Notion Ink Adam Pre-Orderers Prompted to Pay Without a Shipping Address; Scam?



Yesterday, we wondered if some of you were going to be pre-ordering the Notion Ink Adam. While it looks like it could be a fantastic device, many of you came up with some great points: we haven’t seen a production model of this thing, they’re unproven, and there have been no reviews of this thing online. And when it was spotted at trade shows a few months ago, Notion Ink had nothing to show but a tablet with a non-customized version of Android and a demo app to show off the power of the Tegra 2 processor.

Yesterday’s unveiling showed off some screens of the apps that will ship with the device, but they could have easily been faked. They look nice, but why hasn’t any of this been shown off on an actual device? What’s Eden in its entirety?

And why are customers able to give you money without giving you their mailing addresses in the pre-order form?It sounds a bit fishy, no? Rohan Shravan from Notion Ink curbed fears of the whole thing being a scam by being very transparent and vocal about concerns – which Android Police documented well here – but these are just words.

Let’s talk about some of the action that has taken place over the past 24 hours: users speaking out about the unsecure-feeling, looking, and acting pre-order form had their comments removed. Users speaking out against the return policy and warranty had their comments removed. In short, a lot of negative comments about the device were removed.

The device hasn’t even seen FCC approval yet: how can they guarantee shipment if they can’t even guarantee it’ll get past the FCC?

What do you guys think? Is the Notion Ink really just vaporware? Are we being faced with another JooJoo tablet debacle? Anything could be the case, but until we start seeing the final production version of this thing in the hands of reputable news sources and users, I’d urge against giving any money to Notion Ink. They claim they wanted to wait until CES until they reveal everything, and if that’s really the case, then it’s just poor planning and timing on their part. But since they promised a grand unveiling on January 6th, then put your wallets away until then because there’s no indication that we’ll be seeing this device – in ANY capacity – before then. [via Android Police]

[Update]: When I checked yesterday, I was able to bypass the initial form with only giving a name, a phone number, an email address, and a country. The form following that only asked me for credit card information and my billing address at the time. No shipping info. It appears that has been cleared up. It still doesn’t explain everything else, though. We’ll dub this as “not a scam” for now, but we’re still going to suggest holding on to your money.

Quentyn Kennemer
The "Google Phone" sounded too awesome to pass up, so I bought a G1. The rest is history. And yes, I know my name isn't Wilson.

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  1. Yeah…theres no way I am ordering a device that I havent seen…I really feel like the device is not even ready you said…hasnt even made FCC approval yet!?! I really think notion ink is trying to sell before they build…they are a startup and maybe need some capital and or some numbers before a mass production order is placed…but even if none of that is the case….Why would one pre order if we havent even seen one in action…period..

  2. “WHOOP WHOOP that’s the sound of the poliiiice whoop whooop….”

    I’m sure most of my fellow Android geeks don’t know that song but it’s the first sound that came to mind. Go with it.

  3. Personally (and I’ve repeated this on other blogs, including Android Police), I’m shocked that so many have apparently been drinking the Adam koolaid and went ahead with the purchase. While I don’t necessarily think this is a scam, per se, I will say that this is one of the most poorly-handled sales experiences I’ve ever witnessed. Clearly NI was no where near ready for a pre-sale, and had no business attempting one. Aside from the mountain of technical problems they experienced, they also:

    *Had no concrete terms/conditions/return policies ironed out; these actually CHANGED halfway through the pre-sale (I’m’ not kidding, they were posted then taken down, changed, then reposted elsewhere). In the initial draft of the terms and order page, they actually requested SS numbers from people! WTF?

    *Had ZERO photos/videos of the actual working final product before pre-sale (who the hell does that!?)

    *Had virtually no communication with the prospective buyers during all of this fiasco (at least for the first few hours).

    *Had only Visa and Amex as payment options; apparently Mastercard was going to be an option, but according to NI the process for applying for MC usage took the here’s an idea: how about either apply earlier, or WAIT!

