The Anti-Tablet: $100 NoteSlate
NoteSlate is the anti-tablet: where tablets are always-connected, web-browsing machines, the NoteSlate offers a surface for writing and sketching with a pen -- no fancy keyboard, no new gestures to learn.
“Today all the devices are glossy, shining objects ... we think you will be covered with that anyway,” Martin Hasek, the NoteSlate’s inventor, said in an interview with Zive Computer, a Czech tech blog. “Maybe we would welcome something less network-connected, almost natural, looking as a paper, although very, very useful.”
The NoteSlate has a 13-inch e-ink display in white, black, blue, green, red or a four-color combination along with a patented three-button operation to save, delete or show the previous screen. Hasek has not revealed the technology behind the color e-ink displays.
The NoteSlate weighs just over half a pound with a low resolution 750 x 1080 pixel display, less than half the weight of an iPad with a resolution similar to a netbook. On the top side are basic inputs: USB port, power switch, headphone jack (for listening to MP3 files, the device’s one concession to multimedia), an SD card slot and a magnetic pen that also sticks to the display. It offers around 180 hours of battery life, about three weeks worth of daily work.
Optional Wi-Fi models will be available at no additional charge. Future versions will support sharing of documents, but purists may prefer to remain unconnected.
Scheduled for later this year, a free firmware upgrade will add Adobe PDF text viewer and OCR recognition for text. The team is also working on a “Natural” model that will eliminate the stylus and let users write with an ordinary pen or pencil on the device without marring the screen.
The basic model with black ink on a white screen, the all black with white ink, and the all white with black ink models will be available this June, according to the company.
Questions remain as to whether or not this product will make it to market: a working prototype is yet to be made public. NoteSlate's Twitter posts recently referred to the product as NotesLate and wrote: Sorry we are late. Thank you all for support! We have to reveal the whole new NoteSlate world at once!" Let's hope it's soon and the rumblings that NoteSlate is nothing more than vaporware* prove false.
The single color editions (red, blue and green) are scheduled to be available for holiday 2011 and the four-color version is expected in 2012. The NoteSlate will only be sold online at noteslate.com. Price: $99.
*Vaporware: A product that's not released until long after its announced release date or is announced and then never released, according to the newly released book "Geektionary" by Gregory Bergman and Josh Lambert.
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