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Nokia E7 Griefs Shed A Light On Some Important Symbian Glitches

on March 18, 2011 – 4:22 pm13 Comments

Over the past 4 years and more than 40 review and trial phones that have passed  in my hands, there are barely a few experiences I can count as terrible. One of the most recent ones though occurred just a couple of weeks ago and it made me see things in a different perspective. See, my luck had it that I received a faulty Nokia E7 unit, which had software glitches from the first time I turned it on and then hardware issues as well. While this was bound to happen, as there will always be that one unit that runs away from quality control in production plants, it isn’t the problems that arose that annoyed me, but the fact that Symbian’s only way of fixing them was Restoring and starting from scratch.

Here is a recount of my adventures with the Nokia E7 and the glitches I started noticing as I went along battling it to get it to a working state.

When I first got the Nokia E7, I inserted my SIM, turned it on and set up my WiFi access point as I’d much rather use bandwidth connection over WiFi especially that there are some data intensive steps when you get a new phone.

With WiFi set as my main priority in both Destinations and Web, I couldn’t get the Ovi Store or Ovi Maps to sign me in. I eventually noticed that my operator’s data access point was set incorrectly, corrected it and tried again to no avail. It seems that although WiFi was a priority, Ovi still needed access to my data connection, but unfortunately rectifying the setting mistake after having tried to sign in just once wouldn’t work. I did a first Restore of the E7, and when it restarted, I made sure the access point was correct before trying to set up my Ovi account even once. Success!

Except that didn’t really last. I continued installing some applications and setting up my preferences, but I still felt that things weren’t really smooth. A couple of hours later, I took an image to test the EDoF camera then opened the Gallery to view it only to be greeted by a black screen, no images, no folders, nothing. Restarting the phone didn’t solve that, nor did Restore number 2. Enter Restore number 3 where I chose to Restore and erase all data.

Four hours after getting the E7 and fiddling with it to make it work, I was back to square zero. Fantastic. However, everything worked properly, and I took my time setting up the device step by step, with long pauses to let it grasp every new change.

Obviously that didn’t last either as I noticed some battery and keyboard lighting issues with my review unit. Obviously, this was the breaking point of the faulty unit and five days later, it was sent home and replaced with a new one that has been working flawlessly. Insert sigh of relief.

What pushes my buttons is that this sort of user experience is unforgivable out of the box in this day and age. And yes, this wasn’t a prototype unit but a full packaged retail unit. Two days after starting to use the E7, I hated it passionately and it wasn’t even my own money on the line. If I had purchased that unit, no matter what follow-up customer service I’d have got, I’m pretty sure I would think long before buying any Nokia device again. I realize I might have gotten the dud of the lot, however the software issues are real and opened my eyes to these Symbian issues:

  • Why does the Ovi Store access point have to be set in the Web browser? Talk about confusing noobs! And while we’re at it, why is that the case with every widget? I know the technical reason, trust me, but it’s just plain retarded for average users.
  • Why does the Ovi Account set up phase require access to my data connection when I have my SIM card inserted in the device but not when I don’t, even though in both cases it eventually ends up fetching the data via the prioritized WiFi?
  • Why does Ovi setup fail when my data access point is wrong, even though it is supposed to use WiFi as its access point?
  • Why isn’t there a proper Error message to tell me that the data connection is failing and to check my settings? It took me hours of running around the Settings to figure out that the “m” was missing from “.com.lb” in my data access point setting! Yet, all Ovi Store and Ovi Maps were giving me were a spinning wheel or some cryptic failed to connect error, while I was sure it was using WiFi.
  • Why doesn’t a correction of the setting after a wrong connection make things work? Why did I need a reset and to make sure things were right before even opening my Ovi account setup once?
  • What is this problem with the Photos browser freezing on a black screen when there’s a corrupt image? I had run into this on my N8, but I eventually found the culprit and deleted it from my computer via Mass Storage. I ran into the same issue with the E7, but I didn’t have enough patience to look for the culprit so I restored and erased all data. I wonder what regular users will do when they run into this. Will they think their Symbian phone is faulty? Will they understand it might be ONE corrupt image damaging everything? Will they even think of restoring and erasing data? How many will have the intelligence to go look for that corrupt image and delete it via mass storage from their computer (because the built-in file manager will tell you it can’t be deleted)?

Now, Symbian might be moving into an End-Of-Life phase, as Nokia switches to Windows Phone, but they still project to sell 150 Million Symbian units. Do they plan on achieving that while just making Symbian more beautiful, or do they plan on fixing some of these brainless issues to ensure that those 150 Million customers have a decent experience if something goes wrong?

