Sony Ericsson Service Experience Part 2

With my K790a acting up again over the past several months, and after spending more than a month trying out different means of fixing it, such as firmware updates and master resets, I’m left with a phone that still breaks itself at random, for the same reason I sent it in for service the first time. I got in contact with Sony Ericsson again, and before sending the phone off for service, I was instructed to perform a few fixes of my own, to see if they had any effect, including (yet another) firmware reload and a master reset.

The thing with the corruption problem is that it shows up intermittently. After reflashing the firmware, the phone may work fine for a month, or it may start showing problems after a day or two. As a result, trouble-shooting the problem with Sony Ericsson has taken a long time. This past week, after the final attempt at fixing the phone with a master reset, corrupted messages started appearing again, so I called Sony Ericsson.

Granted the phone is slightly outside the 1 year warranty period, but 1. I spent the last month trying out ideas provided to me by Sony Ericsson and 2. this is still the same problem I sent my phone in for the first time. I was extremely dubious a firmware update would solve the problems I was having at the time. I made that known, but that’s all that was done, and clearly, has not resolved the problem.

Not having achieved anything by calling warranty service, I was directed to call Sony Ericsson’s repair service number to see if they could do anything for me. Since it was a special case, perhaps I could get the service charge waived, or so the warranty rep told me. But after hitting the phone menu of the service center, I knew that wasn’t going to happen. The service center was an outsourced operation – what incentive would they have to waive the service fee, when they’re just performing service for Sony Ericsson on contract? The answer is none, and the lady I spoke to told me much the same. However, she did say Sony Ericsson could waive the service fee for me. I just needed to get in contact with a manager, present my case, and have that manager authorize free service. So it was back to Sony Ericsson I went.

After talking to another representative there and explaining my plight, I was put in contact with a manager, who explained that she had no power to waive any service fee. The best she could do was contact Sony Ericsson’s corporate branch to see if they would be willing to send a note to the outsourced service centre. I was to be contacted when any progress was made on that front.

We’re now coming up to a week since my last contact with Sony Ericsson, with no word on the matter. I think it’s about time I nudged them along.

Mobile World Congress 2008

What does MWC mean to you? Perhaps MacWorld Conference? To me, it stands for Mobile World Congress, and this year, it starts tomorrow in Barcelona. I’m looking forward to tons and tons of handset launches. Sony Ericsson has already preempted the event with several product launches of its own, including the (thus far) well received XPERIA X1, which is surprisingly running on the Windows Mobile platform. Specs look great, especially the inclusion of a 3″ WVGA (800×480) touch screen and a slide out QWERTY keypad. Although I said I was striking Sony Ericsson off my list of potential handsets, this looks like one hot device…

With that said, I’m leaning more and more towards a BlackBerry. If this semester has taught me anything, it’s that I need to get more organized. With so many things on my plate, it’s becoming difficult to keep track of the things I need to accomplish on a daily or weekly basis. I’ve found myself wishing, on more than one occasion, that I had a device with full PIM functionality and a QWERTY keypad so that I could quickly and easily jot down notes to remind myself at a later time. That’s something a BlackBerry would allow me to accomplish much more easily than a Nokia feature-phone. Plus, I remembered some information about a new BlackBerry due out later this year. Boy does it look good.

BlackBerry 8xxx

I’m especially liking the high resolution display (480×320 versus the standard 320×240) and the design. But with all the new devices that will be launched this week at Mobile World Congress, who knows, there may be many more devices joining the new BlackBerry and XPERIA X1 on my short list.

Sony Ericsson Warranty Service Experience

I guess it was a little premature of me to send Sony Ericsson an inquiring email 4 days ago regarding the status of my K790a RMA. A day later, the repaired phone arrived.

Even before I purchased the K790a (well, it was free with the Rogers contract) I’d heard some rumblings about potential problems with the navigation joystick. Previous generation Sony Ericsson phones had notorious problems with malfunctioned ones. It was recommended by some to stick with phones with a navigation pad instead. However, with its blend of camera and music playing abilities, I decided to take the chance. The phone worked wonderfully for a good 2 or 3 months before problems started occurring.

