assured us that every Adam has been shipped. The sleep/wake bug that has plagued so many Adam's was the fault of the manufacturer according to Rohan. To solve this issue, they will be using a different manufacturer from here on out.
     One of the more interesting points that was touched on was the Honeycomb issue. He addressed the issue of Honeycomb being closed by sending a special request to Google for the source. I would give it to them if I were Google, but sadly I am not. Let's hope they do get some kind of agreement with Google not just for Honeycomb, but for the Android Market as well.
The full blog post is here:

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Opera Mobile 11 on Notion Ink Adam (Video)

    The Eden browser left much to be desired, but until now there haven't been any alternatives that were suited to the tablet. Opera does that and much more. Actions are all fast, and menus appear in a window instead of the full page. Also included as a bonus is the Honeycomb boot animation. Have a look for yourself.

No Honeycomb Source Code! What It Means to an Adam Owner.

     Google is getting a little more strict on their open sourcing as of recent. They will be holding off on the release of the Honeycomb source until further refinements are made. The refinements in question are to make Honeycomb more phone friendly to developers and hackers. The pot isn't all sour as large manufacturers will  get access to the code.
     Now the big question here is will Notion Ink qualify as a "large" company in order to receive the rights to the hive. Probably not, but we can hope. The update will probably take a lot longer than many had hoped. What we know for sure is that the small developers that give us ROMs won't be able to so for a while. This is really a bad ordeal for Adam owners.

Friday, March 25, 2011

How To Reduce Lag On Your Adam

     My initial reaction to the Adam's stock software was, "This is slow; really slow; like original Droid slow." The overall lag on the system floored me mainly because of the Tegra II that lies within. It has the capability of being a lightning tablet, but Eden holds it back. Part of the reason behind this is Eden's utilization of the cores. Only one  core is active until more than 500 MHz is needed. Eden itself is also over complicated which drags down everything. While this may save battery life to an extent, it mainly destroys the user experience. Today I will show you various ways to reduce the lag and drag on your Adam to make life easier.
Replace The Home Screen
      Unless you absolutely love the Eden home screen in all of its paneled glory, you will most likely want to replace it. The panels are not at all smooth. When dragging the panels across it can feel like watching a slideshow at times. There are many replacement options like ADW EX or Launcher Pro, and none of them require root. If you would like to go back to Eden every once and a while, the Edenx ROM comes with a built in home switcher to jump back and forth.

Replace The Eden Browser
     The default browser has a lot of potential, but the scrolling/zooming isn't smooth, it has a tendency to crash, and there isn't an easy way to search for something. Getting another browser isn't as easy as it might sound, because most of the alternative browsers are built for phones. There is, however, one browser that is tablet ready and that browser is Opera. As you might already know, it comes in a mini and a mobile version. The mini is much faster because it renders in Opera's servers and lacks flash, so I use the mobile version. A demonstration is coming soon.

ROM it With The Beast
     If Eden isn't your cup o' tea, and you just want vanilla frozen yogurt, I would definitely recommend the Beast ROM. The Beast ROM is a vanilla ROM that has a quadrant score at almost three thousand. It is lightning. You can find it at Notion Ink Hacks under the hacks forum.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Five Reasons To Root/ROM Your Notion Ink Adam

