Update 2 (Google posts a fix that hoses my phone) - Gmail flickering bug keeps many Android users from accessing mail

Update 2 (Google posts a fix that hoses my phone) - Gmail flickering bug keeps many Android users from accessing mail

Summary: Google claims the bug, which makes the Gmail app both unusable and extremely unstable, will be fixed shortly. I, like many other users, am still waiting.

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Android forums are widely reporting a bug in the Gmail app that causes repeated flickering for users, rendering them unable to access mail on their phones and tablets. It hit my Droid Razr tonight (video below, shot, ironically, from my new iPad):

According to the Verge, Google reports that the problem will be resolved shortly as it actually lies with their servers rather than the app itself. Reports across the web have the problems appearing on phones on all major networks, on tablets, and across many phone models and Android builds. Reports on Google's forums suggest that some users were able to resolve the issue with a factory reset, while others noted that the problem had resolved itself. However, ongoing posts suggest that these are exceptions and resetting the device will most likely not do much besides create hassles setting up the device again, still with unusable Gmail.

Update (3/23/2012, 12:43AM EDT) Upon restarting my phone, my primary email account was not available within the Gmail app. Interestingly, many users had reported that the bug only existed in their primary account, although I wasn't able to get to other accounts to test this. Stepping through the "Add Account" process in the app appeared to successfully add my primary account back to Gmail, but, upon returning to the account selection screen, my primary account was unavailable. I'll post further updates tonight as Google moves to resolve this problem.

Update (3/23/2012, 3:10AM EDT) Google is reporting that it has implemented a fix for the flickering bug. According to "BrittanyBee",

We've isolated the issue and put a fix in and so the flickering should stop. If the flickering does not stop for you, try removing and re-adding the account on your device. If that does not work, feel free to reach out on this thread and we can continue to investigate. Thank you for all of your patience.

Per my first update, I had already "re-added" my primary account with no result; when I attempted to add it again, Android reported that I had already added the account. Restarting my phone resulted in another hard restart, at which point I was prompted to enter my MOTOBLUR account and password, since my "SIM had recently been removed". My primary Gmail account was listed as the only choice for a login, so I entered my Gmail password - I never set up a separate MOTOBLUR account. And guess what? That password wasn't correct. My only other option was to reset my phone. I could see emails being delivered, but couldn't actually get into my phone.

Thank you, Google, for that fix. Very effective. How about you - Any aftermath from Google's "fix"? Before I restart my phone, I'm going to post these updates to the Google forum where this all began. And then I'm headed for bed, grumpy, with a $600 superphone I can't use. I'll update this in the morning.

What's bothersome, though, is that this resolution was buried

K9 Mail is available for free in the Google Play App Market, as well as on the Amazon Market and is arguably the most robust alternative to the Gmail app as a workaround for now. Scanning the barcode below will bring you to the K9 app in the Google Market:

Topics: Browser, Apps, Cloud, Collaboration, Google

Christopher Dawson

About Christopher Dawson

Chris Dawson is a freelance writer, consultant, and policy advocate with 20 years of experience in education, technology, and the intersection of the two.

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5 comments
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  • Google = weak !!!!

    Google = weak !!!!
    hubivedder
  • I haven't used the Gmail App in months

    K9 has been my default Android mail client for a long time. I've disabled the standard Gmail and Email apps on my phone. K9 is pretty good. I had hangs and crashes with some mail services last summer, but those are long since resolved.
    brcowan@...
  • v2.3.5.2 working flawlessly

    I'm wondering if it's an isolated issue with certain models... I have the original HTC Incredible with the Gmail App v2.3.5.2 and it's working beautifully... always has. I like it much better than the stock Mail app in Android for my Gmail accounts. I haven't tried the K9 app... it is referred to as "the most robust alternative to the Gmail app" but is it better? I suppose it's a lot better if the Gmail app isn't working for you... but if there is no issue with the Gmail app... is K9 better or just an alternative?
    Doug-WA
  • v2.3.5.2 Working Fine on AT&T Captivate

    I haven't seen this problem.
    fastoy
  • Not a problem...

    ...nothing to see here.
    BIGELLOW