HTC Thunderbolt Rebooting IssuesAn 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:

  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
Obviously, I chose replacing the phone. It’s a crapshoot as to whether I’ll receive one of the magically unaffected phones or a Thunderbolt that reboots spontaneously. But it’s a fresh new phone and if Verizon is willing to foot the bill to send it to me overnight, it’s definitely worth the chance. Also, unlike the factory reset option, it sounded like there was some way that my apps and settings would be transferred over to the new phone — something about my Google account sync, or perhaps the SIM card. I was so happy about getting a new phone I forgot to listen closely at that point. I haven’t received the phone yet; it should arrive tomorrow. Guess what I’ll be doing with my Thursday night?
If you’re also getting those annoying Google Services Framework forced closings, check out this post Google Mobile help forum. Clearing the data as recommended solved my force close issues, and though I was nervous to delete my contact and calendar data, resyncing with my Google accounts replaced all the data with no losses that I can see. Whew.

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2 Comments on HTC Thunderbolt Rebooting Issues Fixed Soon

  1. Denis Mouton says:

    Verizon does not replace your phone with a completely “New” phone. It is refurbished “Like New” – I know I received one. And I’m holding it an not exchanging it – yet… I have read horror stories about the replacement phones. And have read the reboots kept happening to the replacement phones…

  2. jillkocher says:

    You’re right, Denis, it is a refub. I did the swap this weekend, and the phone is better in that it isn’t rebooting — no reboots in 3 days. But there is a super-annoying rattle in the ear speaker when I talk on the phone. Luckily I don’t use it as a phone very often, so it’s not a huge deal, but that is the challenge with refurbs. Good luck with your phone and a collective wish that the OTA comes soon and magically fixes everything.