     The Adam is great isn't it? The biggest way to improve on any Android device is to give a little root to set it free. In a recent interview with Notion Ink Hacks, Rohan said that he encourages users to hack their Adams, and he has even done it himself. If there was any doubt that you should adventure into the journey of ROM's, here is a list of five big  reasons why you should.
     1. Root Access
This may seem like a no brainer to the seasoned and even the occasional Android user, but it is quite a good reason. You could get apps like SetCPU to underclock the Tegra to conserve battery. Your backups will go much deeper with a root backup such as MyBackup Root. There countless other apps on the market that require root access if you just look for them.
     2. Android Market
As I noted in my initial impressions, the Android Market, or lack thereof, is the biggest flaw of the stock Eden UI. With any ROM use you, even if it is just the basic root, you will get Market access. Once you have that access, you will have over 150,000 apps at your fingertips ready to download without going to the extra trouble of side-loading.
     3. Ad-hoc
Ad-hoc will only affect a small number of users, but I still do not know why it was left out in the stock build. For the wifi only Adams it allows the tablet to be linked to a hotspot created by a phone or other devices.
     4. Home Screen Replacement
I like Android, and part of that comes from the awesome home screens that give us widgets, live wallpapers, and an amazing amount of customization. The default Eden home screen gives us none of that. Now you should know that home screen replacements don't require root of any kind. Edenx gives you this nice home switcher that easily allows you to switch between your replacement and Eden so that you don't lose the awesome panels that make your Adam a Notion Ink product. Alternatively, if you hate Eden for whatever reason, you can easily switch to a ROM like Utopia or Beast that provide the vanilla Froyo experience.
     5. It's Super Easy
The only way it could possibly be easier is if it was a one click solution. All you have to do for any of the of the ROM's is load the to your card and boot into recovery mode to apply the zip. Some of the ROMs require you to wipe the user data, but with apps like Titanium Backup who cares? To top it all of Rohan practically encourages it. Technically your warranty is void, but none have been canceled yet.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Galaxy Tab 8.9 & 10.1 First Impressions (Adam Beware)(Video)

     It looks like we have a couple of worthy adversaries to add to the list today. They are the most iPad like Android tablets I have seen thus far. The Galaxy Tab's are to be sold based on the amount of memory with a 16 and 32 GB variant. The big story from here is that they will both be wifi only at launch. The prices are as follows:
16 GB 32 GB
Galaxy Tab 8.9 WiFi $469 $569
Galaxy Tab 10.1 WiFi $499 $599     
     The 8.9 Tab will have an interesting accessory that causes worry in the Adam realm. It has USB in/out. The one thing the Adam excels at, and they made it available on a Samsung device, but you still has to buy the dock connector add-on to use it. The insides are the usual dual-core 1GHz chip and 1GB RAM that we have come to expect by now. The rear cameras are both 3MP while the front shooters are rated at 2MP. Both have the usual front-facing cameras. Another feature that has potential to shoot the Adam down are the stereo surround sound speakers that the tablets have. They must be good for Samsung to boast like they do. The Galaxy Tab's are also the world's thinnest tablets, coming in at 8.6mm in thickness (just 0.2mm thinner than the iPad).

     The story isn't just about the hardware this time around. Samsung, most likely in an effort to differentiate themselves, have skinned Honeycomb over with Touchwiz 4.0. It may not be all bad news, however, as it seems that Sammy has tried to do a little more than replace the launcher this time. Touchwiz replaces the home screen with what they call "Live Panels". In the demo below you can see that you can actually open up certain apps in little windows. Windows on an Android-powered tablet is refreshing to say the least. Tablets might be getting some desktop savvy to them. The video is courtesy of Android Community.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Don't Hold Your Breath For A Honeycomb Update On Your Adam Just Yet

     A top reason why I favored the Adam over other tablets is Notion Ink's fight to make the Adam future proof. Way back in August when everybody thought Gingerbread was going to be the tablet specific version of Android, Rohan made a pledge to give the tablet an update. The Adam was designed with the future in mind. As it turned out, Gingerbread was just another phone software upgrade. With Honeycomb coming shortly after, Notion Ink made the decision to skip Gingerbread all together so they could focus on the real prize, Honeycomb.
     Honeycomb has a vastly different UI than previous versions of Android. One of the drawbacks of this is it makes it harder to skin Eden over something so perfect. The coding for this could take a very long time, and that's okay with me. As long as it takes to make it as good as possible. I don't to get a Honeycomb update that is just as bad as Froyo with Eden is now. Even if it takes two months time, they will still be faster than most manufacturers out there. Froyo was released in July of last year, and the Samsung Epic 4G is just now receiving it officially.

