PLEASE READ THE FOLLOWING BEFORE REPLYING
PLEASE NOTE THAT THE PROBLEM HAS BEEN FIXED WITH AN OVER-THE-AIR UPDATE BY GOOGLE. IF YOU SUFFER FROM THIS PROBLEM THEN YOU SHOULD WAIT FOR THE UPDATE TO ARRIVE ON YOUR DEVICE.
What the problem is
- The device has an issue of volume acting strangely. Most often the volume mutes very quickly. Sometimes the volume starts 'jumping' between muted and loud very quickly.
- This volume issue happens often during phone calls, using internet or receiving SMS text messages.
- Some users are also reporting that when calling, they can hear 'radio interference' sounds.
- The device is often unresponsive while the problem happens. Power button not working for the brief time has been reported.
How it happens
- The problem happens while the device uses GSM 900 network, that is when the device is in 2G.
- Your phone is on 2G when it uses E (Edge) and G (GPRS) connections, both data and mobile. If data is used, a small letter near signal indicator points out what you are connected to.
- The problem happens while another device that is on GSM 900 is nearby and is transmitting in 2G network. This happens even if Nexus itself is not using any networks at the time (such as when radios are off and the device is in Airplane mode).
- The problem is more evident when user is in low-signal area and more 2G information is transmitted.
- The problem also happens in bootloader and is not the fault of Android 4.0 itself.
- Please remember that the problem does not happen for all 2G networks, some 2G networks (especially outside Europe) do not use GSM 900.
How many users are affected
- Every Samsung Galaxy Nexus handset seems to be affected by this problem. Majority of users however are not encountering the problem due to not using GSM 900 2G networks.
- 2G networks working on GSM 900 are majority of Europe, Africa, Australia, Middle East and large part of Asia.
- In UK, the GSM 900 is used by O2, Vodafone, giffgaff, Tesco Mobile.
What Samsung and Google are saying
- No official statements from Samsung other than asking people to send details of the problems on their customer support e-mail (email@example.com).
- Samsung did post a quote on their Samsung UK Facebook wall that says 'We are aware of the volume issue and have developed a fix. We will update devices as soon as possible.' This quote is said to be originating from Google according to Samsung, Clove, androidpolice.com and The Verge.
- Google employee has confirmed in an Android developer chatroom that Google is developing or has developed a software fix for the problem.
- Another Google employee, Dan Morrill, shared a post by Lee Johnson on his wall and said that he is very accurate in his estimation about how software can fix this hardware flaw.
- Google has replied to a customer support thread that there is a fix and it will be rolled out in the coming week. It is possible that the 'coming week' refers to week starting 5th of December.
What sellers are saying
- Handtec and Clove conducted additional testing on the devices and both found the volume bug to exist on their devices.
- Handtec stopped the shipments after the problem became widely known. Samsung Distribution also stopped shipments for sellers few days later, delaying shipments of the device for a week.
- Clove stated that according to what they heard from Google, that a software fix is being worked upon. Clove stated that according to their sources the problem is in software and not hardware. Clove has not gotten this information from Google or Samsung directly however and refers to their inside research about information found online and their own sources.
- While it was originally believed that the shipment delays are because of Samsung flashing the devices with updated software that will fix the bug, the new devices shipped on 29.11 also carry the bug according to Clove. It seems Samsung held the shipments to give Google additional testing time with the fix and held back possible refunds and replacement handsets would have gotten had the shipments not been held back.
Is it hardware or software problem?
- All the tests conducted by many users so far indicate that the problem is in hardware and that the device receives signals from 2G that it should not receive due to not being protected from radio interference. This is also shown while the device runs in bootloader.
- Many engineers here and in other forums and social networks say that a cheap hardware shielding would fix the problem easily, however Samsung and Google intend to fix the problem with possibly as valid means through software.
- If the software fix manages to patch the problem, then it really does not matter if the problem was in software or hardware, as long as the device works properly and there are no after-effects, since some users fear that the software fix of a hardware might cause additional battery drain or unresponsiveness problems. But this is merely an opinion, we will know more once the patch is out.
- The flaw is confirmed to be a hardware flaw by engineers, as well as a Google employee (referred to above). But both state that it is common for this type of hardware flaw to be patched with software and it is likely that many devices you already own have such patches in place without you knowing it.
What you can do
- Wait for the update to arrive on your Galaxy Nexus. Google is slowly rolling out a fix to all handsets right now. Make sure you have internet or data connection for the update and have your phone in a charger just in case while updating.