Users fume as software update bricks Sprint HTC EVO Android phones

Invisible Shield for Apple iPhone 4!“Some users of Sprint’s new EVO 4G Android handset have reported that an over-the-air software update has made their smartphones dumb as doorstops,” Kimberly Hill reports for TechNewsWorld. “Sprint has apparently told users whose phones were bricked that they should return the devices to the stores where they were purchased.”

“The firmware update has ‘bricked’ [the] phones — a term not so affectionately used for phones that behave more like doorstops than multifunction communications devices,” Hill reports. “The screen is blank, the signal is gone, the phone is dead.”

MacDailyNews Take: Awww, no more fake iPhone.

Hill continues, “Blogs and Web sites are buzzing with user experiences, replete with expletives and disappointment expressed by customers whose phones are anywhere from one day to a couple of weeks old.”

MacDailyNews Take: You should’ve gotten an iPhone.

Hill continues, “In a comment to a ZDNet blog entry on the firmware update, EVO owner ‘gabato’ said, “My EVO is totally bricked. None of the Sprint stores in my area have new ones to replace it with. I was offered a [refurbished] EVO but I refused it.”

MacDailyNews Take: Maybe there are no HTC EVO phones because the screens keeps peeling apart.

Hill continues, “However it happened, the incident points directly at a flaw inherent in delivering software updates directly to a mobile device, Carl Howe, director with the Yankee Group, told TechNewsWorld. ‘Over the air updates leave the consumer doing updates without a net,’ he explained.”

MacDailyNews Take:

Hill continues, “Howe said, ‘If it doesn’t work, it can require the consumer to return a phone for service.’ In fact, this is exactly what Sprint customers are reporting. Once bricked, their phones can no longer be patched via the cellular airwaves or even via WiFi.'”By comparison, said Howe, the update process used for some other smartphones, such as Apple’s iPhone, provides a way for customers to restore a phone to its original settings. ‘While Apple’s requirement to use a computer and iTunes to update iPhones is a bit cumbersome,’ he said, ‘it does have the advantage of leaving the consumer with a backup plan.'”

Full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: HTC EVO is an ugly device with a low-res screen that doesn’t work and isn’t built very well that accesses a second-rate app store. But, hey, at least you have 8-megapixels, even if your images look worse than iPhone’s.

People who settle for inferior goods deserve the pain they inevitably receive.

And, before the Tardroids arrive to roll out the astroturf, the following exchange is from HTC’s Android Community Forum:

• Posted by AlanT on 22 Jun 2010 10:01 AM: I have been having some 4G issues so I was taking a look at my signal strength today and noticed that if I cover the top/back of the phone (i.e. over the camera) with my hand the signal drops from about ~90 dBm to ~100 dBm. As soon as I move my hand down goes back to about 90 dBm. FYI, this is happening while I am on 3G not 4G.

• Posted by buzz1 on 23 Jun 2010 8:47 PM: Talked to tech at sprint and best buy , all evos and HTC phones are having major reception problems and told me to exchange phone. I have 1 or two bars most of day in muliple locations and dropped calls constantly and bad connections were people complain all day long.


[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Tayster” for the heads up.]


  1. Apple’s approach means that you get several things:

    1. A backup of your iPhone’s previous state
    2. A method of restoring the previous state should an update go awry
    3. A conscious decision that you should update your iPhone’s software at a time that is convenient for you, as in when you won’t need to use the phone in a few minutes

    I love how people rail against Apple for tying the iPhone to the Mac or PC, but the fact is that it provides a good safety net for the user.

    Apple really does have valid reasons for doing much of what it does. Their people don’t just say, “Well, it’s easier to plug the iPhone into your Mac instead of updating over the air, so let’s make everyone plug it into their Macs.” Sheesh.

  2. Upgraded my iPhone 3GS while on vacation in Hawaii with no problems at all as with every other SW update from Apple!!!!
    It just works without thinking about it.
    … Trust in Apple!
    Software and Hardware are made for each other.
    …. Go Apple ” width=”19″ height=”19″ alt=”grin” style=”border:0;” /> ………. Buy AAPL stocks!!!!!

  3. I love reading the MacDailyNews but it would appear that I said something to piss them off. They deleted my post. It may have come across as a dig at apple but it was meant as a joke. If you want to piss off a dedicated MDN reader go ahead and delete it again, I am sure your advertisers would love that.

    I said , as a joke, ” I guess you have to look at the up side, I bet they antenna works great.” Sorry if you don’t see the humour in that.
    Also a side not that may make you happy, I plan to get an iphone and this is posted from one (1) of my 5 imacs.

    Thanks for letting me rant.

  4. Years ago, I gave my wife one of those primitive “personal organizers”; I can’t recall the maker. She spent a lot of time entering all of her contacts and used it for several months until the battery died. I thought her info would be saved by the backup battery, but no, that was dead, too. All her info was lost. Having a regular backup is crucial for the success of portable devices.

  5. I went to the beginning of the Evo 4G forums and I found this quote:

    HTC EVO™ 4G (SPRINT) With the EVO 4G, you’ve got the power to do more than you ever thought possible with a phone.

    More like you never thought possible with a iPhone. The iPhone doesn’t have awesome features like Turning into a brick and unresponsive screens

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