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Acer Broke My Tablet

July 15, 2012

Less than a year ago, I bought an Acer Iconia A500 tablet. It's a great tablet and has worked really well, but in April Acer sent out the Android 4.0 update and, in so doing, broke an important feature on the tablet: screen rotation. I learned that if I reset the tablet and let it reboot a few times, it will eventually start working. There appears to be a race condition where the gyroscope is not being initialized properly.

Anyway, I waited a couple of months and contacted Acer about it. Here is what they said:

I understand that the screen of the tablet is not rotating. ... This issue is caused because the G-sensor on the tablet is not properly initializing. ... A new OS image was created to resolve this issue but there currently is no plan to release this image as a FOTA update. ... I have verified your product serial number and found that the unit is not covered under standard limited warranty. In order to resolve this issue, we can schedule the unit for repair.

Schedule it for repair? And what will they do? Install the firmware that should be released to fix the known problem?

This was my first and last Acer device. That's pretty rotten service, in my opinion. There is a world of difference between a broken device and a known defect introduced by the manufacturer through a software update!

Update: As required by Acer to fix the "broken" Acer Iconia A500 (by way of installing a new firmware load), I mailed the tablet to them. They returned it to me and, indeed, it had a new firmware load on it. Whether they had to open the tablet or not, I do not know. One thing that scared me was the service order stuffed in the box that said there were "surface scratches". I was afraid that perhaps the tablet got damaged in shipping. Alas, there were no scratches. The tablet was in perfect shape. Now, why would they have said that? I bet they say that on EVERY service order just in case somebody complains that Acer damaged their device they could say they observed surface scratches when they received the tablet. In any case, they were not entirely honest with this statement, as there are no scratches on the screen or elsewhere.

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Paul E. Jones

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