16
Oct
MID7065_HR

With the slew of private label ODM / contracted OEM Android tablets on the market around the world, there are bound to be winners and losers. Coby, perhaps best-known for its cheap LCD TVs, made a big bet on the popularity of budget Android tablets over the last couple of years. The company had been pushing its budget slates on consumers since the end of 2010, reliably introducing more and more (... and more) tablets, until it finally settled on the Google Play + 7" + $150 formula many of its competitors continue to seek success through today. The company's last press release was published on February 7th, announcing that said $150 tablet had shipped.

It now seems likely that this device was the last, dying effort to get Coby turned around, though, as for the last eight months the company has gone utterly silent. Lo and behold, about six weeks ago, a press release was quietly published by an investment firm known as the Gordon Brothers Group indicating it had acquired Coby and all of its assets for an undisclosed amount, presumably from sole proprietor Young Dong Lee. Gordon Brothers Group boasts "successful turnarounds" at other electronics companies the firm has acquired and restructured, like Polaroid and The Sharper Image, both of which, I might add, have a contemporary reputation for being awful brands that no one respects in any way whatsoever.

GBG also managed to acquire Coby without assuming any of the company's liabilities; that is, owner Dong Lee simply sold off all of the company's assets, physical and intellectual, including the right to the Coby name. This means that for all intents and purposes, Coby product owners seeking warranty claims or those looking to sue for damages (Coby likely has some angry creditors) are left in a precarious, complex situation. The new owner apparently has no intention of honoring product warranties, as the transaction was structured as an asset purchase, not an outright acquisition. Customer calls to Coby's support line go unanswered, and perhaps most troubling of all, products sent in for warranty service in the last few months were never returned or replaced. Presumably, then, there is a big pile of warrantied Coby stuff sitting in one of the company's warehouses somewhere.

Technically, owners seeking damages for un-honored warranties or defective products may have legal recourse against the new owners under successor liability statutes for product manufacturers, but this depends on state law and the specifics of the claim being made. And realistically, a class action suit is really the only option in this situation, and the money or surety of success just may not be there to make it worth a law firm's time.

Anyway, so passes a tablet-maker that I don't think any of us are going to particularly miss - at least for the time being. Coby may yet live after a restructuring, but given the company's apparent failure in the Android tablet world, they might choose not to make a return to it.

Gordon Brothers Group, The Consumerist

David Ruddock
David's phone is an HTC One. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, imparting a legal perspective on tech news, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • Ryuuie

    Wow.

    I wonder what Big Lots is going to do now for their electronic section. They were the biggest retailer for Coby (at least from what I've seen :v).

    • sssgadget

      Walmart too.

      • Ryuuie

        Yes, but Big Lots' entire electronics section is filled with Coby and Philips electronics. Mostly Coby with a few Philips headphones or speakers laying about. Rarely, you'll find a Sony pair of headphones (that aren't that good). Big Lots stands to lose about 90% of their electronics section. :P

        Walmart can fall back on Asus, Acer, Sony, HP, Compaq, Gateway, HTC, Motorola, Toshiba, and I think they're still doing Eee PC which is Compaq anyway. They'll be fine.

        • gg

          Eee PC is Asus' brand, not HP Compaq's.

          • Ryuuie

            Oh. :v Woops. I knew that! hah

            ...damn, I had an EeePC too.. :|

            Well, whatever Walmart has that's just a renamed Compaq/HP thing.

          • Walkop

            Lenovo? Bought from IBM by a Chinese corp a while back?

          • Ryuuie

            Lenovo still makes decent laptops...these were bottom-of-the-barrel desktops.

            Oh eMachines!...which as bought by Gateway (who was bought by Acer). eMachines no longer exists as of early 2013 though. :v Oops.

          • dude

            Lenovo make excellent laptop with better prices than other brands, if you go for the more expensive model. But their shipping time sucks. Took a month to ship for my recent order.

          • Cuvis

            Lenovo's stuff is still rock-solid, though. In no way did they become a cheap crap brand.

            Seriously, the ThinkPad is still the gold standard for a corporate laptop.

          • Stone Cold

            I love Lenovo

          • dude

            Kind of depressing you equate Asus with HP in term of consumer electronics, the former is just so much better.

        • CerealFTW

          Are u saying all Sony's are bad or just those specific ones?

          • Ryuuie

            Just those specific ones. Usually they're some really poor-quality Sony 'phones.

          • CerealFTW

            Haha alright that makes more sense. Sony has some really good headphones but they have a bad rep cuz most people listen to the shit ones.

