Motorola Xoom vs. Notion Ink Adam

by: Darcy LaCouveeJanuary 28, 2011
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With the advent of  Honeycomb 3.0 being released, many tablets are poised to take advantage of this new operating system.  One tablet, critics are saying, that may give the Motorola Xoom a run for its money, is the Notion Ink Adam.

Operating System

Notion Ink Adam will run on Android 2.2 while the Motorola Xoom will be released running Android 3.0, Honeycomb. However the Adam will get upgrades to 3.0 in the future.


Both tablets use the NVIDIA Tegra 2 chip. Motorola Xoom will run on a the standard interface, while the Notion Ink Adam runs a custom made interface named Eden which has been custom made for Android 2.2 and the NVidia processor. Some initial reports are suggesting that there are some bugs to be fixed still, but given that the hardware is so solid, we have hopes for the little tablet that could.


Both tablets have 10.1″ display but the Motorola Xoom has a higher resolution. The Notion Ink Adam also has a Pixel Qi (pronounced chee) Screen which promises substantial gains in the battery department, and the ability to read and view images in direct sunlight.


The Notion Ink Adam has a nifty swivel camera, whereby it swivels from front to back, thus eliminating the need for dual cameras.  We will have to wait and see how this pans out for long term durability. The Motorola Xoom has 5 MP camera for pictures and video, and a 2 MP camera for video conferencing.

The Notion Ink Adam appears to be worthy competitor to the Motorola Xoom.  We will have to wait and see if such a small company can compete with the marketing might and experience of Motorola.

Spec Shootout:
FeaturesNotion Ink AdamMotorola Xoom
Android VersionAndroid 2.3 (Honeycomb said to follow)Honeycomb 3.0
PrecessorNvidia Tegra 2:1 GHz Dual-Core ProcessorNvidia Tegra 2:1 GHz Dual-Core Processor
Internal Storage16 or 32 GB32 GB
Expandable MemoryYes (MicroSD)Yes (MicroSD)
Network3G3G (4G LTE Upgradeable)
Display10.1″ WSVGA (1024 x 600), Pixel Qi Optional10.1″ (1280 x 800) Resolution
Camera3.2 MP Swivel Camera5 MP Rear Facing, 2 MP Front Facing
Weight1.6 lbs.1.6 lbs.
Dimensions6.3 x 9.8 x 0.6 Inches9.80 x 6.61 x 0.51 Inches
Ports3.5mm Headset, USB 2.0, Mini USB, HDMI3.5mm Headset, USB 2.0, Mini USB, HDMI
  • Mike

    While it is too early to say one way or the other yet, Notion Ink’s deployment record to date has not been exactly stellar.

    First there was the debacle with the first round of sales and inability for many in the U.S. (myself included) to successfully complete the transaction. Now we have a second round of “invite only” pre-sales coming up. I am mystified why Ni can’t simply put the device on sale and take backorders.

    Additionally to date the impressions of the Qi display implementation, along with the matte screen protector, have been mediocre. I am very excited by the Qi technology and have high hopes for it, but I am not convinced that the Ni is the implementation to make it shine.

    Finally Motorola has shown an interest in an overall ecosystem with the Xoom, to include accessories such as a dock and of course official Google market access.

    On the other hand Motorola has been notably hostile to users who want to root the device and install custom ROMS where as the Adam has already been rooted.

    I have few concerns about the engineering of the Adam but find myself becoming more and more concerned about Notion Ink’s ability to deliver and support the product. At this stage, with the continued run around involving availability of the Adam, I will probably pick up a Xoom when it becomes available.

    • Darcy Alexander

      I agree with you and think you have the right ideas. Notion is a relatively new player in the tablet space, and as we can see from the FCC teardown, much of the quality of the tablet itself was called into question.
      Motorola is definitely showing interest, and they have enjoyed a very successful relationship with Google and the Android Development team so far. I think the Xoom will be a success, but will also be expensive for many people as well.
      Motorola’s hostility towards users who want to put custom roms on their devices is borne out of loyalty to the telecoms/carriers. They realize most, if not the majority, of consumers don’t want to pay 500-800 dollars for a device, and as such rely on the carriers to carry the initial financial burden of the products. With this in mind, their ultimate loyalty, thus far, has been to the carriers, and not the users of the products themselves. Furthermore, most users care not about rooting, and few have the wherewithal to do it themselves, aside from solutions like Z4 Root or Superoneclick. It’s unlikely we will see an unlocked bootloader going forward, despite the negative publicity they have received. We can still hope though!

      The Adam shows great promise. I, like you and many others, will be keeping a close eye on it. Notion is a nimble and intelligent company. They will no doubt improve every generation of the Ink hereafter.

      Insightful comment Mike.

  • RR

    What I like about the Adam is the fact that they are not a big congloremate making just another product. They are a startup and to stand neck to neck with the biggies, they need to be very innovative.
    + for startups:
    1. Innovation
    2. great price product ratio

    – for startups:
    1. Product support
    2. Growing pains

    A group of 25 people managing innovation in India, production in China and distribution and support worldwide. A compelling challenge.

    • Darcy Alexander

      Insightful points you make. The Adam truly is a David vs. Goliath scenario, and they really have done an amazing job for a startup, and for such a small team. I only expect good things going forward. That being said, we all know how competitive mobile technology is, and customers have a long memory for products they pay for that don’t live up to their expectations. Thankfully, the hardware of the Adam is quite good, so most of the problems some users claim to experience can be resolved via software updates.

  • gabort

    I am on the fence at this time. I think the sensible thing to do is to wait a little longer and see how things unfold.

    These are the points I am currently thinking about:
    1. Modding.
    I think this is a must for me. It gives one the freedom to be rid of manufacturer’s iffy performance on future updates. The Tegra2 android tablet is a platform adopted by many manufacturers. Why should users be restricted to updates that Motorola pushes out?

    Motorola’s hostility towards rooting is a very serious problem. I have an HTC Desire that I though would never need to be hacked, yet, the fact that I can now run a ROM on it that supports APPS2SD really improves the usability of the product for me. If I had a motorola product, I would probably be forced to “upgrade” to a new phone to get similar results.

    2. Hardware.
    This is an issue that sways me towards the other side. I know Motorola is capable of producing durable, high quality hardware. NI have no history in this business. It remains to be seen how they perform.

    3. Honeycomb, Android Market, etc. While it may seem like the NI is behind in this department, it is not going to be a lasting advantage for the XOOM. NI will get its own Honeycomb update soon enough, and there is nothing to stop people from running other ROMs on the NI hardware. The NI Adam is in fact more flexible and holds greater promise in this field than the XOOM that will be restricted to whatever Motorla approves for it.

    General remarks: All that being said, we must understand, that most tablets wil be sold to end users scarecely familiar with the meaning of ROM and “root”. The device has to be usable and lovable out of the box. I think this explains why general availability of the NI Adam has been restricted so far, as I would not currently recommend it to anyone who is afraid of “flashing a ROM” or installing an update. The Motorola XOOM will have good usability and an updated and tested OS right from the start. I expect that all updates (and there surely will be some) will be installed easily OTA. The smartest decision is probably to wait for the early adopter crowd to file off the rough edges from these products and get your hands on one personally before committing to any one of them.