Thursday, March 17, 2011

The Occasional Curse of the SmartPhone & Why Can't We Get Decent Customer Service?

Epic 4G.jpg
First of all, Happy St. Patrick's Day! Now on with the post...
I've been a Sprint customer for years. Part of it is I'm a hometown guy and Sprint is my hometown carrier. Part of it is that I have many Sprint employees as patients. Some of it is just that I'm loyal and I've been a Sprint customer since they started offering wireless calling. So basically, I'm a poster child for Sprint. I've shown loyalty when things were good and even when they were not so good. However, a recent episode has given me reason to make today's post.
In October of 2010, I purchased my latest and greatest smartphone, the Samsung Epic 4G for the Sprint network. I've had Samsung phones before and I've found that i really like their design. I also wanted a blazing fast device with the ability to function on Sprint's blazing fast 4G network. So... I purchased the Epic 4G based on the Samsung name and the fact that it had a slide out keyboard which the HTC Evo did not (at that time). The device ran the Android OS and I was very impressed with the OS as well as the phone and how well it worked.
While I was in Chicago for the CDS MidWinter Dental Meeting at the end of February, I awoke on February 23 to find my phone had updated to the Froyo version of Android. I clicked the OK on the screen and promptly went into Smartphone hell. The update caused me several problems that you don't want to have on the road and away from all of your support gear. I lost my calendar (which was the worst disaster), use of my camera, my photos, my music, all of my ringtones changed... you get the idea.
The next day, Sprint pulled the update. It's no longer available... you can't find it anywhere. In the meantime I was stuck at one of the busiest meetings for me with very limited access to the data in my calendar. It made for a tough way to navigate a very busy few days.
When I came home I began to do research on the problems. That's when I learned that the update had been pulled. Sprint was recommending a hard reset to fix the situation. Wiping my phone clean was not an option for me.
While rummaging around the Internet, I came across a discussion site that had a fix for the calendar (the fix is listed below). Lo and behold, my calendar came back! I couldn't find anything on the Sprint website, but here was the solution! Why didn't Sprint provide that? I don't know.
The other problems were annoying, but not as bad as losing my calendar. However, having a phone with a 5mp camera that doesn't work, ring tones that can't be set, media that can't be played is a big pain. I kept patiently waiting figuring that Sprint would post a fix, a new update, send me an email... anything. But alas... nothing.
So finally I began doing some research to see if there was any news on when a fix might be coming. You know what I found? No news at all. It seems that Sprint either isn't planning on a fix or doesn't really care to let their customers using their flagship device in on the secret.
Oh, but I did find something! What I did find was a solution to the rest of my problems. While trying to find a news story on when Sprint might be considering returning my phone to proper working order, I discovered The Sprint Community Website where the 2 fixes I needed were finally listed. Why didn't I get an email or a text telling me that if I was having problems I could find the solutions there? I don't know either. However, I'm not keeping this a secret.
Sprint has a database that lets them know everyone who has an Epic 4G. It would've been fairly easy to have sent email and texts to every user letting them know that if they were experiencing problems that the solutions were available and provided a link. It's not that complicated. Instead I've been dealing with this for a month and had to dig & find the solution myself.
Here are the instructions for fixing both of the problems I've dealt with. If you've been suffering too, I hope this helps slay the beast. Enjoy!

- Upgrade of the Google OS from Éclair to Froyo (2.2.1)
- Ability to install applications to external storage
- Improved Bluetooth device support
- Bluetooth Voice Dialing
- Flash Player 10.1
- GPS Enhancements
- Improved OS performance
- Email PIN based authentication
- User friendly tethering for 3G and 4G

Important Notes:
- The new software version is: S:D700.0.5S.EB13
- Access the Samsung Epic Maintenance Release Blog for install instructions

- Released in stages beginning at 9PM on 2/21, with 100% of devices (on DI18) having received the update

within 4 days

- Update: EB13 is also available via an OTW download on Samsung's site. The OTW update will wipe your device, so

perform a backup prior to updating. I assume this can be used to take your device from an older release to EB13

(please comment on this post if you can validate this). You can access the download here:

Time Zone Reference:

US/Pacific 09:00:00 9PM 21-Feb-2011

US/Central 11:00:00 11PM

US/Eastern 12:00:00 Midnight

US/Mountain 10:00:00 10PM

[fixed link to blog]

[added time zones]

[added Samsung OTW]

UPDATE 1: SD Card Index

If you are experiencing issues with the Camera, Media Player, Gallery, or SD card, refresh your SD Card Index following the steps below and power cycle your device to ensure the refresh takes effect:

Menu->Settings->Applications->Manage Applications->Select All->Scroll down to Media Storage->Select Clear Data.

Update 2: Calendar sync

(solution from Dennis Staub...thanks!)

Select "All" in the grouping at the top and then select "Calendar" then under "Storage" select "Clear data".

Then go back to the App list and select "Calendar Storage" and do the same. Then open your Calendar then

MENU>SETTINGS>CALENDAR SYNC>Manage Accounts(Select your account) then un-check it, then re-check it then go back to the calendar and check to see if the appointments have sync'd for you.

1 comment:

  1. Wow!
    It sounds like Sprint is suffering from BCS. Big Company Syndrome occurs when big companies become greedy and egotistical. They are afraid to admit mistakes, and would rather try to sweep them under a carpet because it may affect stock prices!
    BCS is on its' way to be cured by a drug called Facebook and a secondary drug called Twitter which has empowered the consumer to bring the virus out from under the carpet and kill it once and for all.
    Because of social media, I believe all companies will stop suffering and start living healthier lives.

    Warren Bobinski