          • Ryuuie

            Oh most definitely. I had a pretty damn good pair of Sony headphones for YEARS until one of the sides died (always the left one in every headphones I try...no matter how much they cost.. :() They were so great, I bought my mom a pair. :v

            She doesn't have the problem I do with headphones. hah

          • CerealFTW

            Yeah I picked up a pair for my sister a while back. I like my Sennheiser amperiorsbecause because hihing s removable so it's super easy to fix

          • Ryuuie

            I've got a pair of Sennheiser too. :D I love em.

          • CerealFTW

            I think it's pretty funny when people with beats talk crap on them. It's said that so many people fall for the marketing. I sat next to this cute Asian chick on a plane and saw that she had a pair of ie800s so I chatted it up. Only time I ever saw Sennheisers in public

    • dandmcd

      Toys R Us I believe had the longest relationship with Coby that I am aware of. When I was a kid there were Coby 13" tv's, boomboxes, VCR's, and they have had the whole line of products since, MP3 and MP4 players, tablets, LCD tv and DVD players.

      • Ryuuie

        That could be true, I haven't been in TRU that much, I think the most recent was probably last February? I didn't see many Coby stuff there though.

  • Matthew Fleisher

    Oh no, what will Walmart sell for Black Friday this year?

    • Mastermind26

      Jensen.

    • sssgadget

      I am sure Walmart has tonnes of Coby inventory to sell this year.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ Artem Russakovskii

      RCA.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

        Which coincidentally went bankrupt in 1986, and has not manufactured any electronic goods or existed as a company since. It's just a brand now.

        All RCA products since then have been made almost exclusively by TCL Corporation and Audiovox, who are licensed the rights to the name by Sony and Technicolor (which is Thomson's new name as of 2010).

        Trademarks are weird.

        • VoiceofSky

          well , that escalated quickly

          • Simon Belmont

            That has to be the most misquoted movie line in recent times. It's "boy, that escalated quickly." Not that it really matter, mind you. You had the right idea.

            See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FONN-0uoTHI .

          • VoiceofSky

            no simon , no .. Leave me alone

          • Simon Belmont

            Never! I shall travel the Internet righting the wrongs of movie quotations.

            Ron Burgundy deserves better. Mark my words!

          • Mike Harris

            That's not quite what we mean when we say a line is misquoted.

          • Simon Belmont

            Quote (a person or a piece of written or spoken text) inaccurately. Sounds a lot like it to me. ;)

            In fact, it sounds exactly like it. But feel free to downvote me if makes you feel good. :)

          • Mike Harris

            A line is typically considered to be a misquote when the content of it has been altered to change its meaning/purpose/spirit. Yes, your example is a misquote on a technicality, but it doesn't really alter anything meaningful. I'm not saying you're wrong for pointing it out or correcting it, I'd just be a little more reluctant to label it a "misquote."

            Sorry if my comment came across as hurtful; I was just trying to be helpful.

  • http://planetmew.com/blog/ Christopher Glass

    I'm legitimately shocked. They had a good racket for a long while. Grandparents who buy their electronics at a CVS pretty much only had Coby to choose from.

    While I'm happy that Android won't be sullied by these crap-machines anymore, I have a feeling someone else will try to take the market now, anyway.

    • Ryuuie

      D2's comin' around. :P

  • Chris Martinelli

    Not surprising. All 3 things I ever bought from Coby died. 2 DVD players and an lcd picture frame. Cheap crap.

  • Simon Belmont

    I have a digital photo frame from Coby that I got YEARS ago. It still works great.

    I think I may have a pair of headphones from them, too. They were decent.

  • tokuiten

    Poor Coby.

  • John Saginario

    Kinda sad, in a way. Though all of Coby's products were extremely cheap and never lasted long. Can't say I'm that broken up over this, but there will be other cheap electronics to take their place.

  • ari_free

    I have a Coby clock radio. As for Sharper Image, it was always one of the most popular stores in the mall because people wanted to spend time in the massage chair. Oh...I also have a Sharper Image massage chair.

  • Mike Harris

    Coby never was – and never will be – as good as Jordan was anyway. I'm glad he's finally giving up.

  • Sean G

    This article is incorrect about warranties in Australia, deffective goods go back to the place of purchase for warranty repairs (the will often try and fob you off saying you have to take it back to the manufacturer but this is incorrect, if the manufacturer has gone bust then the store must repair (if possible) replace or refund.

    • http://www.androidpolice.com/ David Ruddock

      This article pretty clearly isn't about Australia.

      • Sean G

        Coby products can (could) be purchased in Australia.

  • John O’Connor

    Young Dong? Seriously, I thought the pots and pans naming convention was bad in and of itself.

  • Dan

    Similar story about HTC in 3... 2...