    I could go on, but feel free to visit Android Police for their very comprehensive roundup of the situation. And thanks to Phandroid for picking up on this story! ;)

    (and for the record, I did NOT purchase one)

  4. This has scam written all over it. Credit Card, Address, Phone Number AND Social Security Number? If you are dumb enough to submit this info you deserve all the pain associated with identity theft.

  5. I think that Notion Ink are trying to be honest, but they have grossly underestimated what is needed to launch this type of product.

    The original unit shown at CES was simply the NVidia Tegra-2 development board crudely installed in a case with an LCD. There is a lot of work – especially for a startup – to take what they had to production.

    I wish them well, but as it stands, other than the PixelQi screen they don’t have anything which is not going to be available very soon from a large number of other manufacturers.

    I for one an enjoying my rooted Nook Color, and will wait until the RIM Playbook and Apple iPad v2 amongst others are on the market before making any more tablet purchases.

  6. KRS 1

  7. I just went through the process of ordering one just out of curiosity. It has scam written all over it. Seems like you can select *any* country for either your ship to or your billing addresses. Now, how would that be possible? Who’s going to ship to Nigeria? It has a very unprofessional feel about it, like all those Chinese rip-off virtual store fronts.

  8. @derrick KRS ONE, i got that album.

  9. SSN? Really? You’re not embellishing that part? Wow! I think there are some serious grounds for investigation. A LOT of red flags going up all over here.

  10. WOW, that is just crazy!!I hope no one ordered one. I had little interest in this particular tablet but kudos to Android Police (and Phandroid) for bringing all of this to light. Social Security Number WTF?!?!


    i don’t see ssn field?

    pixelqi is sold out.

  12. it is very unfortunate when people don’t check facts themselves. i’m sure it was just an out-of-place exaggeration, but it is enough to falsely persuade individuals. i did not pre-order the ADAM, and i never had any intention of doing so as i am waiting until after CES when people have had the opportunity to review the device. i did, however, check the claim that they ask for your SSN, which as i thought was completely false, they do not ask for the SSN but they do ask for your CREDIT CARD SECURITY NUMBER (which is just standard business practice). also if you check the pre-order page you will see all of the security links and verifications that it is a legitimate business deal.

    i will agree with many that it is unfortunate, but Notion Ink made many mistakes with all of this, but they are young and this is their first product; so give them a little grace and wait until at least the video on Dec. 18, or wait until CES next month. a lot of questions will be answered in the next 2 months, so just be patient.

  13. looks like that might have been a glitch. Just went to teh site now and it asks for everything…

  14. A new/unknown company with a new/unknown product. . . for pre-order? Yeah, I’ll watch and wait.

    If they really wanted to get pre-orders off to a right start they would get a few devices to near complete as possible and loan them out to major tech sites for reviews. Then we would see them, have unbiased feeback, etc. . . After all, if it’s a good device then let it speak for itself. The fact that we aren’t seeing anything tells me to stay away, at least for now.

  15. if this is were scam why would they say the Pixel-Qi versions are sold out? but yeah, they seem very amateurish. Pre-ordering a device with “mystery features”? no thanks, i’ll pass!

  16. Really? They don’t ask for SSN? Here ya go.

    I don’t have the original page but this was still in my “paste” from when I copied it from their web site.
    “2.Information we collect
    When you visit Notion Ink website or Notion Ink store, purchase a product, download a software update, register for a program at a Notion Ink Retail Store, or participate in an online survey, we may collect a variety of information, including your name, mailing address, phone number, email address, contact preferences and credit card information. When you share your content with family and friends using Notion Ink products, send gift certificates and products or invite others to join you on Notion Ink forums, Notion Ink may collect the information you provide about those people such as name, mailing address, email address, and phone number. In the U.S. and India, we may ask for your Social Security number (SSN) and PAN number respectively but only in limited circumstances such as when setting up a wireless account and activating your ADAM. ”


  17. liliputing just posted a very well done blog that pretty accurately approaches the issues that Notion Ink and the potential consumers are facing.

  18. Clever of those guys to scam us by showing that the most expensive device is sold out so they won’t be taking our money. They trick us by not taking our money. How insidious can you be? And to defraud an international credit card company like American Express that has so much power world wide and not taking payment from mastercard a company that can do little outside the US to go after bogus charges. Yes it is becoming so clear to me. I really like the phony youtube videos of the Adam in action. You know the the device that does not exist. I think they do it through hypnosis.

