Monday, 12 May 2014 10:34

'Tablet for hackers' no longer on sale Featured


An Android tablet that was advertised as an open device for hackers appears to have gone off the market, quite soon after its release.

The ZaTab ZT2 (seen above) was advertised late last year on the website of the small California company ZaReason, which also sells PCs and laptops loaded with GNU/Linux.

It was listed along with the laptops on the website, but now is no longer featured there. There are, however, specific pages for this tablet and also the first one which the company produced, but one needs to know the URLs to view them.

The page for the ZT2 says the device is now out of stock.

ZaReason brought out the first tablet in 2012; there were issues due to the processor, the Allwinner A10 SoC, as it had a habit of becoming unresponsive for minutes at a time.

In addition to this, wireless connectivity was flaky and the tablet seemed to have a mind of its own when it came to the auto-rotate feature. It cost $US349. The company promised a firmware update to fix these issues but never delivered.

The ZT2, which came out last year, had the Allwinner A31 SoC (4-core CPU, 8-core GPU) as its processor.

But with both products, after-sales service has been poor. A manual for the first tablet, advertised as having been written by top Linux writer Carla Schroeder, was never delivered.

And in the case of the second device, at least one customer complained to iTWire about a lack of response when he wrote to the company.

Ju Ping Chan, who lives in Lincoln, Nebraska, said when he asked for information about centralised user support forums, methods to root the device, and the fact that multiple touches were erroneously logged when the device was plugged into the power socket rendering the touch-screen damn near useless., he got no response.

But surprisingly, when he wrote asking which tablet case would fit the device, he got a quick reply!

It was Chan who recently informed iTWire that the product was no longer being listed.

The company's chief executive Cathy Malmrose has not responded to a query from iTWire as to whether the device was  out of stock due to massive demand or whether it was the result of poor sales.

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Sam Varghese

Sam Varghese has been writing for iTWire since 2006, a year after the site came 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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