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A resident of the US state of Nebraska has found it impossible to get any tech support from the California company ZaReason after he purchased one of its ZT2 tablets.

Ju Ping Chan, who lives in Lincoln, says he bought the tablet as it was advertised as being an open device. ZaTab has produced two of these devices, both advertised with similar claims, but after-sales service has been poor.

As I found out myself, even things like a detailed manual, promised with the first tablet, have never been delivered. And bugs in the firmware have never been fixed. My coverage of the ZaTab (the first iteration, which cost me $A425 inclusive of postage) is here, here, and here.

Commenting on the last article in the iTWire forums, Chan wrote: "I hate to say this, but I feel cheated after using the ZT2 for a while. There were no responses to my emails for centralised user support forums, no responses for methods to root the device, and the fact that multiple touches are erroneously logged when the device is plugged into the power socket rendering the touch-screen damn near useless."

However, Chan says that when he wrote to the company asking which tablet case would fit the device, he got a quick reply! "I was literally left out in the cold to figure out the technical details, but not so for a fashion statement," he wrote.

He added: "One would not be remiss to speculate getting the nearly identical A31 powered Onda tablets would be a much better investment as at the very least, there is a dedicated place for it on the xda-developers forum - besides being cheaper.

"For a company that sells its product based upon its apparent openness and willingness to aid open source development, this is disappointing behaviour."

When iTWire contacted Chan, and asked if he had requested a refund, he wrote back: "I haven't requested a refund. But I have sent emails regarding the touchscreen issue and request for technical details on rooting the device. Both have not elicited any response to date.

"Instead, I was left to figure out the 'proper' way of rooting the device was to treat it like an Onda with an A31 SoC, and that the touchscreen only works as expected when it's on battery power or fully-charged if plugged in. Using the tablet while not fully-charged but plugged in, causes multiple touches to be logged.

Chan said he could not understand why he had to pay a premium ($US300) in December 2013 for what was promised to be a developer-friendly device; this, he says, turned out to be a rather misplaced claim.

"Unless ZaReason is able to provide a convincing explanation on their behaviour, I can confidently say that they should withdraw their claims for an open tablet," he added.

Indeed, some of ZaReason's behaviour does strike one as rather consumer-unfriendly. The company seems to want people to accept its marketing spiel without any questioning whatsoever. iTWire is the only technology website that has published a review of the tablet done by someone who had access to a device but strangely the company has not linked to it.

When iTWire asked Chan if he was willing to have us send his plaint to ZaReason and seek an explanation, he said he had no objection, "particularly if they are willing to create a transparent bug reporting system for their hardware. Even having bug reports marked as 'won't (be) fixed' would be better than the current silence".

iTWire wrote to ZaReason's chief executive Cathy Malmrose on March 28, detailing Chan's problems, and gave her time until April 3 to respond. She has not bothered to reply.

Which I guess gives one the right to conclude that ZaReason treats its customers with a fair degree of contempt.

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Sam Varghese

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Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the sitecame into existence. For nearly a decade thereafter, he wrote mostly about free and open source software, based on his own use of this genre of software. Since May 2016, he has been writing across many areas of technology. He has been a journalist for nearly 40 years in India (Indian Express and Deccan Herald), the UAE (Khaleej Times) and Australia (Daily Commercial News (now defunct) and The Age). His personal blog is titled Irregular Expression.

 

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