The Notion Ink Adam Fiasco Worsens: Why I Am Not Pre-Ordering, and You Shouldn’t Too

Notion Ink’s Adam was expected by many to be the dream tablet – a tablet that will successfully marry iPad’s elegance and usability with Android’s flexibility. Critiques questioned the ability of a startup with little experience to pull off such grand plans, while others, including me, hoped that Notion Ink might just have what it takes to succeed.


After a long delay, Notion Ink finally opened pre-orders for Adam yesterday. However, things have gone rapidly downhill since then. It’s been one disaster after another. Keith discussed some of the issues raised by Android Police and others. However, that’s not all that bothers me. Some of the other factors raising eyebrows and causing suspicion are:

  1. As pointed out by PhanDroid, NI takes your money even without asking for a shipping address. This has now been fixed, and was possibly an oversight. However, how many oversights can one ignore from a company that is launching an international product that costs around about half a thousand bucks (depends on the model).
  2. We had earlier pointed out the lack of any real pictures or videos of Adam. Once again, it’s possible that this is just a marketing strategy gone wrong. Notion Ink had been building up hype by slowly unveiling the product, and Rohan probably thought that holding back the hands-on videos will probably help sustain the air of mystery. The trouble is that you can’t just expect people to shell out money in blind-faith, especially when you are the new kid in town.

    Notion Ink has now stated that an in-depth video will be released on December 18. The justification being offered is that NI wanted to hold back videos and photos of the actual product, as they intended to demo it at CES 2011. That is a pretty flimsy logic, and also brings me to the third caveat.

  3. Although Notion Ink claims that they will be demoing Adam at the CES, as pointed out by Android Police, they aren’t anywhere to be found in the official CES exhibitors list.

    It’s also worth mentioning that, Adam is yet to receive a formal approval from the FCC. Without that, Notion Ink can’t even ship it to the US. Obviously, NI is confident that Adam will soon be approved. However, this only adds another element of uncertainty to the entire equation.

    Even if all of this is just a series of massive but honest mistakes by Notion Ink, and Adam is not an elaborate scam, I don’t think I can recommend Adam any longer. The main culprit being the refund and return policy.

  4. There is a lot that can go wrong with electronic gadgets, and that is why warranty and return policies are extremely important. Unlike its competition (Apple and Samsung), Notion Ink doesn’t have established retail presence or support centers spread across the globe. Hence, if something goes wrong, you will have to simply ship your device to Notion Ink. This is not an ideal scenario, but could have been acceptable. The trouble is that Notion Ink wants you to bear most of the charges, as a result of which, you will end up paying a hefty amount, even during the warranty period. Here are the relevant sections from the ToS.

    In case your products needs a physical inspection or repair, you need to ship the product with return shipping paid to Notion Ink’s International Service Centre’s along with an transaction number of 9USD payment made on Notion Ink Website as International Service Assistance Fees.

I hope that I am wrong and Notion Ink succeeds. I really do. However, at this moment things are looking bleak. I still believe that the device is real. However, we have to remember that Notion Ink is a new startup without any proven track record. There is uncertainty regarding how they are sourcing the hardware for the device and its quality. There are simply too many unknowns at this moment. It’s obvious that a lot of people are willing to give Notion Ink a chance – the Pixel Qi editions were sold out within hours. Unfortunately, I can no longer be among those recommending Adam.

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Pallab De

Pallab De is a blogger from India who has a soft spot for anything techie. He loves trying out new software and spends most of his day breaking and fixing his PC. Pallab loves participating in the social web; he has been active in technology forums since he was a teenager and is an active user of both twitter (@indyan) and facebook .

  • Just having a hyped up products base does not mean you can play Apple. Notion Ink should get that and get real. These apprehensive reviews are the last thing it wants in its first few days of sale.
    For once, this looked like a really good deal. However, the issues you brought up Pallab, I will have to reconsider buying this tablet.

  • Good one, Pallab, I’m with you on all points, and will be waiting for a review unit, which, if Rohan is smart (and he is), will be sending to bloggers and reviewers as soon as possible. Until then, I’ll watch from the sidelines to see how this plays out.

    • Thanks Artem. Yeah, the best way to salvage the situation is to send respectable bloggers and members of the press some review units.

      • Rajesh

        so, are you beating it up anticipating review units? You can’t expect it from an Indian startup…

  • Mark

    It’s clear that people have had the wrong expectations about NI. Why was no-one questioning the possible terms and conditions before NI opened pre-orders? We know that products from India will carry these kinds of T&C, and I HAVE seen worse, from the US even. I had a 5kg defective shipment and was asked to return at my own cost!!! Shipment and customs was was than the cost of the product in the first place and then I was asked to return. It’s just how it is when you buy cross-borders.

    Apple must be rubbing their hands in glee! Finally their iPhone4 problems might be forgotten!!!!!

  • Amit

    Notion ink Adam is a chinese APAD version with some extra chips like 3g and GPS, Though It has Tegra but than some Apad has Atom with 2GB RAM and 320 GB HDD. Even Rohan is not importing them in bulk to India and than distribute them o Indian buyers, He want to ship each piece seperatly from china with 50$ shipping fee and 50Rs/$ exchange rate while it is 45Rs/$.

  • Shaka

    I hope Rohan succeeds – honestly.
    But selling a product without showing it on shelves is not one of the best retailing strategies – I know that for sure.

    • mikes

      It worked in the U.S. with the Amazon Kindle (quite well). There are a lot of products sold that are mail order only.

  • Dave

    My worry, after seeing the UI, is that if (and this is a big if) Notion Ink is successful, they are going to get their a**es sued off (they “borrowed” a lot of things). Which is sad, but is the way things work. The good news with this however is that the product can still be a success in India as they don’t have the oppressive copyright laws the US has.

    Of course if NI doesn’t hit it big and flies under the radar things will be fine. However if Apple (lots of multi-touch patents) or even HP/Palm (“cards” style of displaying apps) really wanted to sink the adam in the US they could easily do so with massive amounts of litigation.

    • mikes

      uhh, OK why not source your claim about infringement.

  • Rajesh

    If “selling a product without showing it on shelves is not one of the best retailing strategies”, pre-ordering it without seeing the product is more stupid…

    As an Indian, you ought to have expected these goof ups from an in-experienced Indian startup…It s only the stupid Indians out there on twitter and here who make big noises over these (+ve and -ve) for something that doesn’t warrant so much attention.What has this company done so far, for you to talk so much about it?

    You guys are trying to create a new “” out of notion ink.

  • Yes, it is a scam. It is Mid April and people are still waiting for their Adams. Besides, the ones who got their shitty Adam are now repenting their decision. This piece of crap does not work without rooting, GPS compass is as directionless as they are. Dead pixels, broken HDMI input, Maild crashes, no market access. NI can not beat cheap chinese tablets forget about big boys.
    They have the worst customer support. Chief is cheap and it is a story of broken promises.
    A dream that turned into a nightmare.

    A betrayed Lover