     Don't be surprised if the official Honeycomb does take months. With Honeycomb we will be getting the Genesis store along with the Genesis SDK. That is when all of the fun will start folks. Until then, Rohan has mentioned a major update in the next few weeks. While it won't be Honeycomb, it will probably bring the weather, music, and various other apps.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Is The Adam's Slight Buzzing A Widespread Issue?

     There have been many reports lately of a small buzzing sound coming from people's Adams. It isn't a problem until you try to record something using the built in mic. The mic must be great, because it picks up this buzzing even though the sound seems to be coming from the opposite end of the device. Some users have questioned that it may be the screen causing the noise.  The only thing that makes me think the problem isn't affecting everybody is that I remember someone saying the microphone was excellent. It is most certainly not excellent with all of the noise. You can hear the noise in the video below. My LCD Adam has the noise. Do any of you Pixel Qi owners have the same issue?

Thursday, March 17, 2011

A Look Into The Shapes and Naming Schemes That Are Notion Ink

     If Notion Ink was trying to create a theme for themselves, they have done it. All over the tablet and in the UI you can find many things that are very "Adam". Why is nobody talking about these subtle details? Are they too subtle to merit a mention? I don't think so. Join me as I try to unravel the secrets inside the lines.
     That shape you see there is the defining shape of Eden. It appears all over the tablet, and into the UI. All of the buttons, the headphone jack, and the power jack have a logo with this shape. Even the name Adam is spelled with the letters in the shape. I suppose the real question is does it have any meaning? Probably not, but it is in way too many places to not have a purpose.

     The blue squiggly line in the picture was an attempt at showing another design aspect of the Eden UI. Some of the Eden app icons have the color filled in with a sketched look. It resembles the look of a crayon/brush stroke or maybe an unfinished sketch. The unfinished look would contribute to the unfinished fell of Eden. The entire Eden UI has a paper and sketch fell to it. Are they trying to say that Eden is a work of art, or was one of the designer an art school grad?

     Probably the biggest point to be made is the naming scheme. It's fairly obvious that the names are all biblical. Not everything is milk and honey in the garden of eden though. On the landing page you will see a promotional video. The music player that is shown in the video is playing an interesting selection entitled "Eden - The Beginning". Hopefully, for Notion Ink, Eden is just the beginning. If they can make it past the Adam, Eden will have been the beginning and not the end. Adam is the first creation. Let's hope this doesn't mean Notion Ink considers themselves a god. One thing that is still a mystery is the company name. What in blue blazes is a Notion Ink? Could it be that Rohan had a notion? But then where does the ink come into play? What does it mean!

Dear Google, We Need Honeycomb Source Code

     Need I say more? Notion Ink needs to start working on Honeycomb with Eden, and they can't do it without your help Google. Let's be honest with ourselves, Notion Ink will take a while getting Eden ported to Honeycomb, and until then we'll have get a Honeycomb ROM to tide us over. Either way, we need that source code.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Notion Ink Adam ROM Review: Edenx

     It's truly amazing how many ROMs are available for the Adam considering how few of them there are in the wild. While only Notion Ink knows the actual number of Adam's there are, we can assume the numbers are only in the tens of thousands. All of your the Adam ROMs can be found at The ROM I will be reviewing today is called Edenx, and was compiled by Roebeet.
      Edenx is a very stocked based ROM unlike the Utopia and Beast ROMs that are vanilla Android based. Its simplicity is its beauty. What it adds is root access, the market, various Google apps, a home switcher, and a few other tweaks. The home switcher is nice since Eden isn't customizable at all as a home screen. Edenx is what stock Eden should have been other than the root access. Small apps like Google Voice Search and Live Wallpapers complete the Android experience. The Android Market is also a plus.

     Is there anything I don't like about Edenx? I wish there were an option in the settings to get rid of the panel switcher in favor of the stock android app switcher. Other than that, Roebeet did a fantastic job.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Photo and Video Shot From iPad 2 and Notion Ink Adam

     During the Apple keynote, Steve left out the resolution of the still photos for the iPad's camera. The reason for this is probably the fact that it's about 0.7 MP. That's bad, but the Adam isn't really any better. Tablets aren't made for this kind of thing, but it needs a video demo anyway.

