Another Android SMS bug that Google doesn't seem interested in fixing

Another Android SMS bug that Google doesn't seem interested in fixing

Summary: It's generally accepted that a smartphone is still a phone, and that it does all the 'phone-y' stuff that we expect of it, like making and receiving calls and sending and receiving SMS messages. Right? Well, not for handsets based on the Android operating system.

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It's generally accepted that a smartphone is still a phone, and that it does all the 'phone-y' stuff that we expect of it, like making and receiving calls and sending and receiving SMS messages. Right? Well, not for handsets based on the Android operating system.

Remember that Android SMS bug from earlier this year that would cause SMS messages to be sent to random contacts? The one that was initially marked as 'medium' priority and which had been left to fester for six months before finally being marked as 'critical' and taken seriously? Well, here's another one, again related to SMS messages, and again this one has been left to fester ... for over a year.

The problem is as follows. Android users get a low internal memory notification despite there being plenty of space left on the handset (many megabytes). Following this notification users cannot receive text messages unless they clear out old messages or delete apps.

I'll let those affected have their say:

Nov 22nd, 2009

"Last weekend, some how I got low internal memory notification in top bar. As I checked I have like 8M memory left. After that I tried to send an SMS to myself and got pending in msg report. After I delete some apps to make the low memory notification disappear, I can receive sms again."

Aug 7th, 2010

"I just suffered through the same issue on my nexus one running stock android 2.2. The phone told me a message had been rejected due to low memory. I cleared memory to 64 megs of free space, restarted the phone but the missed message was just gone."

Sept 7th, 2010

"Well I was mystified as to why my €500 smartphone couldn't recieve SMS for about a week, until i stumbled upon this page. For the love of everything holy, please resolve this issue before the next release."

Oct 22nd, 2010

"This is such a BASIC function of cellphones that it is on a level of incompetence by the Android team that it has not been solved yet. This lack of functionality is unacceptable when it has been available on other phones for the past 10 years!"

Nov 15th, 2010

"This is CRITICAL bug. SMS is essential cellphone function."

Dec 31st, 2010

"This happens on my Nexus One when internal space gets around 10mb. It doesnt matter if I have 10 threads or 0 threads it will reject any message until i start removing apps. Pretty stupid considering a text uses almost no memory. Why doesnt it warn you before a message is received so I can make room without missing?"

Jan 20th, 2011

"This is the only bug I have personally experienced on Android and it SUCKS!"

Hey, Google! FIX IT!!!

Topics: Google, Collaboration, Hardware, Mobility, Networking, Telcos

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40 comments
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  • it is easy to work around...

    Go into your SMS settings and set the option to retain x amount of texts down to something like 80 per conversation... the default is 200 and I imagine the app is restricted by the OS in some way by default.
    slickjim
    • Does it matter???

      @Peter Perry

      Welcome to Roid fragmentation!!! Yearly updates!!! WooHoo!!!!

      Yes... That means that Google might get around to fixing a bug/vulnerability a year or longer after discovery. And that Roid fragmentation keeps getting worse and worse and worse with every new Roid device that hits the market... Might have to push that update window out to every 18 months, or even once every 2 years.
      i8thecat
  • RE: Another Android SMS bug that Google doesn't seem interested in fixing

    It took Google more than 5 years to "fix" calendars and time zones, and they still didn't do it right. Are they clueless?
    tn77
  • So... what if Google Fixes it...

    who is going to deploy the fix into the wild?
    and who is going to test the fix on the devices before release?
    borisaf
  • Fork the code and make a new Android

    .. isn't that Linux's answer to everything....?
    croberts
    • RE: Another Android SMS bug that Google doesn't seem interested in fixing

      @croberts you evil!.... ;)
      borisaf
    • RE: Another Android SMS bug that Google doesn't seem interested in fixing

      @croberts If you aren't personally going to commit the resources to fix the bug or have it fixed by someone who could do it, and you don't want to wait a moment longer for someone else to fix it for you, why don't you buy a new iPhone or a Nokia and be happy? For someone like you, a new phone that does what you want would cost less than one week's wages. Compare that to characterizing, diagnosing, fixing and testing the bug. Those activities might take someone like you 6 months, plus you would have to pay for the test phones. Do you know how many test phones you would need?
      Wombatmobile
  • RE: Another Android SMS bug that Google doesn't seem interested in fixing

    another reason to keep android out of the workplace... we depend on SMS alerts for various notifications... network, server, database issues and errors...
    HCastle
    • RE: Another Android SMS bug that Google doesn't seem interested in fixing

      @HCastle This makes the assumption that everyone is experiencing this problem. I know about a dozen people who have Android phones, and none of them have had this problem. Unscientific, yes, but statistically this would suggest that fewer than 10% even experience this problem. I'm willing to bet the reality is even lower than this.

