"The fine, a software problem on certain variants is limiting... full battery capacity"

The Nokia Lumia 800 (also known by its "Sea Ray" codename) is Nokia Oyj.'s (HEL:NOK1V) first crack at a Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" smartphone.  Officially unveiled in October, it launched without much fanfare in Europe in November 2011 and since has been trickling out to other markets.  Generally the phone has received praise for its overall solid software/hardware design, but criticism for failing to be on the cutting edge either in software or in form factor.

Reports emerged in recent weeks complaining that phone's battery was broken and battery life was substandard -- pretty unusual for a Windows Phone.  The question quickly became – what could have possibly gone wrong with Nokia’s latest smartphone?

The Lumia 800

Well Nokia has finally set the record straight, revealing that broken firmware was the culprit and that the battery hardware is just fine.  It writes:

On Monday 12th December some of our customers started to comment in various social media that the preloaded diagnostics tool in some of the Nokia Lumia 800 phones was showing lower battery capacity than expected. We immediately started to investigate these reports and can now confirm that while the battery itself is fine, a software problem on certain variants is limiting the phone’s ability to access the full battery capacity. We want to stress that this issue has not been found to affect the recently introduced Nokia Lumia 710.

The good news is that as this is a software problem it can be easily resolved.  The planned software update in early 2012, as well as including many performance enhancements, will also include a fix that will enable the affected phones to access the total battery capacity.  For anyone who does not want to wait for the software update, Nokia can arrange for a replacement phone.  Anyone who requires any further clarification should contact Nokia Care (Care contact details and locations can be found at

Anyone who wants to know if their phone is affected can run the battery status test from the diagnostics tool already installed on their phone. (The tool is designed for service use and only displays approximate values.) Dialling ##634# opens the diagnostics tool. By accepting the disclaimer and then selecting ‘Battery Status’ from the list of options, anyone will be able to see their available battery charge capacity.  If your full charge capacity reads less than 1000 mAh then your phone is affected with this specific issue and you may find it is necessary to charge your phone more frequently than normal.  Once the software update has been applied, you should experience much better battery life. In the meantime here are some tips on how to increase your battery performance and you should also make sure you are using the charger that came with the phone, as older chargers may not be as effective at charging the new Nokia Lumia 800. 

Expect a patch shortly.

The glitch, as mentioned by Nokia's representative, does not affect the Nokia Lumia 800's sister model, the Lumia 710.  And American consumers who aren't shopping for a foreign phone can pay it no mind, as neither model is available in the U.S. at present.  The Nokia 710 will be Nokia's first Windows Phone to launch in the U.S., landing in January on T-Mobile for $50 USD (after $50 USD mail-in rebate) with a new 2-year contract.

As previously rumored, Nokia is sitting out America's 2011 holiday season on the sidelines.

Somewhat related -- Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) Windows Phone smartphones typically have some of the best battery life in the industry, but early models suffered from a battery-draining glitch, which also consumed massive quantities of data.  The glitch was eventually tracked down to a Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO) app and was patched.  It seems that those who are the closest to Microsoft have the worst luck when it comes firmware, particularly when batteries are concerned.

Sources: Nokia [Lumia 800 battery issues], [Lumia 710 U.S. launch]

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