Notion Ink Adam Launch–Success, Failure or A Case of Over Skepticism?

Notion Ink yesterday announced availability of Adam tablet for pre-order and the company has been taken to streets (literally speaking) by US bloggers (a.k.a apple fanboys).

Endgadget caught them swapping renders (changing the size of bezel), which was essentially Notion Ink’s fault (I do not agree that it was so much of an unprofessional journalism, as called by NI team).

TC’s Crunchgear goes up to an extent of calling it a scam – though that’s too much to do for a startup with ambition as big as Apple.

Notion Ink's Adam
Notion Ink's Adam

Coming back to the title of this article, do you think that the launch was a disastrous one? Lets take a look.

Notion Ink’s Adam Launch – The Success

  • Buzz : The company’s blog post received close 9, 500 comments within few hours of the blog post. The post even made it to the #2 post in wordpress.com.
  • Pre-orders : NI has been successful in creating a loyal community of enthusiasts and they ensured that there was something special for these loyalists. The pre-order link was shared with commentors before it was made public, giving them the due respect and most importantly, enabled them to buy time to scale.
  • Pixel-Qi is sold out! Nothing beats success. A question you might want to ask is ‘how many units were up for sale anyways?”. Well, that’s a valid question to ask, but internally (for the company), it’s a success.

Notion Ink’s Adam Launch – The Failure

  • Scale Issues – Payment system failed big time (Mastercard transactions didn’t work at all).
  • Confusion regarding specs (finally – tell me what’s the internal memory?)
  • Pricing – $50 as the shipping cost?
  • Biggest screwup was in the Terms & Conditions, especially with the return policy.

Most of US bloggers have softly written off Adam – the way they did for $35 tablet.

As far as payment issues are concerned, this is a classic launch phenomena – you always underestimate the launch buzz (happened with Ovi store launch as well).

And now, NI has a new blog post answering these questions raised by bloggers, especially on return policy.

“Return and Refund Policy: Lets look at this page for a moment: http://store.apple.com/Catalog/US/Images/salespolicies.html#topic-21 This is one of the better policies followed by any company, others are much worse. For Toshiba, the number of days are 10. Let’s take a look at this one: link
return policy of dell, restocking fees of upto 15% applicable. Upon receipt of your return, Dell will issue a credit or a refund of the purchase price paid, less shipping and handling and any applicable restocking fees subject to this policy.
Ship the products at your expense, and insure the shipment or accept the risk of loss or damage during shipment.”

This is no black or white issue (NI has been at fault by over-hyping the tablet and in few instances, not delivering up to the expectations), but writing off a new product launch by an unknown startup (India based) doesn’t seem right (case of over skepticism?).

I would agree that Notion Ink has started off on a complex note – so many variants of your product, right from day one is good enough to confuse (and frustrate) customers, but that’s a company choice and learning will come along the way. Moreover, why would it take 10 days to get the product video out (do they need braveheart customers who can trust your photoshopped images to buy the product)? These are questions that the team will eventually have to answer and the earlier it is, the better it is for the brand.

As far as Notion Ink is concerned, the immediate (and long term) success is focusing on happy customers. Nothing else matters.

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