Productivity Concept:How would you design a digital notepad?

I was quite surprised to see this post really. The reason being that it comes from a guy whose blog is about digital gadgets and he is telling us that his main form of note taking and brainstorming tool is the paper notepad.

I love Tablet PCs.  They’re a lot of fun to use and play around with, but they are largely impractical for most folks.  Most people do not want to lug around a full-fledged computer to keep notes for work or class.  Programs like Microsoft’s OneNote are extremely functional but also over complicated for the average worker.  The inkpad would require no prior knowledge to operate other than that required to use a paper tablet and ink pen.

Well, fair enough. I do get where he is going with this. I do agree that if you want something for note taking, you can cut out the crap like mp3, movies. you dun really need very good graphics processing capabilities on such devices. Here is his design concept of this inkpad:

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.

inkpad2Here is a list of features that would make the inkpad useful in our daily lives:

  • Sunlight readable, non-color LCD
  • 7-10 inch capacitive touchscreen with stylus as primary method of input
  • As thin as an iPhone or popular ebook readers
  • Built in SD card reader to quickly transfer notes and automatically back up your work
  • 802.11 b/g Wi-Fi to share notes wirelessly
  • Ability to check IMAP, POP & Exchange email accounts and send ink notes via email
  • Internal processor built for the task, not a cookie cutter Intel Atom processor
  • Success of this device would require a low cost.  Pricing would be similar to cell phones/ebook readers.
  • All day battery life with at least 24 hr. standby.  The device would automatically go to sleep after inactivity.
  • The inkpad does not need full web access because it would be supplemented with widget-style applications which provide news feeds and social streams.

The inkpad could make our daily routines better by having the ability to easily share and back up important notes while reducing our dependence on paper products.  This device could be a success in business, education, and our personal lives.  Why isn’t this already on the market?  For $150 bucks and never having to buy another paper tablet or agenda/planner, who wouldn’t pick up one of these?

Some good thoughts on the comments section:

The device should have sync to cloud functionality so that all your notes could be accessed across platforms. Perhaps the notetaking apps could seamlessly integrate with Evernote. In fact, why couldn’t Evernote market this device with their brand?

t does remind me of my Palm TX with DayNotez from Natara. It was always ready in my pocket, Then I read wonderful reviews of the HTC Advantage and I bought a 7510 and sold the TX. The HTC is not in my pocket. Once it was in my outside coat pocket, I was seated, and it fell 16 inches to the concrete floor, face down. HTC replaced the screen for $448 and it never went into my pocket again; where is my Advantage? Anybody want to sell me a TX?

For just notes, it should be smaller than 10″ IMHO

-size of an iPod touch

-active digitizer (touch is too imprecise for my taste, even with a pen)

-battery that lasts 24 hours (8 hours w/wireless on)

I could see a market for something like this in 3×5 and 5×8 inches…especially in education (a less expensive LS800 would’ve been very cool)

Any bigger and you may as well get a full sized slate and an extra battery.

Of course, once you get the foot in the door with something like

What do you think?

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  1. Jim says

    There are several options for small note taking devices I have found. I wish I could name them. The price isn’t quite there yet but it’s coming. What I have yet to see that I think could revolutionize schooling is a full sized note taking tablet. As an engineer, I can’t possible take notes or do presentations on anything less than a 9 inch screen. The only current option is a full fledged tablet PC which I have not found for cheaper than around $1000. All it would need was a native “onenote” software and the ability to save in pdf or docx format to usb flash drives or sd cards.

  2. says

    i think you hit some good points there Jim. For one thing i believe you need something that is real hardcore. A stylus based solution is definately necessary.

    As an engineer i can see your need to scribble ideas, mind map and draw schematic diagrams such as class diagrams, ER diagrams or prototype sketches.

    9 inch will be of the right size. you dun want something too big cause it will be very difficult to carry around.

    Would you be interested in those dual screen ebook readers that are coming out now?


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