This blog post is taken from an email I sent to Stephen Elop – head of Nokia.
TLDR: My Lumia 920 developed a very strange issue where the screen stopped responding & then when it did work the screen was inverted but the touch layer remained in the standard orientation. Have a look at the embeded video. The phone is in for repair but I’m due to go away skiing this weekend before the repair is due so I chanced my arm and wrote to Stephen Elop who is CEO of Nokia on the off chance that he could speed up my repair…! long shot but fingers crossed.

Dear Mr Elop,

(Or To Whom It May Concern)…

I am writing to you with regard my Lumia 920. I have had a 920 in the UK since launch and was delighted to be able to return to Nokia when you moved onto the Windows phone platform.

Firstly I’d like to congratulate you for showing how a company can really get behind a mobile platform, it’s been really fun seeing all the campaigns and events that you have been running around the UK to promote Lumia and help build the WP/Nokia brand. It was therefore with great interest that I watched the press conference when WP8 and the new Lumia X20 series of handsets were announced. Nokia were clearly looking to differentiate themselves from the competition with a series of unique innovations and exclusive feature. It is also great to see the breadth of devices you are now producing to make sure there is something for every pocket / budget.

Having had a WP7 from launch I was due to replace my phone at the time of the 920 launch (My wife got an 820 at the same time which is another excellent device). I managed to get one of the first 920 devices in the UK “sim free” from Phones4U and have been a happy user ever since (despite the EE Sim lock issues!). Windows phone 8 was a good step up from WP7 in most areas (Podcasting / Xbox music aside) and things like the PureView camera on the 920 really complimented the platform and made the phone stand out. In fact the camera is so good on the 920 that I have pretty much stopped carrying my DSLR or compact camera about with me. I’m quite firmly in the Microsoft camp for most things given that it’s where I spend most of my day job (as an IT-Pro) and take pretty much any opportunity to evangelise both WP and Nokia – if you want a WP, Nokia is now pretty much the only choice in my opinion.

It’s not a perfect story though which brings me to the reason behind my email. This Sunday my phone started misbehaving. It had previously locked itself for a couple of minutes when in the Nokia “Here” maps application and I assumed something had corrupted in the mapping data. When trying to delete the offline cached maps my phone completely locked and did not respond to any attempts to revive it or soft reset. I eventually figured out that the phone was still functioning but just that the screen was not turning on (you could still take a photo and see the flash come on etc…). Eventually after much wrangling I was able to get the screen to turn back on but was very surprised that it came back on inverted! It was although the rotation sensor was making the phone display the screen upside-down (which of course the WP platform doesn’t support). To make things even stranger the OS and touch layer had not inverted so everything was responding “normally”. I made a little video of the device for my records and because I’ve not heard reports of any 920’s showing similar behaviour here –

In reverse I was able to force the OS to take a backup and then was able to perform a hard reset – which again made the screen stop responding completely. It was clear that the device was unwell and needed to be taken in for repair or replacement -at last attempt the screen corrected it’s orientation but reverted to 256 colours!.

My phone is now back with Phones4U who are handling its return to a Nokia repair centre for diagnostics and a fix / replacement. The problem I have is that the repair process will take about 14 days on average to complete… while this would normally be an inconvenience it is this time a massive disappointment. You see this Friday my wife and I are going skiing for the first time and my 920 was all set as my perfect companion for the slopes:

  • I’d not bothered with “e-tip gloves” given the super-sensitive touch worked with my normal ski gloves.
  • I didn’t need to pack any extra cameras as the PureView in the 920 would be perfect for both photos and video – especially with the Nokia lens packs & image stabilisation. I’ve seen some amazing videos people have taken when out skiing
  • I had “Winter ski and ride” all setup and ready both on my phone and my wife’s 820 so we could share our experiences and progress at the resort
    • The NFC connection and augmented reality stuff looked particularly interesting to try out
  • I’d got the Burton Nokia skiing app to find out about the weather at our destination and all set for weather reports
  • I’d got my music sorted by setting up Nokia Music (about to trial Music+) to work around the issues / limitations with the Xbox Music implementation by Microsoft.
  • For backup entertainment I had “Hey DJ” & “Audible” configured for voice commands / hands free operation
  • My wife and I had a WP8 group setup with all our flight details & trip information stored in OneNote and a shared calendar
    • I can at least get back to these components individually from my backup WP7 device

I am therefore writing to you in the hope that you might have a way to help expedite or speed up the repair process for my phone in anyway so that I could be up and running again before I head away. I’d love nothing more than to be taking my 920 with me to get the most from my holiday. Even if there is nothing that could be done I thought it worth highlighting the screen issue, which as far as I know hasn’t been reported before.

I hope that one day Nokia and Microsoft might start rolling out their stores to the UK to have a high street presence similar to Apple. The unfortunate fact is that if I had an iPhone I could have had it replaced immediately at any Apple store with no questions or wait time. I’d have been up and running immediately. The significant downside being that I would have had an iPhone in the first place!

I’d be immensely grateful for any help you could provide and either way I am looking forward to seeing Nokia continue to drive and innovate in the mobile space.


Ben Lee.

P.S. I hope you don’t mind but I’ve posted this letter on my blog and in some tech forums where I interact as I thought it would be of interest to show the bazar screen behaviour!