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Note Slate – cheap note taker with plenty of charm

Tablets have increasingly numerous features these days, being able to deal with video and audio playback, web surfing, taking pictures and video (editing them), gaming and so much more. Don’t get me wrong, having all these at our disposal is great, and I couldn’t picture the tablet landscape without iPads, the Xoom tablet and so on. But these tablets usually come in pretty expensive and there is a considerable number of users who don’t need HD playback and gyroscopic gaming.

For them (but also for those thinking about having a simpler and more naive gadget experience), the Note Slate tablet is definitely an interesting option. As the legend goes, the Note Slate is a 13 inch concept tablet, which is mainly packaged as a note taker and a e-book reader. The screen, which is hailed by the manufacturers as low tech, has a 760 x 1080 resolution and supports pen input. The screen can’t be used as a capacitive display, so don’t dream about what Android and Windows 7 tablets can give you in terms of touch based interaction.

Red, green and blue versions will be available later on

Red, green and blue versions will be available later on

The OS is completely open source and UI has no clear distinctive feature or rules, except a homepage, which gives access to some basic functions. Anything else, you can setup yourself, using your own doodling and drawings. Any of your screens can be saved as an internal file and become a drawing and, of course, you can always go back to it and re edit it.

Navigation implies that you will move through screens and edit them or just create a new one- there are no dedicated pages for different applications or collapsing menus. In terms of design, the Note Slate is pretty thin, only 9 mm and is made out of plastic.

There are three buttons under the screen ( Save, Show, Delete), while on top there are all the ports: USB, SD slot, audio jack, power port and the share button, which allows you to send a screen over the internet to other people using the Note Slate. And watch this: the battery is said to last for as much as 180 hours!

Note Slate is a great tool for every kid going to school (and yes, I'm talking about drawing tanks)

Note Slate is a great tool for every kid going to school (and yes, I'm talking about drawing tanks)

This is the only type of internet connection you get, but if there’s a WiFi module built in there, I’m sure it can be tweaked to work outside the Note Slate network. The charmingly childish Note Slate website claims that the screen will mimic almost perfectly e-ink and the experience of drawing and writing will be similar to that involving paper and pencil. The screen supports only one color at a time, and the first generation will have a white background, while the pen input will be black.

Later on, there will be red, blue and green versions and even an all star version, which will offer all the colors. The first generation will allow you only to write and save screens, but later versions (estimated to show up around winter), will come with support for PDF support for e-reading, but also other popular formats for books, texts etc, as well as OCR recognition.

Sure looks like e-ink to me

Sure looks like e-ink to me

The pen is multifunctional, as it works both for writing and erasing (it has a “razor” on the other end, just like usual pencils). The first version of the Note Slate, powered by the Note Slate OS 1.0 (let’s call it that) will be available in June, for just $99, while other versions will continue to pop up until late 2011.

It’s an interesting concept, that’s for sure, and it will benefit, as I see it, mostly students from developing countries. This doesn’t mean that other people can’t give it a go, considering the sheer fun it promises in terms of drawing, taking notes and later on for reading and music player function.

About the Author
Mark is an Editor here at Based in London where he studies Screenwriting and Production, he blogs about technology as a hobby. He's mainly in charge with news here on the site, but he doesn't mind publishing some guides, tests and editorials from time to time as well.

Last updated: March 19, 2011 | Published: March 19th, 2011

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