Adventures in Smartphone Brick Scares

I love a good electronic device. The shine from a brand new toy always makes my day just a little bit brighter. I’m all about the open-source. If I can’t play and tinker with a device, you will lose the love (shout out to Apple). No matter how awesome and shiny it is, I need the ability to change damn near everything on the device.

Years after dealing with Nokia flip phones, my first forray into smart phone paradise came in the form of Nexus One. Yes, I skip over the G1 but I heard rumors of an even better Google phone. I rather wait for awesomeness than get a quick fix.

So, imagine my shock and dismay when my Nexus One refuse to wake from sleep. I was pressing that power button like my life depended on it. The power button bent to my will eventually but I shrugged it off since the power button been having fits lately.   Unfortunately, I was wrong and it was my Nexus One’s last scream of help. Later, I tried to check on a text that I receive and press the power button.

Waits some more…
Press down…
freaking out…

I plug the phone into my wall charger. The light comes on. That’s always a good sign. I press the power button again. Nothing. Nada. Zilch. Any other word that means nothing in another language. I remove the battery hoping once I put it back in the phone will restart. Nothing. I concede to the unthinkable. I need to have my phone serviced. The power button failing is a known issue which occurs after a couple of months for a particular batch of the Nexus One. I assumed I was in the clear since I had my phone for over a year. Apparently, I was wrong. So the battle starts.

BATTLE ONE: Google Help Site

This wasn’t even a battle.  It was a massacre.  I’m sorry but the Google Mobile help site sucks especially for anything Nexus One related pass basic user interface questions.  I couldn’t find a number to Google Help and even the contact page was a treasure hunt in itself.  There should always be a link to general contact information.

BATTLE TWO:  Cell Phone Service Provider

I call my cellphone service provider since I had protection warranty plan on my phone. After a long drawn out conversation, the only way to use my plan is if my phone has water damage, lost, stolen, or physical damage. Um, isn’t the power button not working at all considered physical damage? Nope… unless I want to rip the damn button off. Sigh. At least, I got the Google service support number for Nexus One. Since I couldn’t use my cellphone, I am happy to inform you that using Google Voice to call through Google Talk is amazingly simple and has great voice quality. Too bad I just got a recording to call another number… HTC.


I made the call to HTC. The process to send your phone for repair was explained to me and I must admit it was pretty simple. My only grip was the fact that my warranty will be voided if my phone was rooted EVEN IF the issue with the phone has nothing to do with the software. I thought this was ridiculous. So if I have a KNOWN HARDWARE ISSUE that has nothing to do with software. I can’t get it repair for free cause my phone is rooted. Well played HTC.. well played. So, I had a decision to make… Do I send my phone in and see what happens? Or do I just say f–k this and buy a new phone?


One, I’m not too excited about sending my phone for repair and not having it for a week. Two, I’m not too keen on paying to get my phone fix for a KNOWN HARDWARE ISSUE. Bump that noise, PARTNER!

First action item is to get my damn phone to turn back on. I tried the “take out the battery put back in” method to no avail. Is there another way? Thinking back to my trials in rooting the phone. I remember when it was plugged in through USB port I was able to turn it back on when I took the battery out and in. So, I googled the power button issue and ways to turn the phone back on. A HA! There was a way to turn the phone back on without using the power button. Two grueling and curse filled minutes later.
My phone rebooted and that beautiful little robot danced back into my heart.

Second action item is to reconfigure my phone to not use the damn power button. My phone had Cyanogen installed and there was an option to use the trackball to wake the phone intead of the power button. In the notification power widget, I added widegt buttons to put the phone to sleep and use airplane mode. Lastly, I installed an app called Quick Boot which gave me options to reboot, go to recovery or bootloader and power off the phone.

There you have it. I have my Nexus One back, found a way to avoid the power button, and no longer need to send my phone in for repair. Now, I don’t have to rush to find my next smartphone.


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