Trouble Handling of Blackberry OS Upgrade

Posted by cfaurer on February 2nd, 2012 filed in NGOSS in Practice

Got a text message from my wireless provider letting me know that an upgrade for the Blackberry OS was available. Message heading was highlighted in red so I would be sure to take note. Followed the links and ended up at Blackberry’s own site and downloaded the Windows app that would handle the upgrade.

All went well and the new features were great! Able to record video, html email and more. Couple of days use and no problems.

The following Tuesday I head for the airport in Denver destined for a week in London doing NGOSS-styled SOA training. And, the incidents begin…

Blackberry starts crashing, can’t make a call without it crashing mid-sentence. End up having to use the pay phone. Make it to Chicago and have a short break before the London departure so get the browser going and sleuth a little, between crashes, and discover that I’m not alone in the world. Nobody seems to understand why the crash/reboot cycle is happening, but the general recommendation is to scrub the handset and re-install the OS. Not a pleasant prospect.

Give my carrier a call and end up getting routed to Tier-2 support in Canada. Explain the situation: I upgraded to the latest OS, worked OK for several days, and then suddenly in a recurring crash and reboot loop.  Support in Canada suggests buying a throw-away phone in London, put in the SIM card and return the handset when I return to the US. Ask if the popular wisdom of re-installing the OS will work. Answer: can’t hurt, give it a try when you get Internet access in London.

Not satisfactory! No idea what the root cause might be. Just re-install the OS, and if that doesn’t work plan on exchanging the handset at my earliest convenience 🙁

Once in London I’ve a day to adjust to the time change and get ready for my class, so some time to continue the sleuthing for the root cause. Work through the scrub and re-install cycle and am thrilled that it seems to be working! Until I disconnect the USB cable connecting the handset to my laptop 🙁 Struggle through the next couple days with, basically, a mini-brick in my pocket. Do a bit more investigating online but nothing definitive pops out. There are people out there on their 6th handset with this issue!! Hmmm, that just doesn’t sound right, does it?

I begin to notice that the message exchange icons are wiggling just before the crash. Leads me to believe that we’ve got a problem related to email or text messaging. End up scrubbing everything from the handset and re-installing again. Bare bones this time, no reload of any stored info. Still, no luck.

Recall a vague comment in the online discussions suggesting pulling the SD card. Have exhausted everything else, why not. Well, no crash/reboot. Put it back in, back into the loop. Hmmm

Backup everything on the SD card and reformat. Plug it back in and lo and behold. We’re up and running again!!

Root cause of the incident, incompatible format on the SID card. Why? I think because the new features in the OS upgrade needed scratch space to do their processing of incoming/outgoing data. The new html email feature actually wasn’t working after I first upgraded, but I didn’t realize that until it finally did start working after reformatting the SD card!

Remember the comment about people on their 6th handset return? Imagine the folks processing those returned handsets and running the battery of tests to find out that there nothing wrong! Well, that’s because the culprit was removed, the SD card! So, the handset likely goes back into the market as a perfectly fine working refurbished offering. I wonder how many times that’s happening!! Can I have some of that revenue leakage?

Moral of the story? For my wireless carrier and their partner Blackberry, they need a better model of the Product they sold me! The SD card is part of the Product and they should have that recorded in their ProductSpecification Catalog as well as their Product Inventory. The SD card is a PhysicalResource that is bundled with the ProductOffering. Maybe not on the sell/purchase side, but it sure is on the trouble handling side of life!

The call center staff should be working with a big picture view of the incident/problem space. Gotta know about all the Domains out there that could be the source of the root cause!

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