Motorola's ruggedized DEFY (which our own Brad Ganley reviewed) is a pretty cool phone. In my book, any time you can stick a gadget in a glass of water (or beer, as the case may be) with absolutely zero negative repercussions, I'm interested. The DEFY is no poser - Motorola's made the first industrial-strength Android.

Unfortunately, a substantial number of users across the globe are reporting a fatal flaw with the device, and surprisingly it's not MOTOBLUR-related. The earpiece speaker, which is necessary to actually hear the person you're talking to, is failing on DEFY devices that are only weeks old. Brad didn't experience this problem with his review device over the course of a couple weeks, but presumably he wasn't using it quite as much as the average person who owns one might.

What's the source? Motorola is investigating. However, a number of commenters have pieced together what they think is a likely explanation. The headphone jack on the DEFY sits very close to the earpiece speaker. So close, in fact, that it's possible regular use of the jack may be pushing the contacts onto a weld or other conductive surface, creating a circuit to the earpiece speaker and causing a short.

Another commenter stated that if he squeezed the top of his broken device, the speaker would intermittently function - suggesting that maybe use of the headphone jack was physically dislodging a connection to the earpiece speaker.

This is all speculation, of course. But no other ideas (well, firmware) have emerged, and users have reported the problem goes away when the device is repaired or replaced, unless the new or fixed device develops the problem again (as some have claimed). We'll keep you informed - and let you know when Motorola makes an official statement on the matter.

Source: Motorola Support Forums, XDA-Developers, AndroidCommunity Forums via euandroid

David Ruddock
David's phone is whatever is currently sitting on his desk. He is an avid writer, and enjoys playing devil's advocate in editorials, and reviewing the latest phones and gadgets. He also doesn't usually write such boring sentences.

  • cooly

    same happened to my samsung gt s5560

  • Aaron Gingrich

    "The earpiece speaker, which is necessary to actually hear the person you’re talking to,"

    Well, consider my mind just absolutely blown.

  • http://www.euandroid.com.br Will

    Hey friends,
    I'm from the http://www.euandroid.com.br and thanks for the reference :)
    The european Motorola did, recently, an small statement over facebook, but I can't say it's exactly official. We updated on our post:
    Motorola Europe
    “Hi all, Motorola is aware of a small number of DEFY users who have experienced lost audio through the phone ear-piece speaker. We have identified the source of this issue and have resolved the issue in production. Any consumer who experiences this problem should contact a Motorola customer support centre (...)”

  • Steve

    Looks Like this problem has hit Australia too, my Motorola Defy is 2 Months old & the Earpiece just stopped working- Steve

  • Rabs

    My defy is a week old and has an intermittent earphone problem. Very frustrating when I have to go to speaker phone in public!!

  • Sharon

    I'm on my 4th Defy handset since Nov 10. The first two handsets lost the sound in the earpieces. I have never used the jack so don't think this is the cause of the problem.The third was a reconditioned one which appeared to have several faults, including putting the date of my deleted emails as 1st Jan 1970! Hope the new handset doesn't go the way of the other three.

  • Jake

    I just had the problem develop less than two months since it developed in my first defy, which was only 2 months old when that earpiece went out.

  • Anwar6745

    Just had my defy repaired after ear piece failure I am angry and disappionted with motorola lets see how thing go now I gave motorola a chance and they f,d it up well done

  • Stuart davenport

    Same problem with my earpiece going after 2 months

  • Ray

    The earpiece problem is very common as is the fault of the phone restarting and another fault of the phone not being able to make calls. I had mine for a week and sent it back - this phone is riddled with both harware and firmware faults. It's extremely unlikely I will consider buying another Motorola product.

  • ag

    Speaker on my first defy failed after 2 weeks. Had to put the phone on speaker phone to hear calls. This wasn't due to headphone jack as i never used it until it failed (but did then discover you could still hear calls via headphone).

    I had lousy service from telstra in australia to replace it but that's another story.

    defy #2 lasted less than 2 weeks before sound failed yesterday.

    interesting thing is, and i haven't seen this noted elsewhere, IS THAT THE INCOMING SPEAKER SOUND STILL WORKS ON MY DEVICE IF I HAVE IT ON "MUTE"!

    this discovery is not much practical use though, because on mute the caller can't actually hear you (it reverses the situation from you not hearing them but them hearing you).

    --- but it does suggest this is not a simple hardware problem.

  • inative

    Same model, same problem. Mine has been working well for more than 3 months before the ear-speaker failed.

    The only Motorola certified service here in Slovakia has even denied to repair, just because it had been purchased abroad. So I'm giving it up and decided to replace it with some HTC soon.

  • Zippy

    I have had the same issue. Motorola are as helpful as a pocket in a singlet. Telstra not much better.
    Phone lasted about 6 weeks before earpiece failed.
    Should have gone the iphone! at least I would have been able to hear others who called me.

    • k

      My defy*2 both have micro phone issues, i hear fine but the recipients say im breaking up + with full signal.

  • http://www.bkkautos.com Peter

    I had mine for almost 6 months before the earpiece failed. I suppose I should count myself lucky it failed while still under warranty. Hopefully the repair will be good.

  • nils

    on my device the mute button seems to solve the problem. i will let you know if i can still confirm this tomorrow after a few phone calls.


  • Anthony

    I bought my defy in february, 1st speaker was replaced mid april, new speaker lasted 4 weeks, so i decided to use the jack with speakers till i needed my phone less, then after 2 weeks it stopped working. I've also noticed the battery life on the defy is very poor, some days it lasts 6 or 7 hours when i barely use the phone. Telstra couldnt give a rats ass either so i've taken them and motorola to the industry ombudsmen to get out of my contract and go with an iphone i think which is a shame since i really liked the defy as a phone.

  • Ruby27

    I am ready to submit a complain with BBB because i paid full price for the motorola defy device, i sent it back to the repair center and i still haven't get the replacement or my new phone back. I had the same problems with the ear speaker it didn't work unless i use the speaker phone or the earphones. :(

  • Brad

    Have had phone 12 months,experiencing the problem with hearing recipient,however putting on loud speaker rectifies problem,but once doing so,must share conversation with others-no privacy