    Did Notion Ink have problems with their payment services? Yes they even mentioned it in their blog. Is it some kind of giant scam? I think not.

  19. @Darkseider, to be fair they don’t say they *will* need that info, but for them to suggest that it could even be necessary for activation is unsettling. You don’t even need your SSN to sign up for new cellular service.

  20. Yeah I have been following this on androidpolice.
    I have to say that if a company like this wanted to have capital to start production, then they should of seeked out investors and not taken the money of indivduals. If they were going to do that, they should of started an IPO.
    Im very suspicious of why it would take 8 days to create a video.

    Nothing on this company seems correct. There obviously is no legal team. Raising my suspicions that this is a very poorly executed, underfunded company.

  21. I think the Adam did pass the FCC already (but not sure)coz Rohan did said in a blog post that he did something so that you guys don’t get to know when it passes FCC…

  22. I’m not going to call this an outright scam just yet, but A LOT of people were very excited about this device. I personally had no intention of pre-ordering a tablet from any company without a proven track record with Android devices. Moto, HTC, Samsung; I’m in. Notion Ink? Who? Coby? You mean the company that sells ghetto electronics at CVS drugstores?

    They were obviously hoping they could pre-sell these things 3 weeks before a bunch more tablets get unveiled at CES, and before potential buyers decide to go a different route. This is exactly why the estimated ship date just so happens to be during CES.

  23. @Darkseider – i would be very interested in the source of your information, as i am a little skeptical that you cannot provide a link to the original page. but assuming that you are correct, even in the way it reads is that it will only be when setting up the device and also not required.

  24. Unless I missed something in the pre order (went through the process right until the confirmation part) they did NOT ask for my social and DID ask for my shipping address.
    So yeah, this article should have a Scam alert posted for it.

  25. No, its not asking for SSN.

    It is asking for the Security code of your card.

    Be honest guys.

  26. @Zaggs my story is based on trying it an hour after the preorder link went live. Trying it this morning brings up a more secure checkout form once you’re past Notion Ink’s initial form. Could’ve been errors due to their site getting hammered.

  27. Scam…probably not…Poor execution,sales, and business tactics…I think so.

  28. i would like to think though if this was a scam, then Google would come out and say something since they are claiming to use the Android Operating System! In the past Google has been very protective on their software.

    I just went to the website to order one (just to see how the website works, not to really order one) and i could proceed all the way to put my credit card information in without putting in any other information at all. It is very strange!

  29. @zaggs, even if they didnt I sincerely hope you donnt get a defective unit becuase you will be out a good amount of money. Did you even read the ruturn/warranty info. Its ridiculous.

  30. Notion Ink is not listed at the CES.

    Why is that. Isnt there suppose to be a big unveiling.

  31. If you cant do any better investigation than simply regurgitating what some people said then you really do not deserve even this simple reply. No where ever on the pre order form did it ask for SSN – NO WHERE. Show me 1 screen shot anyone ever took where it asks for this information. Its crappy blog reporting like this that ruins it for legitamate blogs that actually know what journalism is.

    Of course some people will want to see videos of the product in action and professional reivews (not from this site I guarantee). Those people should certainly not preorder. All the preorder does is reserve a place in line. If after I see the actual product, I don’t like it, I will simply cancel my order. Yes there will be a 5% charge, but I am prefectly fine risking $20 to do this.

    I think once you do a real investigation you should post a prominant appology for repeating lies.

    I am not a NI fanboy by the way. I just happen to like cutting edge stuff (have a Galaxy Tab and a viewsonic Gtab).

  32. How do you know it hasn’t gotten FCC approval yet? The claim is that it has passed according to the blog but they’ve made it difficult to find in the FCC database, probably something like using a different company name. Personally, I still would like to see it before buying though, but that’s mainly because I want to see the difference in screens.

    One of the big reasons I feel they are ligit is do to the gingerbread date prediction. If this is a scam, it has to be one of the best ever. With all the videos of actual demo devices.

