Matthew Dillon at GottaBeMobile has come up with a great concept for a new tablet device that he calls “ink pad”. The most entertaining thing about the concept is that I have designed several of these on paper over the years myself. My scribbles are recorded in various notebooks lying around the house. Like Matthew, I too love Tablet PCs but have always felt that there is still a yet to be developed device that would be better.
The “ink pad” would be a simple, practical, and useful device. It would not be like the overkill electronic journal we’ve seen in mock-up videos from Microsoft’s Courier. This inkable tablet would finally satisfy what’s been missing with traditional Tablet PCs. The inkpad would require no prior knowledge to operate other than that required to use a paper tablet and ink pen.
The primary method of input would be a stylus and the main function would be recording notes. It would resemble a traditional notepad in size and design. It would differ from the rumored Apple Tablet and Crunchpad as those devices focus on media and entertainment. The inkpad would focus on productivity, handwriting, and drawings; there would be no need for 3D rendering capabilities, extreme gaming, or HD video viewing. The name of the game would be note taking and the focus of this device would be as a tool rather than an instrument of pleasure.
While I agree with most of Matthew’s thoughts, there are a couple of things I would do differently. First I would change the screen size a little bit. A seven inch screen is pretty small. I would like an “ink pad” that is approximately the same size as a standard 8.5” x 11” college ruled notebook. Something the size of the Kindle DX would be perfect. Second, the idea of a device like this without full web access seems unnecessary. With such wide availability of 3G coverage it would be a shame to exclude this functionality from such a great device. How about making it an option with no mandatory activation required? Yeah, I like that idea. The sunlight readable LCD screen and extended battery life can both be accomplished with the use of Pixel Qi technology which is getting closer and closer to reality. Finally I would be sure to include some form of universally recognized file format for storing notes. Sharing information is great as long as you can open the file.
Kudos to Matthew for visualizing such a great device. When do we start development?