      There also seems to be some confusion. I keep hearing "memory". Yet, in other cases, it seems to be referring to the internal storage space. The two are not the same thing, so it already sounds like the users reporting this problem don't know what they're talking about.

      Since I have the original Motorola Droid, I have 1/16th the internal storage space of the more modern Motorola Droids. So, I have occasionally run into a problem where my internal storage is filled and I have to delete an app. I pay attention and can tell that the warning happens when there is only 25 MB free. So, it seems like there is a certain amount of "padding".

      Just because someone might say "there's plenty of space! it's wrong!" doesn't mean it's wrong. If the definition of "not enough space" means "not enough space, with padding included" and that padding happens to be 25 MB, then when there is only 24 MB, there is now officially not enough space.

      I think this is what is going on. It may be percentage-based. So, for mine, it's 25 MB... for others, it might be much larger. So, this sounds less like a "bug" to me, and more like user confusion. Users need to stop looking at storage amounts, calling it memory, then suggesting that the error message must be wrong, when they don't know the logic behind the error message. Just heed the message and delete the largest 5 of the 500 apps which have been installed. Better yet, many applications can be moved to the SD card, freeing up internal storage without the need for deleting apps.
      BIGELLOW
      • RE: Another Android SMS bug that Google doesn't seem interested in fixing

        @BIGELLOW That sounds just about right. I to have the original Droid and have not experienced this problem. Then again, I don't get hundreds of text messages, nor do I keep them for very long either.
        wirejockey
      • RE: Another Android SMS bug that Google doesn't seem interested in fixing

        @BIGELLOW The only way you'll experience this "bug" which is intended behavior anyhow, is to fill up your free space.
        snoop0x7b
      • its a bug Jim, but not as we know it

        @BIGELLOW two years later and this is still a bug. users shouldn't have to know the logic behind the error in order to understand the error. this is why apple sells so much stuff - because their stuff is intuitive. so now you need 25MB to receive a 170 character text!!! that's not only ludicrous - it's technically incompetent. the system should bend to the will of the people not the other way at around
        mikesurtees
  • RE: Another Android SMS bug that Google doesn't seem interested in fixing

    Google's employees would rather sit around and play with office toys rather than fix the very problems they created. After this incident I now know to never get an android phone.
    Loverock Davidson
    • RE: Another Android SMS bug that Google doesn't seem interested in fixing

      @Loverock Davidson You knew that before this incident, quit trying to pretend it's the straw the broke the camel's back. With you every android incident is and you post something similar. You were determined not to have an android phone from the day it was announced. We're all familiar with your constant crap, maybe you could save some time and not post and just let us infer your opinion because we know what it's going to be on anything Apple or Android.
      snoop0x7b
    • RE: Another Android SMS bug that Google doesn't seem interested in fixing

      @Loverock Davidson

      in this case, Microsoft Exchange Server does the same thing (refuse messages when critically low on free space)
      erik.soderquist
  • Fixed in Android 2.2.2 and 2.3.2?

    Isn't this one of the bugs fixed in Android 2.2.2 (recently rolled out to Nexus One phones, like my own) and Android 2.3.2 (recently rolled out to Nexus S phones)?
    The problem is Google can only roll out changes to these two phones running stock Android.
    Everyone else has to wait for their carrier.
    Spatha
  • I'm sure that DonnieBoy guy will tell us

    that this is only an issue on an os that runs old legacy win32 apps so nothing to worry about here because this is android
    Ron Bergundy
  • Would anyone care for some cheese with their whine?

    Adi? Is this what you call 'howling' at the moon?
    Dietrich T. Schmitz, ~ Your Linux Advocate
    • RE: Another Android SMS bug that Google doesn't seem interested in fixing

      @Dietrich T. Schmitz, Your Linux Advocate
      As shocking as it may apear, I agree this sounds like a bunch of nothing to drive ad dollars to that article. While it might be an issue, it is not a major issue that many will experience, it does need to be addressed and is probably being worked on. The reason I responded to your post is because this is the same type peice that if it were about the iPhone you would be bashing the phone, not down playing it.
      non-biased
  • Doesn't sound that critical to me.

    You mean it's NOT good to fill your hard drive to full capacity?

    So, the story here is that SMS doesn't work if you fill up you hard drive until there is less than 8 MB left. While perhaps annoying to a small group of people, it is nowhere near critical.
    rlorenz