  33. Where did we state they asked you for your SSN? As far as I can tell, they say you might need to give your SSN for activation (which is ridiculous.) And regurgitate, I did not. Much of this is based on my own curiosity. You should try reading the article before you read the comments.

    PS: the reason you might not see that bit about the SSN in their security policy is because they took it off the site. I have no reason to lie, and I have no reason to apologize. Come to your own conclusion if you wish, I’m just telling folks to beware. I don’t want this to be vaporware – I’m excited to try it out at CES if they will indeed be on hand to show it.

  34. Well, I too was eagerly anticipating this device – if reality follows the hype/sketchy specs it will be impressive. But the last 24-48hrs have shown this is an immature company which, while it may have decent technology (though on that I am increasingly doubtful), it sure as hell can’t run a piss-up in a brewery, never mind a major global product launch. The fiasco of the last 48hrs has been amateurish at best – and I can understand why some might think them criminal. At the very leat the Ts & Cs ARE illegal, at least here in Europe.

    At this stage, I do not think this is a scam (though I would not be taking any bets on it any more). But I do think that the amateurish showing of the last few days shows that as a company, tthis stands about as much chance of surviving 6 months in the marketplace as I do of becoming the next Pope. And I say that as a protestant!

    The product might turn out ok. But I doubt the company will survive to support it. And I for one would NEVER sign up to the joke they have produced for Ts & Cs. Not even draft 2 or 3 which they have got though in less than 24 hours. And yes, they “reserve the right” to request SSNs for activation, even if that was eventually removed. Given they also tried to write Ts & Cs that let them vary Ts & Cs at any time for any reason – something they have already done twice today – and I won’t be touching them with a bargepole until I have the security of walking into my local PC World/Curry/Best Buy and getting at least some semblance of customer service if the need arise.

    Oh, and why are they not listed for CES??? Very suspect.

  35. Yep, KRS 1. good music.

  36. So, in Notion Ink’s blog post to address all the concerns, under the Global Warranty section…all they did was just put in a link to the Apple iPad warranty…. no joke! Are you serious, Notion Ink?? You’ve got to be f*cking kidding me!!

  37. Rohan himself admits to removing the policy temporarily: “I believe our team did an error by mentioning the policies in few readable lines. You will see the complete document reflected on the website in couple of hours from now.” Miscommunication, it sounds like. Things are starting to sound brighter, but I’m still waiting to actually see the tablet. December 18th should be interesting.

  38. @Quentyn Kennemer
    “You don’t even need your SSN to sign up for new cellular service.”

    Last time I got new cellular service in the US (11 months ago with t-mobile), they needed your SSN to do credit check on you. Cellular companies do a credit check on you every few months to make sure you can pay your bills. The only way to get new cellular service without SSN is with a pre-paid phone.

  39. @Mark I had to do the same when I first signed up with T-Mobile, but sometimes they’ll waive the need to do this and will just use your ID card. (I did this when signing up with Sprint through Best Buy.)

  40. this is NOT a scam. 1.They lack on finance to start production. 2.They dont have partner because they dont want to share profit. 3.rohan fears that competition will copy them thats why they are not sharing pics and videos. 4.rohan is a BTECH mechanical engg from IIT INDIA. (Google IIT india.) THESE ARE MY personnel view points, please dont make your buying decision behalf my comment. But i still think, very poor management from rohan. Boy, hire a professional guys, you are not an a all- rounder.
    My suggestion to buyers is wait and watch.

  41. I really hate to say it. But if you Pre-Order from an of these new start-up companies…you deserve what you get. Especially when its out of the country. Ill buy one when Amazon,, Frys or BestBuy has one for sale. Or any other reputable retailer/online vendor has them. I mean how long has internet scamming been going on, people that dumb honestly deserve it!

  42. Who on earth would risk $500 (for the PixelQi) on a device that’s had so many problems without seeing a review of it first? I guess if you’ve got money to burn go for it.

    Also, having dealt with plenty of Bangalore tech firms as part of my job, I would definitely need to see a review of the software first – that is always, shall we say, an extremely weak point.

