Yesterday, TabletKiosk sent out a notice to all of the purchasers of the first batch of eos announcing a voluntary recall in order to install a hardware fix that should improve battery life. They have indicated that they found a faulty component that was causing a significant portion of the excess power drain on the units.
The email stated that the units will need to be sent back to TabletKiosk for the repair and that they will be shipped back within 72 hours of receipt at their facility. The email provided contact information to request return shipping instructions. I sent them a request for those instructions yesterday, but have not received a reply yet at the time of this writing. It was unclear from the email whether they would cover the cost of return shipping or if that will be the owner’s responsibility.
In addition to offering to repair the devices, the email also offered a 25% discount off the purchase of any one eo accessory purchased before the end of July. I requested that they apply the discount towards my pre-order for the extended battery.
While I’m not that happy about having to do without my eo for a few days, I am glad that they found a cause for the problem and that they are offering to correct the existing units. With the battery life improved, the eo will be a substantially better and more useful device. It is expected that any units shipped going forward will already have the hardware fix installed, which makes it much easier for me to now recommend the eo to people who believe its feature set will meet their needs.
I do hope that TabletKiosk and Amtek (the actual manufacturer of the eo) won’t simply stop here with their investigation into the problem. Various testing that has been done by current eo owners has shown that, in addition to the excessive power drain in the hardware, the units are also clearly not handling system power management with the correct efficiency. The eo clearly suffers from a known Windows XP bug that prevents the processor from ever going into its lowest power states when USB devices are connected. Since the wireless and bluetooth interfaces are internally connected via USB, this bug is a constant problem on the eo.
Other laptop manufacturers have corrected this issue through driver and/or BIOS changes, so I sincerely hope that TabletKiosk and Amtek will make every effort to correct it on the eo as well. Based on the battery life that has been reported from European versions of the Amtek UMPC (which presumably already have the hardware fix), it seems likely that the fix will add another 30-45 minutes to the running time of the eo, but that a fix for this other issue will also be necessary before the devices can truly match the originally quoted 2.5+ hours under normal operation.
I commend TabletKiosk for finding and fixing this key problem with the eo and look forward to gettin gthe correct device. I now urge them to keep working on any additional fixes needed to bring the devices up to their full potential.