UK Galaxy Nexus users hit with crippling volume control bug

Summary:A large number of UK users of the Galaxy Nexus are reporting a rather odd, yet very specific bug, which renders the entire device unusable.

A figure as high as two-thirds of Galaxy Nexus users, the first Samsung smartphone to ship with the new Android 4.0 "Ice Cream Sandwich" update, are finding the smartphone to be occasionally unusable after a volume control bug emerged.

The phone, launched in the UK on November 17th, and is expected to reach the U.S. on Verizon in the coming weeks. But a wider rollout could be hampered by this bug, which some suggest could be a hardware specific issue with the highly anticipated smartphone.

(Source: CNET/CBS Interactive)

While sister site CNET UK report that a similar problem was found in their pre-release review unit, it only seems to be affecting Nexus smartphones in the UK and Europe, while there have yet to be any reports of problems in the U.S.

The bug appears to present itself as the volume control changes erratically when the phone achieves 2G network signal in the 900 Mhz frequency -- a common wavelength across Europe, also known as GSM 900. Users are unable to control the volume with the side hardware buttons and are often unable to do anything else with the smartphone.

Not only would the device fall silent, meaning the device user may miss calls and text messages, but in some cases it takes over the entire device, rendering the device useless until the smartphone self-corrects like an upturned turtle.

Because 3G data runs on a different wavelength, users are only affected when the 'G' (for GPRS) or 'E' (for EDGE) is showing on the phone's display. Oddly enough, it's the one time you don't want to get the broadband-fast 3G signal on your mobile.

One YouTube member videoed the problem, which shows a shaky and unpredictable software volume slider, that clearly affects how the device operates.

UK mobile network O2 was unable to provide a fix, the company said in a tweet to a customer, but reassured followers that both Google who provide the Android operating system, and Samsung who built the phone, have both been informed of the problem.

Samsung has been criticised publicly on its Facebook wall in rather graphic detail of clearly angry users, as developers and hardcore early adopters work to gather intelligence on the misbehaving smartphone.

Related:

Topics: Mobility, Google

About

Zack Whittaker writes for ZDNet, CNET, and CBS News. He is based in New York City.

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