Monday, March 14, 2011

The Genius and Slight Flaw of the Camera Position on Adam

     Right on the Notion Ink website they praise how they positioned the camera on the Adam. It's in the corner so you can video chat in both landscape and portrait modes. Not to mention the fact that the thing swivels! While trying to use the camera in portrait mode I noticed a slight design flaw. The hardware buttons are on the opposite side of the device. This makes it very easy to press them while using the camera in portrait since your hands are generally at the bottom of the device to hold it upright. You could flip it around so that the buttons are at top, but the the camera is at the bottom. This is a very nit picky point, but I felt it worth mentioning. Hopefully this won't be an issue for Adam 2, because Honeycomb doesn't use hardware buttons.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Bug Report: Eden Browser

    Notion Ink bragged about their browser so much. I wouldn't say they lied, but the browser is half baked. I have compiled a little list of improvements the Browser needs to have below.
    Tab switching is a little confusing at first, but once you get the hang of it it is pretty good. I rarely use the tabs because tab switching causes the browser to crash about on out of every four times. That's annoying, and you lose everything you had open.
     Pinch zooming is slow because it unnecessarily pre-renders everything. A very confusing aspect about the zooming is that pinching only works in one direction. To zoom you have to pinch horizontally; vertically doesn't work. It's a very odd gesture hole.
     And now the last of my complaints. The address bar makes it difficult to simply search for something. You can't enter in a URL until the current webpage is done loading. The address bar has no "googling" functionality. When you type in a search term, it just says webpage cannot be found. Also, the hardware search button does nothing in the browser. To search for something you have to open a new tab (usually crashing the browser) and go to Google.

iPad 2 Hands-On with Photos (Aside Notion Ink Adam)

     The single most compared to item in the tablet world has now turned one and grown a little to compete with an ever growing niche. The upgrade was minor, but it was enough to bring it up to date. This thing is thin, fast, and just about everything Apple brags about on their homepage. With all that being said, there are still things that the Adam does better than the iPad. Take a look at the areas where it shines and falls short after the break(s).

You can see the viewing angle difference. Both screens are at full brightness.
     We all knew that the iPad's screen is better than that on the Adam. You can't really notice the resolution difference in everyday use. The iPad's screen seemed to be a little bit brighter (though with more glare), and the viewing angles were almost non-existent. It's important to note that the Adam's LCD has terribleviewing angles. The iPad'sscreen also seemed more responsive in general. The capacitor on the Adam only accepts two finger inputs at a time, while the iPad accepted 10 without a pause. Apple excels at anything to do with touch input.
     The iPad wins here. No question. The only thing the Adam has going for it here is the curve.

     The iPad has an alright speaker on its back, but it is mono and not very loud. I don't need to tell you about the Adam speakers again.
     Tablets aren't exactly meant to be good cameras, and the junk they shove in there just proves the point. The Adam's swivel is rated at 3.2 MP and standard definition video. The photos and videos both turn out mediocre. The rear camera on the iPad can shoot video at 720p, but you would never know it; the photos are even worse at less than a megapixel. While both cameras are just bad we still need a winner in the rink. For still photos, the Adam wins (barely), and for videos the iPad wins because the Adam's micrphone picks up all of the CPU noise. I post a video here soon that demonstrates both of the cameras.
     It is now time to discuss the most important part of any tablet. The iOS on the iPad, with its new dual-core 900 MHz chip is lightning fast. I might even go as far as saying it beats the XOOM. Everything whizzes by and apps take seconds to load. Apple manages to do this by making iOS as lightweight as possible. If something has the possibility of slowing things down, it stays out. One of those things that was stripped down was the multitasking (more on that later).

     The Adam's Eden UI on top of Android is slow. The snail pace and unresponsiveness isn't the fault of the hardware. The homescreen is the silky smooth when replaced with Launcher Pro. On top of the slowness, most of the items that were created by Notion Ink (e.g. the launcher, Mail'd, etc.) have a nasty habit of crashing every once and a while. Android has more potential and strength than does iOS. I want you try and copy a file to a flash drive with your iPad. Better yet, I want you to try to even find a file on your iPad. Pretty hard right?

