Software Update Turns Nexus 4 Into Expensive, Slippery Paperweight

There was nothing earth-shattering or all that new about the newest update to the Android mobile operating system, Jelly Bean 4.3. However, some owners of the device that Google itself designed and sells directly, the Nexus 4 smartphone, report that the update turned their phones into glossy paperweights, and it’s not clear why.

Some customers have received warranty replacements, and most others were able to revive their phones with a factory reset and rolling back to a previous version of the operating system. Reader Shawn wrote to us before he was able to get his phone working again, and he was upset.

Approx 8:00: Google Nexus 4 phone working perfectly.
8:01: Nexus 4, “oh, hey…android jelly bean 4.3 is available. Wanna upgrade?”
Me: “sure.”
Nexus 4: *dead*

And I’m not the only one. -

So started the worst, and possibly criminal, customer service adventure.

I called Google and told them what happened. They had me try and walk through some troubleshooting steps, but when the OS would not load they said there was nothing more they could do; I’d need to contact LG.

“So let me get this straight,” I said. “Your software update killed my phone, and there is nothing you can do?”

“Nope. We can’t tell if you purchased this (THE Google phone) in the google play store, so call LG ( the phone’s hardware manufacturer).

LG, as should be expected, said that if nothing was physically wrong (cracked screen, malfunction button, etc.) their warranty didn’t cover it.

I called back to Google and spoke with a supervisor. She repeated there is nothing more they can do.

iPhones are starting to look pretty appealing to Shawn right now.

Over at Engadget, they note that their own Nexus device updated to Jelly Bean 4.3 with no trouble. So it’s not every one, but enough to form a trend. We contacted Google to see whether they have anything official to say – we’ll let you know whether they do.