Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Motorola Broke My Phone

I have a Moto G (2014) second generation model 1064.  I had been waiting for the Android Marshmallow release because the 8 gigs of space isn't enough for the OS and apps.  I had bought it because it had an SD card slot, thinking that would keep the lack of space in main storage.  I had heard that Marshmallow allowed you to move more things onto the SD card and out of internal storage.

I finally got notification from Motorola via my phone that I could do an OTA update to Marshmallow.  I went for it.  When it finished the update the phone was sitting at a dead android with the error message "No Command".  I did some research online and several people said that if I did a factory data reset and clear the cache it would bring it back.  Some said they had to do it repeatedly before it came back.  I did that and it did not fix it.

I initiated a chat session with customer support.  They did next to no trouble shooting before telling me I was out of warranty.  The only solution they had for me was to buy a "Like New" phone of the same model for $75.  Had they offered the next model year of phone to make up for crashing my phone I might have taken it, but to give me a used phone of the same model when they broke it was insulting.  They wouldn't even admit that it was refurbished.  They just kept saying "Like New".

I asked for a supervisor and she just echoes the stuff the first person was saying.

They both copied and pasted into chat large amounts of text rather than answering my questions or giving a solution.

When your company's update breaks a functioning phone, the warranty should not matter.  Is it ok for them to break my phone if it is out of warranty?

I fought with the phone for a couple of weeks, looking online for how to get it back to how it was when I bought it to try to start over.  I couldn't find anywhere where Motorola had put the factory images for download.

At one point I found a backup of Marshmallow from my model of phone.  I restored the backup to my phone and things seemed to work well, except I could not send or receive texts.  I also noticed that some of the screens were in Portuguese.  It turned out that the backup was of a Brazilian version of Marshmallow.

I ended up having to root my wife's phone, which is the same model, and do a backup of it and restore it to my phone.  This took several days and I was risking breaking my wife's phone as well.

Both phones appear to be working now, but the boot loaders are stuck in an unlocked state.  I have no idea what issues that causes.

Average Users
I am a computer programmer, but don't program Android.  After a lot of research and work I was able to figure out how to get it working, but what about the average user that doesn't understand installing an operating system or creating a backup and restoring it.  How would they recover from this?

It is not right for a company to abandon a customer after the customer followed their direction to update the phone and the update kills the phone's ability to boot.

Will I Buy Another Motorola Device?
I had purchased the Moto G 1st generation.  One for me and one for my wife.  We then purchased the 2nd generation and gave our phones to our daughters.  While I wasn't happy that they abandoned providing OS updates to the first gen phones and were slow to roll out updates to the 2nd gen phones, I was considering getting a couple more Moto Gs this year to get some updated hardware.

Previously I only passively looked at other phones and nothing grabbed my attention that it was as good as the Moto G in that price range.  I now am seriously researching other phones and considering paying a little bit more, just to get away from Motorola.

Will I buy another Motorola device?  Hard to say right now, but I am highly motivated to look elsewhere.  Before Motorola broke my phone and tried to extort money out of me, I was pretty locked in to staying with Motorola.  Now I am very motivated to find another brand.  If I find another brand that I am comfortable with I will take it.  I also, because of my knowledge of technology, am the person my family comes to for recommendations of hardware to buy.  The brand I find will also be the brand my family likely buys.