     Android also excels at multitasking. The Adam disappoints here because NI have replaced the standard app switcher with a panel switcher. There are only about ten apps right now that even have a panel to switch to, so this add-on is worthless. Likewise, the panels should add some side by side multitasking to the experience, but it has very limited amount of uses.

     The iPad has super slick app switching when you double click that home button. The problem? It isn't real multitasking. Only certain actions are allowed to happen in the background like playing music or GPS. Everything else just hangs in a frozen state. The apps have to be written to make use of multitasking as well. On Android, they just multi task; plain and simple. It's all a matter of choice for the software. Do you want fantastic speed with not so much functionality, or do you want awesome functionality (it will be more functional once the software bugs clear up) with less speed.
Smart Cover
     Every tablet needs something that sets it apart from the rest, and here it is. The smart cover is a really good idea. Everything works by magnets. It's held on with magnets, and a magnet in the tip wakes the iPad when you open the cover. The best feature is the stand that it makes when you fold it into the triangle. They make a lot of stands for tablets, but they are all extra thing to carry around... except the smart cover.

     There have been many rumors of less than stellar battery life on the Adam, and most of them are true. Once I removed the cell standby with a simple and safe hack, those worries went away. This will not work with a 3G Adam and the life may not be ten full hours of non-stop use, but it still very good. The iPad's battery lives up to the ten hour mark for the most part.

     It is all a matter of opinion. You have many choices to make. Better screen or more ports? Super thin or have a curvy handle? Android or iOS? Bad swivel camera or two bad fixed cameras? I am perfectly happy with my Adam while I watch the iPad stroll around the house. No one is better than the other, and they excel at different things.
In perfect harmony

Friday, March 11, 2011

Why Does Everyone Seem To Hate Android? (Rant)

     Do you remember back to the days of the T-Mobile G1? The iPhone was still completely untouched in the market, and Android tried to stop its evil reign. While I wouldn't call its launch a failure, I wouldn't call it wildly successful either. Android brought the things people (nerds) truly wanted. It had an app store, multitasking, and openness. Android may have brought the goods, but it was ugly, slow, and downright complicated when compared to iPhone simplicity. Fast forward a few years and we have Honeycomb, but some bloggers still say the same things about Android.
     I was reading through Tech Crunch the other day when I came upon an article about why the iPad is still better than the XOOM. It was all about the software present in the XOOM. One reading it would think that Honeycomb is bunk, but it isn't. Honeycomb is far better than any previous version of Android ever was or will be. The author of the article was obviously a huge fan of Apple with very solid opinions. It seemed like he couldn't get past the sheer speed, elegance, and simplicity of iOS to notice any any downsides of his precious slate.

     Honeycomb has an awesome new UI that is simple while retaining the customizability that makes Android Android. The XOOM is lightning fast. The stuff in Honeycomb "they" were picking at were things like the occasional force close and slowing down if you are running too many apps. Those things are impossible to avoid unless you lock down the system and strip down a service until it only resembles its past. That is what Apple does. Multitasking isn't really multitasking on an iPad, and it is chained to the App Store.

     That isn't saying the iPad is a bad device. It's a magnificent device, but Honeycomb is also great and deserves the same amount of respect. Opinions are fine in the blogosphere, but you can't make these incredibly bias opinions and call it journalism.


Thursday, March 10, 2011

Hacking is Just Better on Android

     Until recently, I had never experienced the simple joy of rooting an Android device. Jailbreaking my iPhone was extremely easy with greenpois0n, so I thought I would give it a go on my Adam. Granted, jailbreaking and rooting are two different things, but the general idea is the same for both.
     The process of rooting the Adam was even easier than that of jailbreaking the iPhone. All I had to do was download a zip file, throw it onto the SD, reboot into recovery mode, and select the from the list. With those easy steps I had the Market, ad-hoc, and root access. They breathed new life into my Adam, and it got its usability back. The benefits of rooting are only have of the story.