  43. @derrickONLIN -> KRS-One – Sound Of Da Police

  44. Hi everybody. I think things are getting clear now. Do you people know that Notion ink lost their investors six months ago, then According to Rohan they found new investors. I think Notion ink DID NOT get new investors. I believe Rohan and Company decided to go on their own, hence the reason we see no real pictures and videos after march 2010. I am sure they have a dozen prototypes but to start production on a large scale they need capital to pay people in Taiwan. It is very very odd that people are willing to pay $$ for something they did not see but everyone must be aware of the Nigerian scam where people got emails claming that they can get millions of dollars if they send the bank account info to someone in Nigeria. So this explains the behavior of some who went for pre booking, I mean pre payment. Why will Rohan need one week to post the video.????? Why can,t we find info about Notion ink on the CES website???

  45. Really ? I ordered one yesterday and had no issues and no scam. If you guys are smart stay away from Adam. Why bother to wast so much space, time and energy trying to bring some one down. You did not drink the koolaid then why are you so keenly following it ?

  46. If it was a scam, I think they would have pulled it back in April, about the time of launch of the iPad, or early enough to make you think you could get one before Christmas. Waiting until other companies have decent tablets out would be really stupid on their part.

  47. Well, since Notion Ink is a brand new company I think a little grace is needed. They didn’t completely think it through from all possible angles. Besides how many tech start up companies had to do some pretty bold things (can be read by some as stupid) in order to get started.

    Yeah this is NI’s first go at it and it won’t go as smooth as everyone wants. How quick everyone has forgotten the data loss debacle with the launch of the iPad? Switch a few ICC-IDs numbers around and bam, over 114,000 individuals had some of their personal data released.

    As for buying a NI ADAM, I plan on buying the PixelQi version, but not till July when I re-enter grad school. This machine has generated a lot of talk for some time now (at least a year), if it is real, it is amazing, if it is fake…well, someone should be inspired to create it…

  48. While I’m confident the Adam isn’t a scam based on the sheer amount of stuff we actually KNOW about it, I’d definately say there’s some very poor management going on over at Notion Ink when it comes to marketing. Something this new and exciting that’s been delayed for as long as it has been should be fully exposed and out in the open for consumers to see. Nevertheless I would much rather have a long-awaited device that works well than one released ahead of schedule that’s full of bugs. I’m certain the Adam will deliver. Eventually…


    free! Absolutely free PUBLICITY is going on.
    Rohan and NI are gonaa more than happy.
    Publicity is publicity either good or bad.
    Now the peoples interest is increased more, they will follow this fiasco till end and When dust settle down, it will help NI.

    It will sell in good numbers and credit goes to NVIDIA, PIXELQI and ANDROID GINGER HONEY cocktail.

  50. Hesitate?…Hold on and wait. Buy when it is out in the store.Exited?…go ahead. No harm to you. No scam but poor management being a start up company.

  51. i want to clear ond thing here.
    Dont ‘dare’ to spoil india’s name.
    Only the worker ‘rohan’ is indian.
    Notion ink is ‘not’ registered in india.
    Rohan is here to make $$.

    Being a indian i will closely follow this firm about their registration, licens, tax returns. If i found this firm faulty i will personally pull them to court.

  52. BTW, Pixel Qi version has already booked (finished). Yeah, many have done pre-order. Video, review etc etc to be published on 18th December.

  53. If this is a scam, it’s probably one of the biggest in history. Anybody heard of a scam of this scale before? And considering both Visa and Amex is on the train I really don’t think it can be a scam. And claming the one with the pixel qui screens, with are their major selling point, are sold out just to make people think it’s NOT a fake??? Come on guys, theese people are entrepreneurs that have never had a large company before. They have a awesome product but they’re not good at marketing it. And they’re probably desperate for money like somebody said earlier, therefore tha pre-order. Will definitely buy the pixel qi version at some point.

  54. What a farce! I missed the pre-order release on the 9th but I’m glad I did now! Wouldn’t have gone anywhere near it. Have patience? Young firm? Give me a break, this lot have been trumpeting themselves for the best part of a year and just smack of amateurism, delivering nothing. The big boys will take over the tablet market soon enough and Notion Ink will find it very difficult to break through unless they replace lofty statements and dreams with solid business acumen.

