Recently, our daughter lost precious memories because her VTech camera deleted its own internal memory as soon as an SD card was inserted.
This is the email I sent to VTech:
Hi there. I was directed to email to this address by your Twitter support.
We have a 5 year old daughter, E. One of her prize possessions is a VTech Kidizoom camera. We recently moved from Pennsylvania to Tennessee, and in the process she left behind Ms. R., who was their babysitter for years, and who has become a dear family friend.
The internal memory of that camera contained a video and photos of Ms. R., that E. liked to play back to remember her by.
The other day, we were about to go out on a family outing. Before the outing I thought it would be good to get a memory card in the camera so that she could capture as many pictures as she wanted.
I plugged the memory card in, and gave the camera back to her. Suddenly, E. broke into tears: her pictures of Ms. R. were gone!
I’d seen this before. Thinking that the memory card simply overrode the internal memory when inserted, I popped the memory card back out. Then I went looking for her pictures and video. They were nowhere to be found.
I plugged the camera into my computer, and went looking through the photo folder. It was empty.
Your camera erased its own internal memory when a memory card was inserted.
I did not enjoy explaining to E. that her precious video of Ms. R. was lost forever. This is her face when I told her:
I’m a software developer by trade. One of the cardinal rules of my profession is that you always safeguard user data. It is incompetence to do otherwise.
If a camera manufactured for adults had this behavior, there would be outcry. It would get 1-star reviews, and any company that made such a camera would be falling over itself to issue apologies for people’s lost photos and a firmware update to fix the issue.
VTech, you broke a little girl’s heart with your incompetence. Your failure to maintain even basic quality standards in your firmware shows a contempt for children. This is why I will avoid ever buying VTech products again, and why I will advise my friends against buying them.
Here is their response:
We are truly sorry your daughter lost her pictures on her camera. Unfortunately there is not a way to restore the photos once they have been erased. This is why we do recommend photos be backed up to a PC, much like other digital cameras.
The manual does indicate how to proceed when an SD card is being used:
[verbatim, irrelevant quote from manual]
Again, my apologies that this happened.
I suppose it’s nice that they apologized. But notice that there is no acknowledgement that their product has what, in a camera for adults, would be considered a showstopper flaw. No indication that the issue will be taken up internally.
I can only conclude that as far as VTech is concerned, “they’re just kids”, so their memories don’t matter.