Whimsy HTC Desire

A couple of weeks ago, my smartphone HTC Desire HD running on Android 2.3.5 started to completely freak out:

··  USB tethering ceased to start automatically when the device got connected to a computer’s USB port.
··  When making or accepting calls, the speaker started to turn on at the very beginning of the conversation.
··  And, most annoyingly, the Navigation app (Android’s native one) started to get launched all the time, anywhere from every couple of hours to every couple of seconds. Wow.

Car Dock Mode

According to a dozen of forums I skimmed through, the problem is caused by so-called car dock mode: apparently, every now and then the dumbphone gets a feeling that it’s docked in a car, and enables/disables a corresponding bunch of “features” designed to make drivers’ lives easier. There is no solid opinion on the reason of such behavior, although most threads suggest USB port defect caused by dirt or mechanical issue.

Funny thing, by the way: a lot of forum threads describing this problem end up in a hanging repetition of “same here, anyone got a solution yet?” kind of comments. (That’s why I’m posting this article. Should have put a large “SOLVED” in the heading.)

So… Cleaning the USB port with needles, brushes, air “spray”, prayers or magnetic jive dancing — all to no avail in my case. What helped was unexpectedly different: a free app called DockNothing did exactly what its name said: it disabled all possible docking modes (car, home, are there more?) — and hallelujah!

My smartagainphone is working just fine. (Most likely, still attempting to dock to thin air hundred times a day. But as long as I don’t notice that… hmm… so what?)

UPDATE: A couple of weeks later, the whole circus started all over again… I tried several more “no-dock-apps”, multiple reboots et cetera et cetera — no result. The symptoms described above showed up according to no system at all: sometimes it was quiet for hours, and sometimes the navigation would start right in the middle of a call. From time to time I had to charge the stubborn device, of course, — that’s when I noticed an interesting pattern: after a recharge in the car (via the adapter cable which is always there) the phone behaved normally until the next recharge with its native USB cable. Ah-ha-a-a! So I threw that one away, found an old one from my recently deceased Nokia — and there we go, who would have thought! No troubles at all ever since!

Apparently, the problem is in the hardware, after all. A defective USB cable — or port, depending on how (un)lucky you are, — is bridging some pins it’s not supposed to, and the whole system goes crazy.


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