Tuesday 10 July 2012

Goodbye Xperia Play: Or how to Prolong your Smartphone's Life

We all love our Android Phones and wish they would work for ever. Fact is that our wonderful Smartphones are actually delicate pieces of technology, more delicate than you would think. And horror of horrors, Smartphone warranties don't cover all eventualities. So, if like me, you have an Xperia Play, or any other Android Phone that no longer works and want to prolong the life of your new phone, then you'll want to read this article and learn some facts and advice that Mobile phone carriers don't want you to know.

Firstly thanks are in order to Josh Y Gametrender's chief Android writer whose brilliant "Letter to Sony" article inspired me to put finger to keyboard and tell the sad story of my Xperia Play's death, and also what all Android users can learn from it.

Ways to Invalidate Your Smartphone Warranty
The Xperia Play was a much loved gaming phone when I owned it, despite many issues with the Xperia Play. The first time the phone stopped working I eventually traced the problem to the infant in our house.
Lesson One: Why Infants and Smartphones don't mix
Of course I was never silly enough to let the toddler play with the Xperia Play. But what I hadn't realised is that one day she had got hold of the charger. And doing what infants do, had sucked the end. Oblivious to this I plugged in the phone for it's daily charge (when will they improve Android Phone's batteries?) , the charger appearing dry, wasn't and the residual moisture caused the phone to malfunction.

Faultfinding for Android
Luckily there's a lot of advice on the net about resetting operating systems and hardkey solution when the touchscreen fails to work. However none of this advice did anything. What did was leaving the back off of the phone, the battery and simcard out and trying it again after a period of 2 to 3 days. The Xperia Play started working again, until it finally met it's maker a month ago.

Claiming on Your Smartphone Warranty
Learning from previous mistakes i was ever so careful to look after the Playstation Certified phone after that. Until one day, about 6 months after it's initial incident the phone's nine lives ran out and the touchscreen stopped working. The initial fault finding and net searches for solutions to Android Smartphone problems followed, all with no result. So with a heavy heart I took the phone back to the carrier's shop (Vodafone).

Lesson Two: Always back up your Android phone numbers, notes and other data. Google Play will save your apps and purchases under your account details, but other data is up to you to save.

What a Carrier will do with a Broken Phone
The initial period was ten days from the carrier getting the phone until it was returned. I wasn't worried as I thought under the terms of the contract that if a phone stopped working through no fault of the owner then a replacement would be given if it was unfixable. Why was the warranty invalid: After a ten day wait I got the phone back, in exactly the condition I had sent it off in. The manufacturer had claimed "the phone was water damaged" , points to note- being a soldier I had just returned from an Operational Tour in the desert, where the phone had spent 6 months in a waterproof bag! Naturally I was livid, and ven more angry when I found the manufacturers proof of water damage to be a blurred photograph of an unlabelled inner phone component! 
The shop assistant went on to explain that a Smartphone can be water damaged by not only immersion, but also high humidity and changes in the weather! Had I ever taken the phone into the bathroom? (of course it's always with me, or should I always carry it in a waterproof bag) He even went on to state that a persons sweat could be enough to cause a phone to have water damage.
Those are all fair statements but the point being that having a phone in a pocket is normal and high humidity conditions are expected in most places in the world, therefore it is a travesty to claim these as being liable for water damage!

Practices to avoid with Smartphones
Here's the lessons I learned:

  1. Keep all components of a phone away from children, even the charger.
  2. If it's raining , maybe you dhould consider using a waterproof bag for your phone.
  3. Avoid going into the bathroom with your phone.
  4. Never charge a phone in a high humidity environment , like a kitchen, this can cause water damage over time.
  5. And I guess that's just some of the steps you need to do to prolong the life of your Android Phone (and don't forget to get phone insurance and back up your data!)
A Happy Ending
So what happened to the expired Xperia Play?
If you're a UK Smartphone owner,  than you'll want to know this : Phones4U currently provide a service called JUMP. They actually took my bricked phone off of my hands, paid me 120 pounds for a non working Smartphone and gave me a new contract for a Samsung Galaxy S3. Now that's a happy ending!

Thanks to the Xperia Play for the Happy 14 months of dpad and emulated gaming we had together.
And to Josh for his superb article
And here's to the bright and shiny Quad Core future of my S3
Look after your phone's guys-that couple of weeks with a non working Android was very painful

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