To be dead honest, I'm kind of pi$$ed off at my BlackBerry right now. Yesterday, for the second time in two weeks, my BlackBerry Bold 9900 nuked itself on me. If you're not familiar with "nuking" (my term) or "bricking" (the more popular/standard term), it refers to the BlackBerry white screen of death. Instead of your BlackBerry booting up properly, something goes wrong. You might get a JVM or App Error message, the phone might go into an endless reboot cycle, or occassionally it'll just sit there blinking red lights with the display never really turning on. Whichever way it manifests itself, I consider it nuked or bricked. Until fixed, your BlackBerry is useless.
In my earlier days of BlackBerry ownership this happened fairly often. You could even make it happen at will if you installed an incompatible theme on your phone. With newer hardware and newer iterations of the BlackBery OS I found the problem to happen a lot less often -- only once did it happen to me on a BlackBerry 6 device -- and that was on the Torch 9800 when I first received my review unit that was on pre-release software.
Since buying my Bold 9900 I've found BlackBerry 7 to be pretty stable, but now for no good reason that I can ascertain, it's failed me twice. The first time was on my way to San Francisco for BlackBerry DevCon 2011. After touching down in Minneapolis to make my connection, I turned the radio back on my phone which was turned off for the flight. After five minutes of waiting and no emails coming in, I did a soft reset of the phone. JVM Error 517 emerged, which points to a corrupt file system. I had rebooted the phone recently with no errors, so don't think it was an error waiting to happen as a result of bad apps being installed. Maybe my 9900 just didn't like the thought of roaming fees and decided it would rather be bricked. Either way it made for an annoying day, and resulted me in borrowing a PC so I could reload the OS from my hotel room later that day.
DevCon made for a busy week as did last week playing catch up, so I honestly had not even installed one third party app since reloading the OS fresh. For two weeks I've done little more than use my 9900 for emails, phone calls, BBMs and texts. Then yesterday, shortly before heading out for lunch, upon trying to open my email messages I received an uncaught exception message and couldn't get into my inbox. I pulled the battery out of the phone this time, which usually fixes any bugs like this, and again was greated by a 517 error message. As I blog this, I'm in the process of reloading the OS on my phone.
Sending out a I bricked my BlackBerry message yesterday on twitter and talking to friends and colleagues, I'm really starting to wonder if BlackBerry 7 has some weird issues that allow it to brick a little easier than it should. I received quite a few tweets where people have also bricked their 9900s. And even on the Crack Team we've seen it happen more than it should. Also at DevCon, Shao128's 9900 went into an endless reboot cycle on him - though in that case we found a weird fix for it. I told him to pull out his SIM card and try again and we found that with no SIM card it rebooted it ok and fixed itself (maybe his 9900 was scared of roaming fees too?). Then yesterday, apparently at the exact same time that my 9900 bricked itself, so did Bla1ze's. Super weird. Super not cool.
Looking at our real time site analytics right now as I write this post, it becomes pretty obvious that a lot of people still suffer from bricked BlackBerry Smartphones on a daily basis. How can I tell? Because even though it was posted in 2007, this article on How to Reload the OS on your Nuked or BlackBerry is still the single most active page on CrackBerry.com. More eyeballs are looking at that page right now than any other article, page or thread on this site. It's a good validator of exactly why RIM needs to move off of the BBOS and onto BBX, ASAP.
Question of the Week: Have you bricked your BlackBerry 7 Smartphone yet? If so, let us know how it went down in the comments!