My N97 has intermittent touch screen problems where it will either respond in the wrong location, lag, or just be completely non-responsive. I'm pretty sure that it's not hardware as after completely rebuilding (remove all apps, format the mass memory, hard reset, re-install v2 fw, hard-reset, re-install apps, re-load mass memory) the phone and the touch screen work with no problems for several days, then after 3-4 days the problem reappears.
I suspect it's related to two problems with the phone: the first is that there is still a bug with the lock/unlock slider; the second is that the phone is too underpowered (CPU & RAM) to multi-task (especially email retrieval) and process the input of the touch screen.
Is anybody else having similar problems with their N97 touch screen, if so do you have a solution?
I am having the exact same issues you have pointed out. I also have the v20 firmware installed, but the problems appeared for me first during the v11release version. The screen touch input is affected and when I "click" an area, a different section of the screen is activated. Sometimes the screen reaction is as if I am keeping my finger pressed against it in a different location, quickly changing back to that location as soon as I lift my finger. This also prevents activating any regions of the screen as the phone is already detecting presses in other regions. It is also coupled sometimes with no response at all (no matter what I do - except solution below - lock/unlock. In my particular case, the Answer/Hang-up keys are also affected and in some (very few) cases, the hardware "menu" button is also not working. This is NOT a permanent problem, it happens only from time to time.
I also think it is not a hardware related issue (i.e.. Faulty screen), but rather related to either insufficient CPU / Memory or too many resource intensive apps running. I came to this conclusion by noticing that during this intermittent problem occurrence if I lock/unlock the handset multiple times, it eventually goes away (sometimes). What ultimately suggested it is either software or resource related, is the fact that during these lock/unlock sequences, the phone occasionally pauses for longer times during the unlock action. Ergo suggesting it is busy doing something else and not having enough CPU time or memory to react to the unlock.
Ultimately, the problem does not happen all the time and is really hard to reproduce. What I do know, is that free space on the PHONE MEMORY does not affect it in any way. Right now I have about 41MB free on the phone memory and there is no noticeable difference. I can also suggest disabling GPRS / 3G connections (especially if they are transferring stuff) to see if it helps in any way.
I am still on the lookout for some key behavior patterns to root it out by manually adapting my usage style until a complete fix is provided. However, this is completely unpleasant and utterly annoying. If anyone has had any results in this sense, please share with the rest of us.
Hey cheatman - Thanks for your detailed response, these issues are identical to mine. At first I thought it might have been Nokia Messaging so I removed this and setup the default mail client. This seemed to work for the first couple of days but then the problem reappeared. I think retrieving mail (whatever client) is fairly resource intensive and could be the cause of the lagging response but there must be something more otherwise there would be a lot more N97 owners facing this issue. Perhaps a software conflict (The only third-party software that I have running all the time is Best Taskman and Best Profiles) or alternatively an issue with accessing data on the telco network (I'm on AT&T who never really had a good 3G network to start with and then dumped tens/hundreds of thousands of data hungry iPhone users onto it). Do either of these possibilities fit with your experience? I have to send my N97 off to get the scratched camera lens fixed at some point so I will also highlight this problem but unless I can replicate the lagging the care center will just give it a cursory check.
With firmware v20 and when the touch screen is functioning properly the phone works nicely but unfortunately sometimes when I need to do something with it (like turn off the music player, check the calendar, etc...) the touch screen lagging will make the phone completely unusable. Making me a very frustrated N97 owner.
10-11-2009 13:36 - edited 10-11-2009 13:39
I have given myself an idea in the last post and I seem to have been able to pin the issue down a little. It is (at least in my case) related to the radio (GSM) services. When the problem occurs, if I set the profile to "Offline" and all GSM / WiFi / BT activity is forcefully ended the screen is fully working again.
When I switch it back to the "General" profile, in a couple of seconds, the problem is not there anymore, but happens again after some time (can't really say WHEN, which is my current target). Now that I have at least a partial solution (can't do it while receiving a phone call) it's going to be a little better.
