A pal of mine was telling me how he’d had some problems with his Sony PSP and that as a result of a particularly bad moment to have his battery die, it was now “bricked”. What does that mean?
The short answer is that it has become “as useful as a brick”.
Not good at all.
Basically this kind of thing can happen to any consumer electronics, from a TV to a DVD player to an mp3 player or video game unit. Common causes are it getting wet, being dropped, having a strong static charge zap something vital, or even a battery going south in a particular bad way.
Commonly, however, devices that are bricked have a power failure while upgrading the operating system or system firmware. For example, your friend should never have upgraded his Sony PSP without it being plugged in to the wall outlet. The problem is, upgrades to device software quite often involve the lowest level code being rewritten and if the system dies half-way through this process, well, you can imagine how bad that could be.
What’s interesting is that while I hear a lot about Sony PSP devices being bricked (and if that happens to you, by the way, call Sony and complain until they replace your legally purchased unit: it’s their bad design that makes this so prevalent), I have also heard about various Apple iPods being bricked and, recently, even a Nokia N95 advanced cellphone being bricked due to a bad upgrade process.
It’s probably something that can’t be entirely prevented, but I would say that generally if this happens to you while you are legitimately and properly upgrading your device from an official upgrade source (e.g., not some third-party hacker site) then call the vendor and complain until they replace your unit. I mean, really, it’s their problem, not yours.
And your friend? Well, good luck to him. Worth checking out is that there are some companies that offer to unbrick a Sony PSP if you can’t get any satisfaction from Sony. Check this page out to get started: Fix your broken Sony PSP. And don’t forget, we have lots of PSP Help here on the site too.