Pondering the South African Memesphere – Looking for the Good in Everything header image 2

On Destroying Nokia E90’s

February 25th, 2008 · Posted by Hugo · 22 Comments

This is a post about ill-fated firmware upgrades, likely not interesting to the regular reader of this blog.

So, last week, I get my first “communicator” style phone, the supposedly wonderful Nokia E90. I had by then heard that a recent firmware upgrade comes highly recommended, fixing numerous bugs, dramatically reducing GPS lock times, etc. The latest firmware is, while “new” phones seem to ship with something like, with a date stamp of June or July 2007. A list of “major” changes can be found at All About Symbian, a longer list of changes for 7.38 can be seen at Symbian Freak. The point being, with a new phone, I’d like to run the latest firmware right from the start.

There’s typically the nuisance of backing up your personal data before upgrading, and restoring when done, as the firmware update effectively resets the phone to “factory defaults”. The plan was to upgrade before I have any personalised data, to avoid this step. However, my laptop seemed to not like talking to my phone. I ended up using the phone for more than a day before finally succeeding at a firmware upgrade on my sister’s laptop, so I did do the “backup/restore” thing, backing up to the MicroSD card that came with the phone.

The firmware upgrade on my sister’s laptop seemed to work without a hitch. The phone rebooted just fine. At that point, I selected “restore from backup”, and voilá, we have a brick (aka a paperweight). Somehow half way through the restore operation, the phone locked up. Rebooting dumped me at some or other error message urging me to take it back to my supplier. SIM card returned to my old phone, I explained in detail to the guy in the shop, as well as the guy he called for advice, what exactly I did. They decided to classify it as an “OBF” (Out of Box Failure). Doesn’t seem correct to me, it worked just fine until I made the firmware upgrade, but what do I know? I don’t work there.

So… today I received a new one (swapped out). This time I’m smart. No using of the phone until I have the firmware upgraded. Last time it was the backup-restore that killed it, avoid that and I should be fine, right?

Back to my sister’s laptop, run the Nokia Software Updater, follow its instructions by the letter. It failed a few times with a spotty internet connection, but eventually seemed to get through. Insert SIM card, start phone, set it to general profile, plug it in to ensure it has enough power to finish the upgrade, and click next… Just a few second later, “upgrade failed”, or something like that. Hopefully before bricking the phone? Nope, this one is even more of a brick, it cannot even turn on anymore, cannot even display a message stating it is broken.

Two bricked Nokia E90’s. Viva.

So now what? Tomorrow I return to the shop and say “oh, I just bricked another one of the E90’s that are in such high demand and low supply…”? Another OBF?

Does anyone know if there’s something like a “Nokia Service Center” in the Western Cape? If I’m lucky enough that the shop does another OBF and gives me a third E90, I want someone else to do the firmware update for me. I don’t want to end up bricking a third phone. Three strikes and you’re out. Or else I should go find out if some “Nokia Service Center” can unbrick a dead-as-a-doornail brick.

This is baloney. Is a working Nokia E90 with the latest firmware too much to ask? Grrr…

Categories: Technology
Tags: ·

22 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Rinus // Feb 26, 2008 at 2:22 pm

    Hey Hugo,

    Is it a Vodafone branded phone? I know Vodacom has the nasty habit of putting Vodaphone altered firmware on their phones. I had this problem with my N70. I once almost tried to upgrade the firmware, but luckily found a thread on a (European) site claiming not only will a firmware upgrade not work on the Vodafone N70’s, but it could possibly brick the phone as well.

    Hopefully this is not your case, in which case you have to find the newest Vodafone firmware and get Vodacom to do the upgrade for you (probably at a fee if at all)

    Chances are you know this already. A quick google search revealed the following:

  • 2 Hugo // Feb 26, 2008 at 6:25 pm

    No, luckily not. I’m with MTN, and I don’t think they modify the firmware. Seems I have to head to Canal Walk to visit the service centre, and it seems this second phone might also be exchanged as an OBF… nuts…

  • 3 Rinus // Feb 27, 2008 at 10:38 am

    Wel, that’s good then,

    The crashes (and brickings) are then very disturbing. At the moment, probability is not on the E90’s side. Unless you unknowingly did something very wrong (which I kinda doubt).

    What is more disturbing to me is that the phone gets classified with a OBF. Yeah, sure, it beats having them blame you for the failure, but it also means the fault won’t be found and the problem won’t be addressed.

    Well, I suppose it shows that we really just need better trained customer care personnel. Wishful thinking…

  • 4 ernest ikpe // May 6, 2008 at 7:44 pm

    how can i destroy a nokia 6300 model phone,which was stolen with my IMEI number.