There’s little point in me going into detail about the problems I’ve had, since I’m already written about them. I set up an RMA with Sony Ericsson to fix memory corruption errors as well as the joystick malfunctions. The process was quite painless, requiring an email and a reply requesting I call to set up the RMA. After giving them some of the phone details, an return authorization case was set up and I sent in my phone. The support personnel informed me that the problems sounded like they stemmed from a software issue and that service would be required to update the software of the phone. If it was just the firmware, I’m not entirely certain why I couldn’t have done it myself and saved the shipping and time required, but regardless I sent it in. I was given a 14-21 day turnaround notice. Not exactly quick for something as ‘essential’ as a cell phone, but along the lines of most warranty service.

Luckily, a friend recently purchased an HTC TyTN II and his K790a wasn’t being used. He was nice enough to lend me his phone while I waited or mine. It was like I never sent my phone off to SE at all. However, after almost two weeks without hearing a peep from Sony Ericsson, I decided to take a look at the status of the RMA. The online tool only said that the RMA was ‘Pending’. The link for additional details did not even list that as a possible status. Seeing that the website was pretty useless, I decided to send Sony Ericsson an email.

Before 24 hours was up, I had already received the phone, so obviously the online status was a little out of date. The lack of communication (no email was sent, informing me that my phone was received or shipped for that matter) was also a little worrisome, although the turnaround time and end result were pretty good. Within the time I’ve used it since the repair, the joystick’s been working well and I haven’t noticed any memory corruption errors. The new software update even adds a Rogers Music Player application.

Not bad Sony Ericsson, not bad.

Sony Ericsson K790 Internal Memory Corrupted

So I believe I’ve found the root cause of all of these problems with my K790a. The internal memory is corrupt. It all makes sense now, first the corrupt text message, the random disappearance of all my messages, and then messed up wallpaper. More recently, pictures I’ve taken with the camera have become corrupt and I now get an error that says, “Errors occur in the file. This may render the menu unusable.” It is indeed unusable, there are many menus that are no longer accessible; they just don’t show up. I was going to attempt a Master Reset, but I can no longer access any of the menus under Settings.

K790 Error

To top it all off, I lost what text messages I had accumulated from the previous surprise deletion. Oh brother.

I’m going to see if there are any firmware updates available for the device. If that doesn’t solve the problem, Sony Ericsson will be getting a call from me within the week. What started off as a problem with the navigation stick really seems to have snowballed quickly. Anyone else having problems with their K790/K800 or is it just my poor luck?

Update: I see that there are quite a few people who are reaching this page from search engines, presumably with the same problems with the K790/K800 as I’ve been having. Key searches have been errors with the file and corrupted files in the phone. I’d like you point you over to this post, where I’ve detailed the fact that I was able to resolve the problem (at least for now) by flashing it with the latest firmware from Sony Ericsson. Hopefully this helps people who were as frustrated as I was.

More SE K790 Issues

I already wrote about the issues I’ve been having with the Sony Ericsson K790’s navigation stick, but if you haven’t read that, here’s the post. Since then, I cleaned out the little well for the navigation stick and it seemed to ameliorate the problem, at least for a little while. The problem is now back, but with a vengeance. In other words, it’s even worse. Now there’s not even anything that I can see that could be causing the problem.

Then weird lines started appearing on the home screen – at first I thought there was something wrong with the LCD, but it turns out the wallpaper was messing up. I refreshed the theme and everything’s fine, but it still leaves me wondering why that happened in the first place.

To top it all off, my text messaging box became full a couple days ago. Whether it was pure coincidence or a result of the full text messages folder, I got a corrupted text message. The next time I checked my messages, I (to my utter amazement) had an empty inbox and sent folder. I did not delete any of my text messages. Sony Ericsson must have thought it a good idea to automatically clean out the message folders when they become full. It’s either that, or my phone has more issues than I originally thought.