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 126.96.36.199, while “new” phones seem to ship with something like 188.8.131.52, 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…