Bummer: Motorola Q requires "reboots" a little too often

Bummer: Motorola Q requires "reboots" a little too often

Summary: This is another in what is now a series of installments about my experiences with Motorola's new Q smartphone.  The Q is based on the latest greatest smartphone operating system to come out of Microsoft (Windows Mobile 5 for Smartphones).

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TOPICS: Mobility
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This is another in what is now a series of installments about my experiences with Motorola's new Q smartphone.  The Q is based on the latest greatest smartphone operating system to come out of Microsoft (Windows Mobile 5 for Smartphones).

MotoQlightson.jpgThe only thing that seems to bring down my wife's basic cell phone is a dead battery. That's the great thing about your basic cell phone. They do a few things and they do them well, never going down on you, and always there at your beck and call. Very reliable. But damn these smartphones.  In this case the Motorola Q.  Apparently, the more complex these devices get, the more there is to go wrong, and the greater the chance that these cell phones-cum-computers will misbehave just like computers do when they get too confused: they malfunction to the point that the only recourse is a reboot.

What stinks about this is that, not including the time it takes to shut down the smartphone (sometimes, the power button works, other times, you have to deprive the Q of power by removing the battery), the Motorola Q takes approximately 42 seconds just to boot up (some PCs boot faster than this). That's an eternity when you need to make a call right now. For example, if you're lost and coming up on a highway exit and you need to double check if it's the one you should get off at or not (this happened to me).  Or, worse, what if you have to call 911?

I'm not saying all smartphones require frequent reboots and not all of my reboots have been to address a catastrophic failure. But the Motorola Q has to be rebooted frequently enough to restore its normal functionality that you have to really want the blend of form and function it offers (compared to other smartphones) in order to put up with it. The first time I had to reboot, I appeared to be stuck in some sort of infinite loop in Pocket Internet Explorer.  There was nothing I could do to get out of it. I couldn't switch to another application (like the phone part of the Q to make a phone call). Even the power button seemed useless in which case, the only solution is to remove the battery (a technique I occasionally must resort to in order to release my Thinkpad notebook computer from a catatonic state).

In another less catastrophic case, the speakers were plenty loud for speakerphone usage, but I could hardly hear the music when I attempted to playback some MP3s over them. At first, I thought that the two applications (the phone and Windows Media Player) simply had different capabilities when it came to accessing the Q's built-in stereo speakers.  But then, after I had to reboot the phone for some other reason, I noticed that my music files were suddenly capable of being played back at volumes that were just as loud as the speakerphone. When using my Motorola Bluetooth stereo headset with the Q (which has its own volume control buttons on one ear-cup), I've noticed the same problem. Sometimes, I can only get the music to play "so loud." Attempts to adjust the volume using the headset's on-board volume controls, the Q's volume control (the thumbwheel), or the volume slider in Windows Media Player were to no avail.  Only a reboot corrects the problem.

Although I have no idea who to point the finger at, my recent usage of June Fabrics PDANet (to turn the phone into an EVDO modem through which my PC can connect to the Internet) involved reboots. For example, right after using PDANet and even after "killing" it (Windows Mobile provides a utility for killing applications), I noticed that my always-on email client (from Good Technology) suddenly became incapable of sending or receiving emails. While on vacation recently, it wasn't until I realized that nearly a day had passed without getting any email and that something must be wrong (I normally get hundreds of emails a day). Rebooting appears to be the only way to solve this recurring problem.

Identifying the culprit in cases involving third parties is difficult.  Actually, in this case, you start at "fourth party." Out of the box, the Q already involves Motorola, Verizon Wireless, and Microsoft. Is it the hardware? The Windows Mobile 5 operating system? PDANet? Good Technology's stuff? Verizon Wireless? I can't tell.  But what I do know is that one of the major selling points of these smartphones is the ability to load your own software into them. Buyers should be able to take advantage of that and, if they can't, then it's a serious problem and it really doesn't matter who is to blame.

I've had to reboot the Q for many other reasons, but suffice to say that you don't need additional proof beyond this one last example to understand that it is a problem with this device.  Last night, I discovered the Q sitting on my desk in some sort of suspended state.  The QWERTY keyboard (I call these thumb-boards) was illuminated (see photo, above left) as though I just pressed on of the keys (something I didn't do). Normally, the keyboard lights up for night usage as soon as you press a key and then "de-illuminates" after a certain period of time passes without another key being pressed (to conserve battery life). 

Even worse, there seemed to be nothing that I could do to bring the display to life.  I pressed the keys on the keyboard as well as the Q's "softkeys."  I tried spinning and pressing the thumbwheel.  I tried the back button (I call it the escape button). Nothing worked.  So, I left it there to see if maybe it might work things out on its own (ever do this with your computer? I do, all the time).  When I returned in the morning, about 9 hours later, the keyboard was sill illuminated (suprisingly, the battery wasn't dead yet) and the unit still appeared to be frozen.  So, I rebooted.

Bummer. 

Topic: Mobility

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9 comments
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  • No faith in Motorola

    Well, with my second Motorola phone developing serious issues just 4 months past its 1 year warranty (the StarTac failed 1 month past its 1 year warranty), I'm DONE with Motorola! "Unable to charge" has been common for some time. I thought Motorola fixed its power connector issues a few years ago. Now I get mangled displays, no display, all lights on with no response. Yes, I've even had to pull the battery now to force a reboot.

    My Nokia phones all worked up until the day I swapped them for the next "new" thing.

