I was looking up design reference images of watch faces the other day, and I ran across this great Evolution watch at Tom’s Shed at Cabanon Press.
I have to say, I really like what Dell’s design team has been up to. About 5 years ago I was shopping for a laptop, and the only companies putting out sleek and high build quality hardware were Sony and Apple (I consequently bought a 12″ Powerbook), while it seemed like all the units put out by HP, Dell, and Compaq were complete clunkers. Fast forward to today, and it looks like the major players in the laptop market are finally getting it. There’s more to a product than specs and cost. Fit, finish, texture, and materials create an experience that can weigh heavier on a purchasing decision than a few hundred megahurtz of processing speed, or a few flopps of GPU power.
Engadget got a chance to look at a unit from the new Dell Adamo line of notebook computers. They weren’t allowed to turn it on but they did get to poke around the hardware, which is my favorite part anyway. I love the all-black asthetic, and there’s something about the hinge setup that really appeals to me. I think it’s just how it’s a departure from the current trends, and it looks very sturdy.
Check out Engadget’s image gallery for more images, and the original Engadget post for a video. Apparently more details about the Adamo line of notebooks will be announced tomorrow (on the 17th of March).
When I heard that Palm was going to have a big announcement and this year’s CES, I wasn’t sure if we’d see the revolutionary and promising direction the company needed to stay relevant, or another misstep that would be lost in the noise and seal Palm’s fate for good. I have to be honest, I had my imaginary money on the latter. It wasn’t easy for me to take this stance though. The Handspring Visor Deluxe got me started in the world of PIM, and I didn’t move away from the PalmOS until 5 devices later. Unfortunately, the industry progressed and Palm didn’t.
You may remember Axiotron from when they released the Modbook, a portable tablet computer built around a hacked up 13″ Macbook. With a professional quality pen tablet screen the Modbook became a subject of lust for many designers and artists that have been forced to turn to Windows systems for a portable tablet.
Now that Apple has released the new line of Unibody Macbook Pros, Axiotron has stepped up to release the Modbook Pro, another portable tablet built around the guts of a 15″ Macbook Pro. The system is more powerful and has a bigger screen, but that’s not what has me most interested in the unit.
A major downfall of traditional tablet computers is that you lose many of the keyboard access you need for shortcuts and modifier keys while working in applications like Painter, Photoshop, Illustrator, Rhino, etc. Axiotron is trying to overcome this with the Modbook Pro though, touting their new Synergy Touch technology. This technology lets you use the pen while also using your fingers for touch input at the same time. System software overlays keyboards, numpads, or shortcut keys in floating transparent panels so that you can hold down modifier keys while giving input with the pen. If this works as well as they say it does I believe it could change the tablet industry. I’d love to see them license the technology out to other tablet manufacturers or even Wacom for use in the Cintiq line of displays.
As far as how they’re accomplishing these two input methods at once… I’m assuming it’s a capacitance touch setup for the hand input, and the typical RF Wacom technology for the pen. They must have a threshold set on the capacitance input to ignore a surface area much larger than a couple fingers, otherwise the palm of your pen-hand would be delivering all sorts of false input while you operate the pen.
The Modbook Pro is a pretty hefty investment at $5,000, but I imagine there are a few professionals who will see the pricetag as a bargain for such a mobile workstation. It will be interesting to see how Axiotron does with this product, and what else they’ll come out with.