So, for anyone who encounters the problem signaled in the first post, try doing this:
1) Switch the current profile to "Offline".
2) Wait for all connections to become inactive (usually a couple of seconds are enough).
3) Test while in offline profile if the screen starts to function normally and detect the correct input.
4) Switch to the "General" or other profile you are normally using if all is ok.
Alternately, try locking and unlocking the device via the side switch. This seems to produce some results, but is not as reliable as the first method.
If I ever find the reason (or situation) behind the screen input issues, I will let you guys know. Right now I am concentrating my effort towards the GSM / WiFi usage, as I don't usually have BlueTooth on, so it's a safe bet it is not the one causing the problems.
After your last post I had the lagging/non-responsive touch screen issues three times. Once was the complete non-responsive kind and the other two were the screen lagging kind. I tried your suggestion but with a minor modification, instead of switching profiles I long pressed the hang-up (red phone) key to end the packet data. This worked for the two times when it was just the lagging screen issue, as soon as the packet data was ended the touch screen started responding as normal. The time when it was non-responsive I could only resolve this by locking and unlocking the phone several times. These three experiences lead me to believe that there are actually two issues: the first is that there is still a bug with the unlocking/locking slider resulting in the non-responsive touch screen; the second is that the lagging touch screen issue is some how caused by the 3G packet data.
My N97 is the RM-507 (NAM) variant and I'm on the AT&T network.
If it is due to the 3G network perhaps I should try a pre-paid sim card with Verizon, apparently it's a much better 3G network.
I think I have the same problem. sometimes it act like phone senses press in one of point where I do not touch it. And when I will touch the screen in a different place it clicks but then pointer goes back to the same point. I have tested it in the painter and it looks like it always goes back to this one point on the right middle.
I am not sure is it a hardware or software issue. After restart it works again normally but its back. I have notice that after I have start to using in as mp3 player, after reset and restore settings. I am in three network UK, maybe software v2 will fix that bug, if not I will take it nokia care center and if they will not be able to fix it straight the way, I will send it to service via three (they have 3 days to fix it or replace, nokia can do this in 2 weeks or longer)
My observations are 100% consistent with yours. The packet data end does solve the problem, but only if the screen is not 100% non-responsive. I can also confirm that the WiFi status has absolutely no effect on the problem.
There are also quite a bit of other possible causes that can be ruled out from the get-go:
1. Insufficient RAM or CPU in general activity. I can rule this out as the phone works well even if I have 12 applications open at the same time. However, the issues happen sometimes even if nothing is running in the background. If this issue is related to memory leaks or similar bugs, it has nothing to do with the ones I normally run and has to be something in the background (like contacts, phone or messaging, clock, maybe others?) that is cuasing this.
Also, even when the screen is not responding correctly, I can still do stuff on the phone without lag. This is really weird but very true. I can do pretty much anything as long as I use the slide-keyboard instead of the touchscreen.
2. The 3G network is not to blame. I live in Romania and I use Vodafone, which has 3.5G (3G+, HSDPA or whatever you want to call it) and is a very well established technology for these guys (they use it since 2005 I believe and have great coverage for it). The fact that you and me both have the same issues pretty much points to no influence on the provider or network type, IMO.
3. The screen is not faulty. I hope. All pointers rule this out, but really, you never know in the end :-D
4. The firmware version seems to be irrelevant up to this point. I have been having this problem since v11 and now I'm running v20. If this will be fixed in the future, I have no idea. However, if it gets fixed, we will know.
At this point I can also identify some key points about the phone usage which are common to both you and myself:
1. We use the GPRS / 3G connection on a regular basis.
2. We use the mobile email client to check email on a regular basis. For my part, I use MailForExchange and keep it in sync pretty much all day long. Though, at work, I use WiFi instead of GSM connection.