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  • Gary Moncrieff

    I have the exact same problems with a unit given out at MWC that I purchased, maybe I will have to reset it too

  • http://www.senseapplied.com Farhan

    It seems all Nokia made applications require SIM data to register , was trying Wellness Diary on my N8 without SIM and it never got setup. Btw Nokia does collect your SIM Information , as soon as I switched my SIM from N8 to just opened E7 , it greeted me with my login , I wonder what other data Nokia collects from us

  • PRAJWAL KABRA

    actually, i too had an bad experience with my nokia due to software problem and i started hating it as these nokia care people asked me to erase my data 3 times… Bt after going around 5 times to nokia care and having these stupid engineers make understand what the problem was, they replaced my device… Bt it seems to be very frustrating if your new phone does so… And eventually during all these i started hating nokia and stopped people from buying its downgraded phones and outdated people at after sales service,…

  • san

    all nokia haters are here using since 15th of this month no issues

  • http://janetalkstech.com Jane

    I got a trial C7 from WOMWorld/Nokia and I too had issues with the review unit I was sent that a replacement C7 didn’t fix, unfortunately. I thought I just had some bad luck, but here you are! It might be that WOMWorld is working from a fixed ‘pool’ of phones and there might be something bad in the water. I’m hoping that this is truly not what retail unit is actually like. I’m currently embroiled in my own N8 repair saga that’s leaving a nasty taste in my mouth. So I’m intimately familiar with the Nokia’s version of ctrl-alt-delete. Getting a little tired of it too. I want to believe … *sigh*

    • http://dotsisx.blogspot.com Rita

      Actually this unit wasn’t from WOMWorld/Nokia, but from Nokia Lebanon. I have received over 20 units from WOM previously and can’t recall any problem with any of them.

  • Krzysztof

    Nokia phones connect to internet with the GPRS/3G connection when you use the Positioning Methods like “Assisted GPS” “Network based” “Wi-Fi”
    But also when you set the connection badly, why do you expect it to work properly and are puzzled that it switches back between GPRS and Wi-Fi?
    Besides network operators either send you the proper configuration of the access point by SMS or you have it predefined in your settings. If you want to hack something on your own, take the responsibility of possible failure.

    That bit with corrupted image is weird, but whatever, at least it doesn’t stop your alarms from running…

  • Vivek

    So, I conclude that: Forget N8 and E7

    Android is the way to go now.

    There is only one way Nokia can correct their software problems:

    1) Adopt Android and make it Symbian Compatible.
    2) This would mean that all Symbian Apps will run even on Android devices.
    3) Finally Nokia PC suite won’t hog my computer memmory and will be more efficient. I had a bad experience connecting to the internet using my Nokia phones.
    4) WAKE UP FROM YOUR DREAMS: THE ABOVE WOULD NEVER HAPPEN

  • bcj

    “Bt it seems to be very frustrating if your new phone does so… And eventually during all these i started hating nokia and stopped people from buying its downgraded phones and outdated people at after sales service,…”
    Had similar experience with my X6 few months back and resolved never to buy any nokia product in future.

  • Greg

    I had similar problems with my N8, I thought it was an app conflict because I had installed Bubbles and then Big Screen and then the app wouldn’t load and thumbnails wouldn’t either and the loading animation would constantly revolve, and ultimately freeze and wouldn’t be able to exit the Photos or Videos app. I identified that it was due to playing MKV files, not that they were corrupt they worked fine on my computer, but on the phone they would not play.

    I took it to Nokia Care and they announced my phone was faulty and dead so replaced it with a completely new one with new IMEI. Again, that worked fine playing MKV’s at the start until I installed a few updates available in the Phone Update section and now MKV’s won’t play again. Once I delete the MKV file it’s fine and every other format like DivX and AVI and MP4′s all work fantastically fine. But since the updates (i’m guessing its that Quick Search update, that updated the Video Player to 9.22.53), it won’t play MKV files anymore.

    But I tried the hard reset and all of that before I took my phone to Nokia Care, and none of it worked for the error I described. And some of the idiosynchrosies that you have described that could be handled much better and make usability much easier, still haven’t been rectified. I’m mostly happy with my phone, but when stuff like this happens it frustrates the living heck out of me.

    • http://dotsisx.blogspot.com Rita

      Actually the N8 issue I had a while ago, with the Photos browser freezing was on a .mkv video. I eventually figured it was it hosing my phone, connected in Mass Memory mode to my computer and deleted it and everything went back to normal. Haven’t tried .mkv again, but thanks for opening my eyes to the issue. Talk about walking backwards in feature set! Only Nokia can do this, gah.

      Btw, I hadn’t installed that Quick Search update on my N8, but I did install the Video player update they released, the one that dded ability to read subtitles.

      • Shafi

        Rita, how many days ago you had this update for Video Player? I dont recall getting one.

        • http://dotsisx.blogspot.com Rita

          It was about 2 months ago, give or take.