Not so Incredible anymore
April 14, 2011 4:38 PM   Subscribe

I broke my smartphone, what should I do?

It's an HTC Incredible. I dropped it screen-first onto asphalt. The outer screen surface is intact but long cracks are visible underneath. When I press the button to wake up the phone, no picture appears on the blank screen but I a few pixels light up where the cracks are, along with a horizontal stripe of green near the top. I tried calling it from another phone and it rang (well, vibrated, not sure if the sound is broken too).

This just happened a half hour ago. I haven't contacted my carrier (Verizon) yet but thought I'd check with AskMe. Have you been in this situation before? Should I pursue repair or replacement? Money's very, very tight right now and the thought of purchasing a new one at full price scares the crap out of me. I'm not sure if this one's under warranty; I need to dig through my paperwork and figure that out. I've had it since July of last year. I won't be eligible for a discounted phone upgrade until next March.

Any wisdom you can offer would be terrific, I've never been in this predicament before.
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis to Technology (8 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'd find a local repair shop and see what they charge. Had the screen on my iPhone 3G (before I gave up on it and went back to an actual phone) replaced twice. Cost me circa $80, not cheap, but I was happy enough to have the phone working again so quickly and well that I remember I decided it was worth $20 more than I was charged. I'd trust the guy I found (Rami at to fix my phone problems more than I'd trust my carrier or Apple.
posted by straw at 4:58 PM on April 14, 2011 [1 favorite]

I had a very similar situation with the same phone (though mine didn't turn on, ring, light up, or do anything at all). Took it to Verizon, where I was informed the warranty (which is usually one year if you didn't get insurance) would NOT cover it because it was obviously something that I did, not an inherent defect. So while you can certainly try that tactic -- and a friend of mine swears that in the past, she was successful with it -- an obviously cracked screen will likely be a problem. In my case, I was able to "borrow" an upgrade from another line on my family plan, buy a new one at contract price, and then immediately sign up for insurance like I should have the first time.*

I don't know anything about repairs, as I assumed mine was done for. Sorry I don't have better news.

* I say "should have" even though I worked out that it's probably a net loss, expected value wise. (That is, the amount spent on insurance premiums over two years is greater than the price of a new phone * assumed probability of destroying it. I think.) That made sense academically, but after busting one in less than a year of owning it, psychology/strong risk aversion/strong desire to never go back to a dumb phone took over.
posted by SuperNova at 5:04 PM on April 14, 2011

This happened to me weeks after i got my Incredible. The Incredible was also the only reason why I switched from Sprint to Verizon. So when i dropped my phone, saw the cracked screen and figured that it still worked, I felt horrible, but at least grateful that it still worked.

Supernova is right - there is no way Verizon will cover this under the one year warranty, despite the luck of his friend. However, perhaps you can still sign up for insurance. This is what I did.

I was able to sign up for full coverage insurance (or what it is called) and file a claim 30 days later.

Success - good luck Incredible friend.
posted by wocka wocka wocka at 5:22 PM on April 14, 2011

iFixIt has repair manuals and sells parts. You could shop around for the parts but their prices have always seemed reasonable to me. (I have no association with them.)

HTC Droid Incredible Repair Manual

Seconding that it is unlikely you'll get warranty support for what is essentially user error. You might look at whether your credit card has insurance coverage on your phone, if you purchased it by that method.
posted by Blazecock Pileon at 5:31 PM on April 14, 2011

Find a loveable tech whiz and order the parts on Ebay- we did after I dropped my iPhone. $35 and it was brand new. It can't hurt, since the display is already fubar.
posted by pink candy floss at 5:39 PM on April 14, 2011

As an alternative to buying replacement parts on eBay, you can also:

- sell broken phone on eBay
- buy same model (if you want) but working on eBay
posted by zippy at 5:48 PM on April 14, 2011

Response by poster: Thank you all for the help! Does anyone know if there's a way to mount the device in Mac OS X? Normally I'd choose "disk drive" or whatever the option is called in the menu when you first plug it into USB... but there's no menu now because I can't use the screen at all. Can I mount it from the command line and try to recover some of my files stored in there?
posted by The Winsome Parker Lewis at 7:19 PM on April 14, 2011

If you install the Android SDK on your computer, and the phone is still working normally beneath the cracked screen, you should be able to pull everything off of it using ADB.

I've never done it on a Mac, but these instructions seem like they'll do the trick.

Once you've got it up and running, you'll want to use ADB's "pull" command like so:

adb pull /path/to/targetfile.txt /path/to/targetdirectory/targetfile.txt

adb shell will also drop you into a shell for your device, which can be handy to navigate around and find everything you're looking for. You brought up the command line, so I'm guessing you're mildly comfortable there. Within the shell, it's pretty much what you'd expect.

Feel free to MeMail me if you have any questions. Installation of ADB is definitely the tricky part.
posted by SpiffyRob at 9:35 AM on April 18, 2011

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