By Jared Newman | Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 4:27 pm
In a nice addendum to Harry’s definitive iPad alternative guide, Notion Ink is divulging price and launch details about its Adam Android tablet, as if to suggest it’s not vaporware.
There’s still a fair amount of throat-clearing in a blog post by Rohan Shravan, Notion Ink’s founder and chief executive, but the bottom line is that the Adam will supposedly cost between $399 and $498, depending on whether you want 3G coverage and the PixelQi screen that can switch to an outdoor-friendly reflective mode. Slashgear’s inside source gets more specific: $399 for Wi-Fi and an LCD screen, $449 for 3G and LCD, or Wi-Fi and PixelQi, and $498 for 3G and PixelQi. Shravan says he’s aiming for FCC certification in November.
So yes, Notion Ink reckons it can charge less money than the iPad. “I don’t think profit is in hardware,” Shravan wrote. “It lies in the ecosystem. And when the best hardware can be clubbed with a massive eco-system, you are talking about a revolution.”
In other words, Notion Ink is taking a huge gamble on content. Slashgear speaks of software developed specifically for Adam — 90 major U.S. developers are reportedly on board — and a content store similar to iTunes. That’s where I get nervous. Notion Ink is a small Indian startup. When it comes to making deals with big media companies and publishers, the company lacks the clout of an Apple or Amazon, at least in the United States. Maybe I’m wrong, but when I see Slashgear’s insider talk of “millions” of e-books, “aggressively” priced, I grow skeptical. Publishers generally don’t like cheap e-books, and even the iBookstore’s library is in the tens of thousands.
I’m still rooting for Notion Ink’s Adam. Of all the iPadversaries, Adam has the most unique hook — a screen that can act like a tablet or an e-reader — and a distinctive look to match. The device seems like a longshot, but I really hope I’m wrong.