  55. Notion ink is way to sloppy, stick with the other brands you can get from reliable sources. its just unprofessional.

  56. Horrible article research, relying too much on blogosphere rumours. There was no field requesting SSN. None whatsoever. Fields for billing address and shipping address were required.

    You should also ask yourself the simple question. If this was a scam, why would you disable the purchase of the two most expensive models due to them being sold out? A scam artist does not run out of inventory, nor feels they have scammed enough money!

    As for the question of vapourware, it is a possibility; there are several videos and interviews with reputable partners and a couple interviews on Mumbai-based technology web-magazines showcasing video of the unit. Of course, those could be mock-ups. In both instances, we could be witnessing a product that is still several months away.

  57. PixelQi have confirmed on their blog that the Notion Ink Adam with their screens sold out in an hour:

    So, take it easy with the scam alert.

  58. They took down my post, which may have been slightly harsh in tone but also contained constructive criticism and reasons why I will not be purchasing an Adam at this time. I don’t think it’s a scam, but I do think they are a very unprofessional company, and I don’t appreciate that they’re trying to censor legitimate criticism from their message board.

    The post I made (that NI deleted) is as follows:
    Rohan said:”Dont have short agreements! This is extremely weird suggestion and I will try to fight this till death. I have always found long agreements messy and incomprehensible, but it seems its best for business.”

    I don’t know if you’re intentionally missing the point and being a jerk or if you honestly don’t get it. The point of Ruddock’s complaint was not the length, although he mentions it in order to make his point. His point was that there’s not enough information in the warranty. You don’t have to write a novel, but you do have to write enough so that people know the answers to most questions they’re likely to have about what the agreement means.

    When people read a warranty, they want to know what their rights are and what the company’s rights are. They want to know what they can expect if they have to return the product. For example, the warranty says “limited telephonic support” but does not specify how limited. Is it limited to a specific number of hours on the phone or is it limited to certain times of day? The warranty says if I email a “customer care executive” will get in touch with me within 24 hours…will they get in touch by phone or email, and is this therefore part of the unlimited email support or the limited telephonic support? People also want to know what “tampered with or damaged or abused or under
    conditions of illegal use” means. If I receive an already damaged ADAM and return it, will NI refuse my return because it is damaged? This seems completely unfair, but it’s certainly possible given what the agreement says. How hard would it have been to a bit more specific so that people could know that they’re safe returning a defective product, knowing that if the damage is not their fault they won’t be held responsible? I sure would never buy a product with an agreement that held ME responsible for damage that occurred BEFORE I got my hands on the product, but this agreement seems to do that. Like I said, don’t write a novel, but write enough that people know this is not the case.

    I was very excited to get an Adam, but now after the debacle of the weekend I am not, and will wait until all the dust settles and people who pre-ordered have received theirs in good working order. My decision has nothing to do with the criticism blogs are directing toward NI and everything to do with NI’s unprofessional conduct. For those who are saying to give NI a break because it’s a startup, I’m sorry, they had plenty of time to get things right like specifying the details of what “limited warranty” means before offering a limited warranty. This is basic stuff. Nobody should ever offer a product for sale with terms and conditions that are so poorly written customers cannot possibly know what they mean, and I won’t buy a product from somebody so unprofessional that they think that’s acceptable. When NI and Rohan learn business professionalism, then I will buy my ADAM.

    P.S. If English is going to be the language of your target market and the legally binding contracts you make your customers sign, you should have a native-English-speaking copyeditor. In fact, you should probably hire a native-English-speaking lawyer write the legal documents in the first place, but that might be too expensive, and I understand startups don’t have much money, so at a bare minimum, hire a native copyeditor. Copyeditors can be pretty cheap and any halfway-competent one would correct such absurd phrases as “with an transaction number of 9USD payment” and “the product is found tempered”.

  59. I say who cares! The device is WAY too big and heavy! Also, tha fact it’s called the Adam is just to funny. Wasn’t that the name of Coleco’s failed computer? Nothing like naming your device after a failed device. Double failure?

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