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Toshiba AC100 Still Broken – 3 Months After Launch.

Posted on 22 November 2010 By Steve Chippy Paine


About 3 months ago I bought a Toshiba AC100 ‘smart’ book for testing. While I didn’t believe it would provide me with a netbook experience I was very interested in continuing my testing with ‘always on’ ARM-based devices. Unfortunately, that ‘always on’ experience highlighted in marketing and videos, has still not been delivered 3 months later. It’s time Toshiba actually stood up, removed the false claims, started apologizing to customers and fixing this broken device. More importantly, potential owners need to keep fingers off until we can confirm the problem is fixed.

We highlighted the standby battery life problem just a few days after we got the AC100 and a few weeks later delivered the message direct to Toshiba at IFA. The product simply doesn’t provide anywhere near the claimed ‘up to 8 days’ of standby battery life. You’ll be lucky if the AC100 still has a charge 24 hours later. Many many users have confirmed the same issue.

A promised upgrade to Froyo was the light at the end of the tunnel that most owners clung on to but that is now many weeks overdue with no official word about a timescale. In fact, a surprise firmware update last week that failed to install was followed by another firmware update that doesn’t seem to have fixed the problem or updated the device to Froyo. Do you trust them to deliver 2.2 AND fix the battery life problem?

In attempts to actually get something useful out of the AC100 I hacked the bootloader (yes, forgoing any rights to a return or repair under guarantee) to install Ubuntu and after trying the update a few days ago, I now have a bricked device. I’m sure others will fall into this trap.

I’m not going to address this email to Toshiba because their forum should be alerting them to their problems (link) instead, I’m addressing it to current and potential owners. The AC100 is still broken and I advise you to check your standby battery life and if you think I’m right, return the device. [If not, please let us know – we’d love to strikethrough and update this article.] Potential owners should refrain from a purchase until there are clear confirmations that the problems have been fixed. Better still, pass the message on and highlight that the AC100 is not yet the device with the ‘ultimate battery life’.

15 Responses to “Toshiba AC100 Still Broken – 3 Months After Launch.”

  1. CaTiC says:

    Hmm, this is so NOT the Toshiba I’m familiar with… What is really going on? Has there been a reorg?

  2. Jleon says:

    Dexter_nlb, a XDA member published a fix for some of the AC100 problems:

    http://www.xda-developers.com/android/make-your-toshiba-folio-100-work-the-way-it-was-meant/

  3. Andy Garton says:

    FWIW I don’t get this issue. I did for a couple of days, but what seemed to fix it for me was disabling NewRob synchronization. I realize Chippy has tried from a clean install etc so that isn’t his issue, but it’s not quite as simple as it just not working for everybody either. Mine is a UK model with 3G (which I do use via an O2 data SIM card).

    Having said that, my Galaxy Tab is much more fun so I hardly use the AC100 any more anyway!

  4. paolo says:

    I agree with you.

    Had the same attitude in buying the machine, got the same problems,

    I’m really baffled by this behaviour by Toshiba.

    The market for this kind of devices is exploding, you can’t afford missteps like this.

    I now pin my hopes on the ubuntu hackers community to turn this machine in what should have been in the first place.

  5. Sontin says:

    Hey,
    first i must say: thx you for calling toshiba out. It’s a shame that they didn’t release froyo and flash for the device.
    But i have one problem: What’s you definition of “stand-by”? Because Apple is using this term for the “sleep” mode of their macbooks (air). And my ac100 stays nearly 10 days in the “sleep” mode.

    • chippy says:

      Standby here would mean screen-off and applications able to poll the internet. Check out the airticle linked in the post where I do a set of tests.

      • Sontin says:

        I think, this is the problem. Maybe you should ask toshiba what their definition is.

        Apple is promoting this:

        “Put MacBook Air to sleep, and it enters standby mode to conserve battery life for up to 30 days.1 When you come back to your MacBook Air and open it up, it’s on in an instant. So you’re free to go off the grid knowing you’re still on a charge.”

  6. tsh says:

    You can probably replace the partitions using rawwrite in nvflash, I saw someone did this yesterday? on #ac100. I don’t think there are any others completely bricked (unlike the folio, where APX mode seems to nuke it).

    • admin says:

      It almost seems like the device is in permanent recovery mode. Reviewing all the things I did, I can’t see that anything other than partition 5 is corrupt and i’ve been able to restore that.
      It’s time to get some partition copies from people I think! Thx for tip.

  7. Frank says:

    Same problem for me, although I was able to recover my ‘bricked’ AC100 after I have installed the update (had a backup of partition 5).

    Now here my question. Can I give the AC100 back because of the ‘false’ claim of stand-by battery time ?
    I’m in uk and paid with a credit card. Not sure if this makes any difference.

    • chippy says:

      In my opinion, its still broken from day 1. You have a case for sending it back. On the recovery issue, I have restored the original partition 5 but I don’t get anything after powering on. Can only go to recovery mode. Fancy making your part 5 available to me?

  8. Frank says:

    I made a full backup with the tool from this french site:
    http://www.blogarm.net/ac100-toolkit/ (it is in english, although I the blog is in french).

    There is a typo in the ‘backup’ section, ./ac100-toolkit backup [partition_number] should read
    ./ac100-toolkit restore [partition_number]

    My restore of partition 5 didn’t work at the beginning (same symptoms you have). I than tried to restore partition 2 and 3, which did not work. But for some reason (I don’t no why) I was able to boot.

    Happy to send you my original backup or my latest after the toshiba update.
    Please drop me an e-mail to discuss the best way (can send you a usb stick).

    Regarding the AC100, I think I missed the time window when I can complain. My learning from this is to buy next time from amazon which allows a 30 day return.
    Still a very nice netbook, just the software.

    On another note, “Softmaker” is developing a android version of the office compatible ms office suite
    http://softmaker.com/english/blog/?p=126
    (in german, use google translate)

    fr

    • chippy says:

      Thanks for details Frank. Maybe I need to try again! Contact me on chippy @ [sitename] if you have time and ill give you an ftp upload capability. Thanks again for your feedback. Id love to get the ac100 working again ready for 2.2 testing.

  9. kraa says:

    There was a bigger update on 23rd. Did it fix anything important?
    Does anyone have any news on Froyo, please?

    • Frank says:

      my ac100 is up to date. i can’t see any changes from the initial software version. Hoping still for android 2.2