As expected, December 21, 2012 didn’t bring the end of the world and we all survived. But it appears that the so-called “Doomsday” did bring bad news for some owners of the popular Samsung Galaxy S3 smartphone. A rising number of users have been reporting that their Galaxy S3 units are crashing and not rebooting without any specific reason or warning.
A post on Reddit, which currently has more than 160 comments, pointed towards a thread over at XDA Developers forum entitled “Ultimate GS3 sudden death thread.” At the time of reporting, the thread, started just over a month ago, had 67 pages and 665 posts, explaining various cases in which Galaxy S3 suffered from such a sudden death experience.
According to a number of affected Galaxy S3 units, their devices gave up about 150-200 days after activation without any warning. The users also noted that the affected handsets neither responded to rebooting nor had any “bias towards rooting on manufacturer’s standard hardware,” Redmond Pie has reported.
Reddit user TurtleRecall speculated that the NAND memory on the affected Galaxy S3 units could have been corrupted for some reason, ending up with a complete failure and bricked device. Here is how the user summarized the problem:
The XDA thread has 56 pages (so far) [at the time of his comment] of people whose mainboards have suddenly died. The devices seem to last between 150 and 200 days before failing. Samsung are replacing them under warranty whether or not people have rooted the devices or installed non-standard firmware.
There’s speculation that the NAND is becoming corrupted and failing. Worryingly, Samsung are replacing the mainboards with the same revision so this may just be putting the problem off for another 6 months or so.
It happened to my S3 last week and I’ve never rooted or installed anything other than the official 3UK Samsung firmware, first ICS then JB. Samsung haven’t officially acknowledged that there’s an issue, but both the guy I spoke to in the authorised repair centre and the chap in the Samsung warranty call centre have said they’ve seen this issue a lot lately.
Tl;Dr – S3 mainboards dying for no reason, Samsung replacing mainboards for free, but no new hardware revision so it might just happen again.
“My phone died today. Was chugging along till 2AM yesterday night and then I dozed off with the phone connected to wall charger. Woke up and saw the green light on but the phone was unresponsive. I 'long pressed' the on/off button and the phone switched off (no vibration, so it probably died then). I pressed the on/off button again, no response. Removed the battery and tried again. Nope. Tried another charger, no response,” said a user at the XDA thread.
“Same thing happened to my girlfriends S3. After updating to JB about 3 weeks ago from Vodafone Australia, the phone started rebooting and crashing a lot with very sudden battery drains,” said another user. “I assumed it was due to the JB update, but based on this thread it appears she may have been getting the early symptoms of sudden death.”
Samsung is said to be aware of the issue and although it is yet to comment on the anomaly, the South Korean tech giant is reportedly replacing mainboards of all the affected devices under the product warranty with no questions asked.
However, some still speculate that “it is nothing more than a stop-gap procedure that will ultimately lead the device to the same fate in a few months time.”