A while back I reported on my original N900 losing its microUSB connector, then followed up by expressing disappointment in Nokia’s poor handling of the matter once many more people began experiencing the same failure. I have intended to turn it into a trilogy for some time, waiting until the reports of Nokia claim denials dried up.
But even though unresolved complaints did dwindle down, they didn’t disappear entirely… and tonight I got to experience why complaints keep coming: yep, my replacement N900 lost its connector, too. Despite extreme care.
Supposedly the root cause had been corrected by Nokia and I dared hope my replacement device had been part of a post-fix batch. However, I was skeptical even before my second N900 failed. I still do not believe a surface-mount approach is the proper way to go here. It certainly isn’t the best.
In order to be truly secure, a connector of this type and purpose should employ a through-hole design, where contact pins actually penetrate the printed circuit card and are soldered on top and bottom. As both a receptacle for frequent charging and occasional data connection, the usb port endures a great deal of stress– especially given that inserted adapters tend to fit tightly. So tightly that many N900 owners have been filing them down.
I cannot stress this enough, as a former circuit board designer and Nokia quality engineer as well as current concerned customer: Nokia, quit being so stubborn over this issue. Switch over to through-hole design for your external connectors. And quit allowing your Care responders to antagonize people suffering from this failure through no fault of their own. When these connectors break, replace the devices, no questions asked. Angering people who just want a usable N900 is a really bad idea.
You can’t afford to blow this off. I challenge Nokia executives with the power to correct this to respond to the article. Tell people you recognize the seriousness of the situation, and that there’s an equally serious plan to make it right.