An OTA (over the air) update for the HTC Thunderbolt is scheduled to roll out in the 2nd half of June 2011 to fix the Thunderbolt rebooting issues, according to my chat with a Verizon technical support rep yesterday evening. He said they had just received an internal technical memo on the OTA update, and offered a handful of options to ease the Thunderbolt pain in the meantime. Sadly the memo didn’t mention whether Gingerbread would be part of this June OTA update.
Now, I love my HTC Thunderbolt on Verizon: Android, 4G, big vibrant screen, lots of apps, unlimited customizations, deep integration with my Google accounts. But yesterday, frequent rebooting made me wonder if it was time to break up with my telephonic true love. I cycled through four spontaneous reboots in two hours: two while using Pandora, one in Google Reader, one while browsing email. In addition, every couple of minutes a force close notice popped up for Google Services Framework.
The forums are full of people ranting about the Thunderbolts’ battery life, connectivity and this latest reboot issue. Recently, I’ve been seeing more posts claiming that customer service reps are replacing phones. Finally, I called Verizon to see what they would do.
I was pleased to learn that many of the folks in Verizon tech support also have the HTC Thunderbolt. And why not, it’s a stellar phone by the hardware specs. Consequently, he was able to talk through some theories and experimental/anecdotal fixes for the reboot issue based on experience rather than a useless script. The options my friendly tech support rep offered were:
- Factory reset: Not fun, and not guaranteed to work, but apparently it works for some users. Make sure to back everything up and be prepared to reinstall apps afterward.
- Uninstall battery & task killer apps: Apparently the Thunderbolt has some issues with apps that run constantly in the background like battery savers (like Juice Defender) and task killers (like Advanced Task Killer). Interestingly, I installed Lookout Mobile Security just a couple of days before my rebooting issues increased in frequency. I also run Green Power Battery Saver and have since I got my Tbolt on launch day, but I disabled it today to see if that would help stability. It could be coincidence that I had these apps installed and am seeing more reboots, but it seems a likely contributor.
- Wait for the OTA update: If you can hang on for 2-3 more weeks the OTA update should be ready and may solve all our problems. But will it come on time? And will it cause even more new issues? The last OTA update that resolved the 4G/3G radio issues also caused the Thunderbolt rebooting issues. Here’s to believing.
- Replace the HTC Thunderbolt: If you’re fed up with waiting, Verizon tech support reps are authorized to replace your HTC Thunderbolt at no charge with a new HTC Thunderbolt. It comes via overnight Fed Ex delivery. The package includes instructions to transfer your SIM card and memory card, and a prepaid Fed Ex envelope to return your defective phone. Note that you’ll want to do this quickly: The defunct phone must be returned within five days or your account could be charged for the cost of the new phone.