  • 5 Hugo // May 6, 2008 at 7:57 pm

    Heh, I specialise in destroying phones in my possession. However, I believe you can and should contact your service provider, and ask them to blacklist the phone? Supposedly that makes it useless to the thieves. So that they will then go steal another one. (Um, though, that’s not how the logic goes, they’re supposed to stop stealing phones because it is useless to do so.)

  • 6 Brian // Jun 16, 2008 at 9:27 am

    I wonder if you finally resolved your problems with the E90? I’m now on my second E90 which is once again showing the dreaded “Phone start up failed. Contact the retailer” This phone was replaced in May 2008. I think there is a fatal design error somewhere… I’m with MTN


  • 7 Hugo // Jun 16, 2008 at 10:47 am

    On the second bricking, I sent the phone in. For “repairs”. They were actually unsuccessful at repairing it, and swapped it out for yet another one, under warranty. (So it didn’t cost me anything.) This new one had the latest firmware, maybe they installed it for me. Otherwise I would have sent it away for the firmware upgrade, because I would not want to brick a third.

    So now I’m a proud owner of an E90. At last.

  • 8 Gil // Jun 25, 2008 at 3:12 pm

    I just upgraded to Nokia E90. However, I am disappointed with only one function the phone does not have. On the Nokia 9500 one could write an sms and schedule it for later sending but guess what not on the E90. Can some please help it frustrating…

  • 9 Hugo // Jun 25, 2008 at 10:27 pm

    Ooh, that’s a nice feature, I’d probably be missing that too, if I had gotten used to the Nokia 9500.

    I don’t know what applications might be available for the E90 that might be able to take over that job… but if such an app already exists, it would be a pain that it isn’t completely integrated with the main phone software.

  • 10 platsak // Aug 6, 2008 at 9:06 am

    uhm…you dont get a phone with the latest firmware out of the box, because shipping from supplier takes forever.

  • 11 Mike // Aug 10, 2008 at 11:12 am

    Hi Hugo, I have the e90 and did the upgrade and also experienced the same issue. You need to do a “hard re-set” although I see that you have a new phone already. You may need this going forward so keep it somewher safe:

    To initiate a hard-reset (cleaning also some configuration files) following key sequence helped: The trick is by switching off the phone then press and hold Call key (Green key) + * key + 3 key + power button for a couple of seconds, when switching on. Hold them as long until something happens (screen goes black, if I remember right) Switching the phone on again and hopefully you are able to re-animate your E90.

    Then you need to rebuild your apps etc.

  • 12 Hugo // Aug 10, 2008 at 11:42 am

    Thanks Mike. Where does that bit of info come from? (How did you find that out?)

  • 13 Mike // Aug 13, 2008 at 6:50 am

    Hi hugo, I “googled” the error message and got a few hits, the one above seemed to deal with the issue of re-loading the software.

    Ps. Nice site.

  • 14 OBIAGELI MUOGHALU // Aug 16, 2008 at 3:54 pm

    i need help in destroying my nokia(6085) phone
    IMEI NO:359825014227471

  • 15 OBIAGELI MUOGHALU // Aug 16, 2008 at 3:57 pm


  • 16 Hugo // Aug 16, 2008 at 4:07 pm

    Contact your service provider to get your sim card cancelled. I don’t know if one can blacklist a phone, but I’d ask your service provider about that as well.

  • 17 mecer // Aug 26, 2008 at 2:04 pm

    The nokia “no service” center sucks.It takes them forever to fix phones. My E90 has been there for almost three weeks now and no word from them..

  • 18 Mike // Aug 26, 2008 at 2:28 pm

    Mecer, contact the centre and ask them what the status is. If you bricked the phone then send them the instructions that I have under my earlier response above and you will fix the problem!

  • 19 mecer // Aug 26, 2008 at 3:21 pm

    thanks mike but the guys at nokia are useless..try getting through to them!!

  • 20 Suvarn Maharajh // Sep 2, 2008 at 1:19 pm

    I am going to buy a Nokia E90 In September. How do I ensure that the E90 Im gonna get is the latest version 2 E90 with the bugs fixed and the flatter keypad that doesnt rub up against the screen? Im getting it from Vodashop at Gateway.

  • 21 tunji // Sep 2, 2008 at 5:06 pm

    Please i need your help, somebody stole my nokia 1100 with imei:356414019327090
    I want to destroy the phone since the person stolen it has refused to return the phone to me. Please assist.

  • 22 Hugo // Sep 2, 2008 at 5:16 pm

    It seems I’m turning into tech support for Nokia phones. Heh.

    I don’t know the answers to your questions, but I have certainly learned the impact of choosing certain words for the title. Methinks I should disable comments on this post soon.