     When I booted into recovery mode on the Adam it reminded me of something that I haven't done in a while. Back to the days of Ubuntu (which was actually more like a few weeks ago) I had to into the BIOS frequently to boot from that handy ole' live CD to get where I was going. The recovery mode gives me a peek into the system. I learn a little bit about how it all works, and what makes it tick. I actually have control over my device. I get none of that feeling of power with iOS.

     With the recent adventure of installing Honeycomb on a Nook Color, I was able to completely wipe the internal memory. That felt good. Sure it's all risky, but that is where the learning comes into play. I actually know what's going on. With greenpois0n, all I witnessed was the code streaming down the iPhone screen while I sat idle wait for it to finish. What does this all amount to? This is just another reason why I'll be ditching my iPhone, and also why I'll never buy an iPad.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Notion Ink Adam: Bug Report 1

     The Adam is a great device, but as I have said before, the software has some issues with it. Don't let this discourage you from buying one if you had the notion. I've been using it for a few weeks, and I love it. The purpose in pointing out the bugs is to make other people aware of them, and hopefully Notion Ink might see this (or maybe someone could send them an email about this) to fix the software to make it grand.
1. Browser
     The NI browser is pretty great except for a few things. The hardware search button has no effect in the browser meaning you have to open a new tab to google something. Opening a new tab is easy, but 2/3 of the time, tab switching causes the browser to force close. I avoid tab switching at all cost, because I know that my work will probably disappear.

2. Sniffer
     This one is minor. The nice progress bar style image that shows how much memory has been used is wrong. It thinks the SD card is the Adam memory, and it shows it as overflowing. Also, any apps that use the SD think the internal flash is the SD card. Just a slight annoyance.

3. Battery Life
     I won't go as far as saying it's bad, but it isn't good either. It'll last me a few days on stand-by, and (I'm guessing) four - seven hours of video playback. A dive into the battery usage shows the problem. 70% of the battery drain comes from cell stand-by. I wouldn't mind that so much if I had an Adam with 3G, but I have the wifi only model.This has been pointed out before, and I'm Notion Ink will come to the rescue on this. 

Saturday, March 5, 2011

Eden Panels: A Review

     Good Ole' panels. They are the lifeblood and soul of the Eden UI. The Eden UI is what makes the Adam different from the slough of other tablets that were and are coming to the market. Eden is the attempt to bring a smartphone OS up to tablet standards while adding pizazz in the process, but do they work? Find out after the cut.
     On paper they looked fantastic, but in practice they leave something to be desired. It's a refreshing change to see somebody tackling real multitasking on a tablet. Having three apps open at once is great for the occasional need to do so. That is where the problem starts. I don't want to do this sort of multitasking very often, and Notion Ink thinks I should. The panels replace the home screen. You have the option to "lower" the panels to reveal what Notion Ink calls the normal Android home screen. It isn't. It's single screen list of apps that are aligned perfectly in a grid that is completely non-customizable. If you don't like where the app is placed on the screen, too bad.

     The actual use of the panels provides a different story. They are handy and nice to use. Having multiple apps open to scroll through saves quite a bit of time. Only NI has the apps that utilize the panel system to get the real multitasking action. They plan on releasing the Genesis store and SDK so developers can create "panelized" apps, but that won't likely happen until Honeycomb. The panel system is weird in it's current state too. Let's say you are browsing in the browser panel, and you want to go full screen with the app. You can't. The menu button brings the option to launch the full application, but when you do it's like you are opening a completely different app. What happens in a panel, stays in a panel. Very little translates to the full app or vice-versa.

     Ironically, panels make normal multitasking a step harder. NI has gone to the unnecessary trouble of replacing the normal multitasking switcher with a panel switcher. Since there are very few apps that use panels, this is pointless. The alpha panel that holds the time, music, email, and facebook also holds the recent apps. This is an extra step, but at least they have addressed the issue.