Maybe these two points are of importance. On the other hand, maybe there is something else that may be common to both our phones. I have an N97 RM-505, FW version 20.0.019.C01.01 (firmware is not really relevant anyway).
@ cheatman - I tried a few different things today like turning off wifi scanning but nothing seems to resolve the problem. I was thinking that the problem seemed less obvious when connected to my home wifi (as opposed to 3G) but now I'm not even sure about this.
I'm starting to think that perhaps it is a hardware fault like a loose connection on the cable joining the screen to the main body. This would certainly explain the intermittent nature of the fault but I'm just not sure. It also seems odd that so few N97 owners have this problem, surely if it was software there would be plenty more.
As I need to send my N97 to the Nokia Care Center for the camera lens fix I will also highlight this problem and hope that they can resolve it. As it stands the phone is practically unusable and very frustrating which seems to be par for the course for this device.
@docsymbian - your problem sounds like a completely different thing to the problem/s thatcheatman and I are having. That said I sympathise with you and would recommend getting this problem resolved through official channels rather than attempting anything yourself that could potentially void your warranty. The only assistance that I can provide (I'm not affiliated with Nokia in anyway, just an unfortunate N97 owner) is to recommend that you take it back to the retailer that you purchased it from and let them resolve the problem. As I don't know anything about consumer protection laws in Trinidad, I can only assume that the retailer is responsible for repairs/returns under the warranty. If this fails you could potentially try the appropriate (for your region) Nokia website to find a customer care phone number.
Sorry I can't help anymore, hope you get your problem resolved.
@ cheatman - OK, I think I might have figured it out after reading another post where somebody suggested that it could have to do with carrying the phone in a tight pants pocket. The problem seems to be that the locked touchscreen is having pressure applied to it, basically causing a deformation of the touch screen that takes a little while to get back to normal.
When I think about this problem in terms of cause versus correlation this solution makes sense. So for my situation when I'm out of my home the phone is connected to the 3G packet data but this also correlates with the phone generally being in my pocket with pressure applied to the touch screen. When I'm at home my phone is connected to my home wifi network but this also correlates to the phone generally sitting in a leather valise for charging devices with no pressure on the locked screen. This had previously led me to believe that the data connection is the cause but unfortunately it is only a correlation to what I now believe to be the cause, pressure applied to touch screen from being in a pocket.
I'm going to test this assumption out for the next few days by not placing the phone in my pants pocket. If this is the cause the one good thing is that it doesn't seem to cause permanent damage to the touch screen, that said it's a real pain to not be able to just carry this phone in my pocket. I guess I will have to look into a case that protects the touch screen from pressure. There seems to be two choices for cases that will do this and neither are particularly appealing: the first is the sock/pouch case where you have to remove your phone completely from the case to use it (not particularly useful when you just want to skip a track in the music player); the second is the type which have a flap that covers the screen (these add bulk to the phone and generally look pretty naff).
I'll let you know how the touch screen works over the next few days.
@froschy: This is also applicable in my case. I don't really wear like... tight pants, but the creases that are created by the bend in the material close to the pocket does apply pressure especially while sitting on a chair, in the office for example. I have also thought about this about a month ago and after a few days of testing while keeping the phone on the desk instead of in my pocket all day long, I noticed no improvement at all.
At the same time, these past few days, I tested without MailForExchange enabled (it is set to sync manually) and I get the issue in far fewer (almost not at all) situations. If you are using MfE, try this as well. I also have to mention that during this MfE test I kept the phone in my pocket as I usually do during the day.
Once again, your conclusion makes sense, because being a touch-screen related issue it may very well be a problem related to... well... touching the screen :-D. It also occurred to me in the past, as I already said. However, I never got any real feedback while testing with it and to me it seemed not to have any influence whatsoever on the screen behavior. I will look into it again during the next few days and I will re-enable MfE to the "always online" state as it was before my current test. This will probably be a very relevant test, at least in my case.