Monday, March 28, 2011

An Atrix Atrocity

One evening I was out at the bowling alley to visit teammates from a league I had bowled with for two years. All was going fine with my Atrix when I decided to take photos of a Verizon R2D2 Droid phone someone showed to me. I simply quit the camera app and then placed the Moto in standby like I would normally do. It was minutes later when I attempted to find a picture in the Gallery that I noticed something wrong. Every single folder was showing zero content as an orange progress circle continued to spin in the upper right-hand corner. Assuming this was only a minor glitch, I tried a couple times to close out Gallery and open it again. The same glitch remained. Luckily, I had sent this photo to a friend via MMS, so it was saved in the messaging thread. Unfortunately, I was still not seeing anything appear in the phone's media storage. While the SD card files were still intact (mostly music), the Atrix internal drive was showing to be completely empty even under the settings menu. In addition to the Gallery appearing as wiped clean, the Tape-a-Talk app I had used to record my voice for CTIA no longer showed the long list of saved audio files! After spending the next 30 minutes powering on and off and pulling out the battery, I was DESPERATE, LIVID, AND FORLORN. Yes, I was ALL of those! Along with all my voice recordings I made during CTIA for my blog post writing, every video and photo from the CTIA Unplugged Lady Antebellum show had disappeared! The Motorola Atrix 4G had mysteriously formatted its own 16GB internal drive for NO apparent reason, and I had no backup of what had been erased. I assumed all was well with my Android phone, and I ended up getting f****d in the end.

There was no way I was planning to keep an unstable device that could potentially wipe out all stored files at a moment's notice, especially after losing content that was highly important for the writing of my CTIA blogpost. My Atrix was no longer trustworthy, but I only harbored ill will toward the device itself and not the particular Motorola model. In lieu of this, it was a plausible solution to seek a replacement unit of the same make and model. Honestly, if the Atrix was the best Android option, there was no sense in running to the Inspire 4G or another unlocked touch slab.

A replacement Atrix probably did seem like overkill for others, but I found it to be justified. There was a Twitter comment in response to my situation that basically stated that s**t happens and it could have been a simple glitch that could be fixed by an upcoming software update. WTF?! I personally needed a brief moment to muster a calm reaction instead of unleashing a volatile thread of all caps in the Twitterverse. In my opinion, this was not a simple glitch like a random lack of response from the fingerprint reader or capacitive touch screen...this was a random wipe of 16GB internal storage that erased ALL of my important files from the CTIA trip!!! PICTURES, VIDEOS, VOICE RECORDINGS ALL GONE!!! GONE!!! How anyone could simply have such a carefree attitude and tolerate keeping such a faulty device is beyond comprehension for me. I have a good amount of tolerance for malfunctions, for a phone is a machine at the end of the day and nothing is expected to be perfect. However, I have NEVER had a phone randomly format its own internal memory and delete important work files in the process...even the awful and craptastic Sony Ericsson P990 didn't pull such a cruel trick in the midst of its numerous freezes and random reboots! I guess it may not have been such a tragedy if I only had a few casual pictures and some movie files backed up on my Mac, but that was not the case. All I knew was that the first Atrix was not capable to be my daily companion anymore, no matter how soon a software "fix" is scheduled to arrive. The choices for me were quite clear: hold on to a "glitchy" Atrix and hope for an update or take action and switch to a replacement unit. I understood that risks were present for receiving another Atrix that could possess the same flaw, but it was worth it nonetheless. If I did happen to encounter the same problem on the second Atrix, I would have to handle that situation when it made itself known. In the meantime, I think it would have been foolish to remain with a device after it so horribly failed me in such a manner. True, the Atrix's erasing of my CTIA work files did indeed play a major factor over the faulty P990 and GPS-lacking Captivate.

Trent Smith, blogger
Sent from my Treo 750


Rayan said...

Hi Trent,

How's the new Atrix? Still having sudden memory format syndrome?

This really makes me wonder if I should go ahead and get mine...

I happen to have a Viewsonic G Tablet with the same nVidia dualcore chipset than the one on the. Atrix that has the same memory format problem. This makes me wonder if it's a problem derived from hardware...


AliensWanted said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
AliensWanted said...

Hopefully this isn't an 'Android' issue...meaning the platform itself and how it integrates with Motoblur. The skinning is what worries me most with Android....and the hardware that doesn't have to 'pass any QC tests' to be an Android handset. Until Android reels it in, adds more control (not iPhone control, but control of some fashion) I am not 100% comfortable moving back to it.

TRENT said...


The new Atrix is working fine so far with no strange happenings with internal storage. There have been some freezing instances and moments when the power key was so unresponsive it warranted battery removal, but I am hopeful.

This Atrix alone is the best thing going for me as a network-locked Android phone in regards to hardware features. Any phone can have malfunctions, so aside from the previous formatting issue I am trying to be understanding for the most part.

WOW! If my formatting problem is caused by a hardware issue related to other gadgets with same chipset, then that is a whole different story altogether! Sadly, I will consider another Android alternative if this serious error occurs again.

Maybe going with the Nexus S may not be so bad after all. LOL

TRENT said...


I hear you, I really do, but I have no idea of what else to do when Android works so well for me with its seamless Google integration of apps and PIM data.

WebOS tying in Google integration sounds interesting, but I will have to look more into it. Simply syncing PIM data via Microsoft Exchange will not be enough! It will have to be on the same level as Android if not better.

hackm0d said...

This happened to me with my Nexus One and a 16GB card when I killed the Gallery app using a task killer.
I was shocked and pale faced for a while when I realized the phone said the card was corrupt and no computer would recognize it.
I used some commercial drive restore software to get a majority of my files back, but then again it makes me weary of not making regular backups for fear of it happening again.