    Now if I can just get past the "seductive" Sony Ericcson w810i, I may go back to Nokia. ;)
    bmgoodman
  • I am surprised Motorola is still in business...

    ... a few months ago, my LG4500 fell into a river. While the phone was dying (increasingly poor reception, increasingly poor battery life), it simply worked. I replaced it with a Motorola V325. What a piece of trash. It *reboots itself constantly*. Like if I am using a headset and hang it up while it is charging. It does strange things in general. Its external display is the size of a Chicklet. Its user interface requires way too many button pushes to accomplish anything. The leather case covers the camera lens when the phone is open, and the phone needs to be open to use the camera. Already, it pretends to charge but it really isn't charging (I bought it July 2nd). In fact, the only positive things I can say about this phone is that it gets adequete reception and battery life.

    This "mid range" phone delivers a worse user experience and missed expectations worse than just about any other phone I've had.

    Motorola is basically resting on the RAZR (another looks good, but works like garbage phone, IMHO) to provide them with profits, I would not recommend their devices to anyone.

    J.Ja
    Justin James
  • Problem with Microsoft Mobile 5.0 not Motorola Q

    I have been going through the same trouble you mentioned with a UT Starcom / Verizon XV6700. The device also runs Windows Mobile 5.0, which will freeze like yours did, and you need to do a soft reset. Well that was annoying and felt that was unacceptable to have to keep doing that. So I searched with Google online to see if there are any others having the same issue. I discovered that I needed a software upgrade and boom it works. You will often find the problem is simply a software upgrade. I recommend going back to the store and ask for them to try and fix the phone with an upgrade. If that doesn't work, well there are those occasions that you get a defective product. Ask for a replacement. Oh and for the record I have gone through Nokia?s and Erricsons. My old T730 Motorola was the most reIiable choice. I miss the old T730 and often regret swapping it for the extra features of a huge UT Starcom / Verizon XV6700. Unfortunately the Motorola Q was not available when I purchased the UT Starcom / Verizon XV6700. I plan on selling my phone and getting a Motorola Q for the holidays. Often too many times a person will judge a company by one bad experience when the problem was either a defective unit or a software upgrade. It is Human nature.
    jasonm0817
  • My Moto Reboots

    I have a somewhat old Motorola V600 Cell Phone. The weirdest problem that I had with the phone was when I received a call, and the ringtone wouldn't stop even after answering the call. I could hear the person on the other side, but it wouldn't stop ringing. Even after ending the call, it wouldn't stop ringing until I powered off the phone.

    I found that everytime, after charging the phone, if I reboot I don't have that sort of problem.
    General C#
    • Same problem, Q hangs on calls

      I just bought a Q. it will hang in call mode and require a reboot, the interface is slow, data and internet connectivity is superb, so are the overall features, actually using them efficiently is a different story.
      digibay
  • Same Problems and Annoyances

    I have had a Q since June and have all of the problems described above. Windows Mobile 5.0 seems more like a 0.5 product (maybe they got the digits in the wrong order...) Major annoyance - if you are talking on the phone and a calender or task reminder comes up - it goes off right in your ear (or vibrates). Really can disrupt a conversation.
    dee.mccraw9
  • Palm Treo 700W has same reboot problem

    I bought a Palm Treo 700W. I had to reboot the phone 3 times a day when I first got it back when it was released. I wonder if they did any beta testing before the release. Palm came out with a software upgrade and it improved the reliability a lot, but I still reboot probably 3 times a week. I think it is MS Windows 5 problem, Verizon refuses to acknowledge that there are any problems with the phone, and Palm seems to be trying to resolve with upgrades. A PHONE SHOULD BE RELIABLE@!#@!#$
    bcesan
  • Not the Smartest Smartphone

    I too have had to reboot more than I would like in a days time. But, I am most annoyed at the fact that my Q will sometimes freeze when it starts to ring for an imcoming call. Therefore, making me miss the call all together. It's very upsetting that I'm on my 2nd Q in 2 1/2 months. The first one just died leaving me with a black screen. The Q is my first smartphone and it really is leaving a bad taste in my mouth.
    pisces3777
  • 2 Qs in a row die after Direct Push sync

    I had had my first Q for about 2 weeks. I was relatively pleased with it. I had gotten the direct push working from my corporate exchange server and was receiving immediate updates. Life was great. My clients loved the quicl response to requests VIA email even when I was on the road. I went to sleep last night having tucked my Q in for the night. It was happily charging away. I woke up the next morning to dicover it would not go past the "Verizon" logo. Nothing would bring it back. I was in Houston no phone no contact with my clients and a plane to catch. I returned home to New Orleans and headed straight for the Verizon store. They thought they would show me quickly how to bring it back to life but there was no life left. Even the super secret hard reset which brings it to a bios level factory reload failed to complete. So they set me up me a new shiny Q and sent me on my way. No phone numbers no apointments. I thought "No problem" I will set up the wireless direct push from my exchange server and I will be back in business. I was on my way to Shrieveport and soon the sync had started. A few minutes later and my contacts where back. I was at a gas station. I set the phone down in my car and went to get a coffee. I came back and went to call my girl friend on was supprised to find it was off completely. I pressed the red power button and "Oh my God" it was stuck on the "Verizon" logo. I am without communication again except for my wireless card in my laptop, whioh is how I am sending this. What is going on. Piss poor product quality control? Windows Mobile virus being picked up from the push process? My Treo would freeze up occationally but in the end it was allways there for me.
    SteveOD