That happend to my phone and my friends phone. one thing to try is to replace the ribon. i dont know how to do it my self, but some people at phone stores might know how. my friends dad works at cingular and he said that replacing the ribon should fix the problem. and it cost about 40$
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a few things to take into account, have you dropped it? has it ever been exposed to liquid? of no on both try to take the battery out hold the power button for a few seconds put the battery back in and turn the phone back on if it turns on just a software issue. If not or you said yes to the first 2 questions its possible there is damage to the phone, there is a flex strip that connects the phone to the screen if it gets wet it corrodes and if u drop the phone sometimes it comes unpluged. the flex strip coming unpluged is the most common issue with this phone generaly from over extention of the hinge. "opened it up to far"
I'm having the same trouble, and I've found it's because the v3 no longer recognizes the opening and closing of the phone itself. You see, when you close it, something is triggered that tells the phone to shut off the main screen and change the outer screen to the usual mode where it shows the time. You can also test this by trying to take a picture and closing the phone - the external lcd no longer doubles as a second camera display to easily take pictures of yourself.
I dropped mine into the toilet, and I'm not sure if there's anything to do but take it to a tech. Sounds and looks like a hardware problem to me.