     Time for a nit pick. Eden has an altered status bar that serves no real purpose other than because they can. They have the bar set up in a way that you can hide it by tapping on the battery in the corner. The natural state of the bar is to be hidden, which means that it blocks anything in it's way when it's open. The battery that resides in the corner for the hidden status bar can get in the way of some apps as well. When the Adam is booted the status bar is in the open position. Many new users have complained that the status bar is blocking everything because they don't know it has a hide feature.

     Panels are nice, but they have their quirks. It's all a matter of choice whether you like them or not. If you don't like them, you can always get a home screen replacer like Launcher Pro for free. There is no telling where panels will go when Honeycomb comes. For my thoughts on where they should go see here and here.

Hands-On with The Motorola XOOM

     All Apple products aside, many people think of the XOOM as the closest competitor to the Adam because of it's extremely similar specs, and it's Android powered surface. If you look past the competitive nature of things, the XOOM is more like Adam's brother. The XOOM is the sign of things to come on the Adam. The Adam will be running Honeycomb once Notion Ink gets it ready. A few minutes with the XOOM was my peek into my Adam's future.

     Honeycomb is gorgeous. This is what the Adam should and will be in the coming months. The first thing to point out is that the Honeycomb browser is miles ahead of the Eden browser. I like the Eden browser, but the tab switching is difficult and slow, it has a tendency to force close too often to be useful, and it isn't easy enough to just Google something. The full tabs are my favorite part of the 3.0 browser as well as the desktop-ish features to make it more useful in the long run. The XOOM doesn't have flash, but the video in the picture above played just fine. My best guess is that it's in HTML5, even though it says flash on my laptop.

     One of the biggest things the Adam can learn from the XOOM is the home screen; it actually has one. Panels are nice, but they should not replace the entire home screen. Widgets, multiple home screens, and easy app arranging are fundamental parts of Android that they simply through out the window. I sincerely hope they don't get rid of the home screen in Honeycomb with Eden.

     The XOOM felt really snappy in everything it did just like all of the reviewers said it would. The biggest take away from that was the fact that the XOOM has almost the same innards as it's Adam brother. The Adam is set on the hardware front, but it's the software that counts. The software on the Adam is miles behind in it's current state. It's buggy, unresponsive, and just not ready for prime time. The Adam also has the thumbs up on Eden apps and ports galore. If Honeycomb isn't ruined by Eden, the Adam will shine like the sun on a June day.

Friday, March 4, 2011

The One Killer Feature of the iPad That Has Left Me Envious

I don't deny that the iPad is a great device. Everything Apple makes is an overall great product. The reason I went for Adam was Apple's locked down world of apps from nowhere other than the App Store. I want the freedom to do what I want with my device without shooting a hole in my warranty, but that is a discussion for a later time. I am hear to talk about the (in my mind) coolest feature of the iPad, GarageBand.
      Out of all of the hardware, iOS usability, paper-thin design, and Face Time all I want is GarageBand. It is just an app, but it is only available on the iPad. It has the perfect combo of fun and useful. Songs would be easier create than ever before. I could start a garage band. I have yet to find any app, on Android or iOS, that delivers this kind of musical ability. I will provide you with a review in the future specifically on GarageBand for iPad. Coming also in the future are iPad and Adam comparisons, iPad review, and other tablet related goodness.

Thursday, March 3, 2011

Browser, USB, Sniffer, Maps, and Mail'd Demonstration.

I would like to give you a glimpse of Mireo, but it is not currently available.

