Make us your home page
Instagram

At iDroid Repairs, smartphone surgeons bring devices back to life

SPRING HILL — The brightly lit, spotless work space at iDroid Repairs and Products resembles an operating room.

Javier Rodriguez, with keen eyesight, steady hands and a jeweler's magnetic screwdriver, hovers over myriad tiny pieces and says, "I'm a smartphone surgeon."

Rodriguez is one of four young and personable geeks who restore functions to iPhones, iPads, iPods, computers and Android-driven devices that have succumbed to accidents and other operating issues.

"There are no retail places in the area that do this," co-owner Steve Bruno, 33, said with pride.

Bruno shoved forward a shoebox-sized container overflowing with mostly broken and cracked smartphone faceplates ready to be discarded.

"That's two days' worth (of work)," he said.

Even though the faceplates are constructed with an acrylic product known as Gorilla Glass, Bruno said, "when dropped, it'll still crack."

Water damage — to rubber power buttons or charging ports — is the next biggest culprit, often happening in a vehicle's cup holders, where phones sometimes are stored.

Then there are screens that go completely black — "just wear and tear," Rodriguez said.

In his seemingly sterile work room, Rodriguez carefully disassembled such a phone, arranging its tiny bits in a pattern on his work mat just as they were arranged inside the device. Among the puzzle parts, he estimated there were 30 screws, each no bigger than a flea, "each with its own purpose, so you have to keep your workspace tidy and clean."

While restoring 10 to 15 smartphones a day, Rodriguez particularly likes the challenge of putting life back into an iPad — "very complex," he said. "You have to lift the glass (to get to the working parts), and it's glued to glass." He applies a hot air gun.

Water is no friend to iPads, frequently dropped in swimming pools, usually by kids. Youngsters are also primarily responsible for nonphysical "illnesses" in iPads and iPods, viruses attached to kids' games and cartoon apps, said Agata Kozakiewicz, 26, co-owner of the business with her fiance. To remove a virus, the device's memory must be "scrubbed."

Customers praise iDroid's quick service — often no longer than an hour and a half — and reasonable pricing, maybe $50. Most bigger stores send out repairs, requiring a three- or four-day turnaround, Bruno said, and costing at least $100 for a similar repair.

On a recent afternoon, Debbie Harris, "over 60," visited iDroid with a child-induced problematic device. Repair completed, she gave Kozakiewicz a hug and said of the techies, "They're really nice. They don't make old people feel stupid."

Toward that end, the technicians offered this advice: For every smartphone, buy a case to protect it; if a device gets wet, immediately plunge it into a zipper-lock plastic bag filled with uncooked rice, then get it in for professional drying out; monitor children's use of computer devices, particularly downloads.

Bruno, who has worked in the computer technology field since 1989, brought his current technicians with him from Sprint when he launched iDroid two years ago. The startup then repaired only smartphones.

Having successfully branched into servicing other computerized devices, Bruno and Kozakiewicz are looking to open additional sites in New Port Richey and Trinity.

Contact Beth Gray at graybethn@earthlink.net.

>>fast facts

iDroid Repairs

and Products

What: Hardware repairs for mobile devices, tablets, video game systems, CPU, laptops

Where: 12555 Spring Hill Drive, Niagara Square, Spring Hill

When: 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Monday through Friday; 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday

Phone: (352) 600-8915

At iDroid Repairs, smartphone surgeons bring devices back to life 08/13/14 [Last modified: Wednesday, August 13, 2014 6:46pm]
Photo reprints | Article reprints

© 2017 Tampa Bay Times

    

Join the discussion: Click to view comments, add yours

Loading...
  1. Memorial Day sales not enough to draw shoppers to Tampa Bay malls

    Retail

    TAMPA — Memorial Day sales at Tampa Bay area malls were not enough to compete with the beach and backyard barbecues this holiday weekend.

    Memorial Day sales weren't enough to draw shoppers to Tampa Bay area malls over the long weekend. 
[JUSTINE GRIFFIN | Times]
  2. Austin software company acquires second Tampa business

    Corporate

    Austin, Tex.-based Asure Software acquired Tampa's Compass HRM Inc. late last week for $6 million. Compass focuses on HR and payroll.

    [Company photo]
  3. Hackers hide cyberattacks in social media posts

    Business

    SAN FRANCISCO — It took only one attempt for Russian hackers to make their way into the computer of a Pentagon official. But the attack didn't come through an email or a file buried within a seemingly innocuous document.

    Jay Kaplan and Mark Kuhr, former NSA employees and co-founders of Synack, a cybersecurity company, in their office in Palo Alto, Calif., in 2013. While last year's hacking of senior Democratic Party officials raised awareness of the damage caused if just a handful of employees click on the wrong emails, few people realize that a message on Twitter or Facebook could give an attacker similar access to their system. 
[New York Times file photo]
  4. Big rents and changing tastes drive dives off St. Pete's 600 block

    Music & Concerts

    ST. PETERSBURG — Kendra Marolf was behind the lobby bar of the State Theatre, pouring vodka sodas for a weeknight crowd packed tight for Bishop Briggs, the latest alternative artist to sell out her club.

    Sam Picciano, 25, left, of Tampa and Molly Cord 24, Palm Harbor shop for record albums for a friend at Daddy Kool Records located on the 600 block of Central Avenue in St. Petersburg, Florida on Saturday, May 20, 2017. OCTAVIO JONES   |   Times
  5. How Hollywood is giving its biggest stars digital facelifts

    Business

    LOS ANGELES — Johnny Depp is 53 years old but he doesn't look a day over 26 in the new "Pirates of the Caribbean" movie — at least for a few moments. There was no plastic surgeon involved, heavy makeup or archival footage used to take the actor back to his boyish "Cry Baby" face, however. It's all …

    This combination of photos released by Disney, shows the character Jack Sparrow at two stages of his life in "Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales."  Johnny Depp, who portrays the character, is the latest mega-star to get the drastic de-aging treatment on screen
[Disney via Associated Press]