The Question of Eden on Honeycomb

     In Rohan's latest blog post he made a quick statement saying that the Eden apps have been ported to Honeycomb. We all know that the Adam is eventually getting an update to Honeycomb. It may be weeks or months before Notion Ink finalizes the update for us. The Adam will be absolutely awesome with Honeycomb on it, but the question is how much of the Eden UI will be thrown on top of Honeycomb?
     As you can see in the picture above, vanilla Honeycomb even looks good on the Adam. There's no telling how far into the core the Eden UI will dig, but this is most likely not what the final product will end up looking like. Unlike previous versions of Android, it is very hard to put a custom UI over the top of Honeycomb without completely destroying it. This is a good thing, because I generally hate the custom skins they throw on top on Android.
     Way back in December Android Police had an interview with sir Rohan of Notion Ink. When asked if Eden would be preserved with Honeycomb, he said yes. In that same interview Rohan also said he would bring the Android Market with the Honeycomb update. (I'm still crossing my fingers in hope on the Market.) A lot has changed since December and Notion Ink's design team could have very well chnged their minds on the Eden thing.

     Honeycomb could definitely benefit from the panels concept of multitasking (see this column). They have made Froyo into something that is truly tablet worthy. That required a lot of work and deep digging into the source code. The problem could be that Eden is built totally around a smartphone OS, and cannot be reworked too well with a tablet OS. In Eden they have replaced the normal multitasking interface with a panel switcher that is completely useless with the multitude of apps that do not have panels. In Honeycomb, the app switching has been moved to a soft button in the status bar area. What I'm saying is that some things simply can't get carried over to Honeycomb.

     Honeycomb is very widget heavy, and if Eden completely annihilates the home screen like they do in the current version, it could be a very low point of Eden. The home screen needs to stay. They could possibly throw a dedicated panel button in the navigation bar at the bottom to bring up the panel view. That brings e to my next point. Notion Ink has managed to add a hiding feature to the Froyo status bar so it will be out of site unless it is truly necessary. Rohan said that tablets shouldn't always have a status bar to take up screen real-estate. This idea is going to go out of the windows if they want a feasible Honeycomb design. The always there navigation bar is another high point in Honeycomb, and to get rid of it would just not work.

     Coming back to the panels idea now. If they added an extra button in the navigation bar to open the panels, it would be absolutely fantastic. I'm not saying that it should replace the recent apps button, but it would do nicely in the adjacent space. It would be there at all times to quickly start your multitasking duties. The best part about having a dedicated panels button is that the home screen will remain intact. I can't stress enough how important it is to keep the home screen intact.

     There is no doubt that Honeycomb can get better with a sprinkling of Eden on top, but a smattering would be all too much. Honeycomb needs little improving as it is, so too much wouldn't jive very well with a lot of people (me included). I suppose if Eden angers you too much you could always get a different tablet or a custom ROM. Let me know your thoughts in the comments below and the pool on the right.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

iPad 2 vs. Adam

     Here is the day we've been waiting for. The iPad finally gets a successor to compete with the new generation of Android tablets that are bursting onto the scene. The new iPad has cameras, a dual-core processor, and more, but how does it compare to the Adam?
     The new dual-core should match up to the Adam's fairly well. The screen on the iPad hasn't changed, but it is still better. The cameras on the iPad are still somewhat of a mystery. The front facing camera shoots video at a low VGA resolution, while the back camera shoots video at 720p. Apple said nothing about the resolution of the still shots other than the 5x digital zoom on the back. My guess is that, just like the iPod Touch, the resolution is so low they are ashamed of it. The Adam's camera is theoretically better at 3.2mp, but the still are pretty grainy. I think it is safe to say the the cameras are mediocre on both tablets, but the iPad's doesn't swivel.

     Another mystery represented to us today was the lack of information about the RAM. The first gen iPad has 256MB of it, and it reported that the iPad 2 is either the same or double. Any way you slice it, the Adam has more RAM at 1GB. That may not matter when you consider the frugality of  iOS.

     Somehow, the iPad managed to pack everything into a shell that is only 8.xmm thick. The iPad flatout wins in the size department, but the curve on the Adam is still a nice grip. The speaker of the iPad has moved to the back of the device. The Adam's speaker is practically unbeatable with its superb sound and stereo arrangement.

    The differences in the OS's is completely a matter of opinion. It being an opinion, I will let you decide which one is better. The software is what truly defines a tablet, and Eden will get better with time. One thing the iPad has over the Adam is popularity. Apple has the ability to produce that Notion Ink will likely never have.