Google apps on ICS Android tablets crash more often than others

Google apps on ICS Android tablets crash more often than others

Summary: Google is quick to point out how many tablet apps are in the Google Play market, and just as quick to get its own apps released. Unfortunately they seem to crash regularly, even on ICS.


When the first Android tablet appeared on the scene the newly minted Honeycomb was not up to the task. The Motorola XOOM crashed every few minutes no matter what app was running. Over time Google got Honeycomb stabilized and the tablet was much better to use for extended periods.

Now we have Ice Cream Sandwich, the most stable version of Android for tablets yet, and while crashes are much rarer than in the past, they still happen far too frequently. My experience with two different ICS tablets shows it is usually a Google app that crashes.

This makes no sense to me, you would think the developer of the OS would have the most stable apps. Whether I am using the Samsung Galaxy Tab 10.1 or the ASUS Transformer Prime seems to be irrelevant, at least two or three times a day with typical use a Google app is going to crash.

The worst offender is the Gmail app, a great email app in every way except it crashes all the time. Sometimes it crashes when updating the inbox, other times when composing an email. It runs fine and then the app just disappears, kicking me back to the home screen.

The Chrome Beta browser is almost as bad, it works for a while and then either dumps me back to the home screen or worse gives me the dreaded black screen. When the latter happens there is no clean recovery, the Chrome app thinks everything is fine. Unfortunately it just displays a totally black web page, and the only way to recover is to go to settings and manually kill the app.

I don't use Google Voice much, but I've heard it is particularly crash-prone on Android tablets. I have seen Google+ crash a few times, although less frequently than the other Google apps I've mentioned.

This leads me to wonder why Google can't make its own apps run properly on its OS? It doesn't set a very good example for third party developers if it is as hard to do as it apparently is. Maybe Google is rushing its apps out the door to get Android tablets covered for its services, but it doesn't look good whatever the reason. It makes the most stable tablet version of Android look pretty flaky in my view.

Note: The Gmail app crashed twice on me while writing this article.

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Topics: Android, Apps, Google, Hardware, Laptops, Mobility, Tablets

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  • well that puts a damper on my ICS lust

    if this is true i'm just going to be content with the gingerbread 2.3.x i have on my galaxy note. samsung has long said the update is imminent (q1) and if it takes samsung time to get the update right, i'll be glad to wait. i only wish that they be true to their predictions/projections for these updates because not doing so will diminish their hard-earned reputation to that of nokia, microsoft, and (in my opinion) htc, all of which have fallen in prestige in the eyes of consumers. bad planning and making-it-up-as-you-go way of doing things affects future purchases, you know.
    • Reputation

      They have a reputation alright...only I don't think it exactly smells of roses.
  • Android

    Just a DIY thing.

    Anyway, the primary reason why Google pushes Android to everybody and why they write any apps for it it for collecting user's personal data. Crashing applications are ok for this and it also serves a purpose -- crashing distracts users from thinking that their data leaks, anyway.

    It can't be that difficult to write an application that does not crash :)
  • Never crashes on my devices

    Just wanted to say that I have only have a few forced close of applications on my Android devices. I am a heavy user of ICS (Android 4) on both my Asus Transformer Prime, My (modded) Galaxy Tab 7' and my Samsung Google Nexus. I don't have any problems with Gapps at ALL. I use any of them for at least 10 hours a day for work, pleasure and fun. Mostly I use Chrome, Gmail and Docs ... and really didn't have any problems.

    I tend to believe you have other apps running that makes the Gapps seem to crash or even MAKE then crash.
    • Nah,

      Nah, Samsung has been known to modify the core of the Google OS and this wouldn't surprise me at all...

      As an owner of an original Launch Day Xoom, I can also say emphatically that the apps did not crash every few minutes and that is pure Hyperbole!
    • "I tend to believe"

    • Business apps doesn't crash

      I just wanted to add that in my company we have more than 60 devices running ICS and not one of them experienced any crashes like you tell them. Well to be honest they might have had a few which I then do not know about but it is certainly not something that happens often or even remotely normal.
  • I just dumped my acer junkiecomb

    i sold my acer iconia a few weeks ago before the new iPad came out and all tablets dropped in price. I had daily crashes and basically stopped using it and used my iPhone which rarely has an app crash. I thought about waiting for ICS but the actual acer hardware feels like toy junk so just got rid of it.
    • Also about the Iconia but running HC 3.2.1

      Recently, I found that after the Google Play update, google processes FC very frequently. This was not the case even when the Iconia was updated (OTA) to 3.2.1.

      I have also lost all bookmarks in the stock browser which I used to use. Now I can't even save bookmarks in the stock browser.

      I really don't have an idea why this is happening. But if it continues, I would have to consider moving onto another OS - most likely Win 8 when it comes out. I do use my tablet for work so it has to be stable, which lately the Iconia is not being. Most likely the problem is with the OS and not the tab. Either way, this emerging state of affairs is fast becoming a problem.
      • You sure

        It could actually be the hardware....some component over heating or degrading. It would not surprise me considering the different experiences people are seeing.
  • Xoom crashed every few minutes no matter what app was running???

    This is highly exaggerated. I develop on several tablets, the original Xoom, maybe not impressive to a consumer, but most certainly does not crash every few minutes. It sounds like the author ought to write his emails on iDevices. My gmail app did not crash twice while writing this comment.
    • Yeah, no way, dude

      "This is highly exaggerated."

      Yeah, no way it keeps crashing like he said it did! Why, take my experience, for example. I have gmail running RIGHT NOW and I can tell you it's never gonna cra
      • Took a second

        still, a +1 :D
        John Zern
  • Google apps on ICS Android tablets crash more often than others

    What? Linux is not stable? I could have told you that.
    Loverock Davidson-
    • Could be something else

      Linux as its core is stable but the hardware or JVM could be flakey.
  • Hyperbole by Kendrick

    Galaxy tab 10.1 does not have ICS Galaxy tab 10.1 2 does.

    Gmail app one of the most stable apps on tablet. After Honeycomb 3.2 the only core app that crashes is the browser.
    • "Gmail app one of the most stable apps on tablet"

      I'm sorry to hear that :D
    • My tab does

      Custom ROM
      • What???

        So you feel the need to post that your Galaxy Tab 10.1 running a custom ROM is having force close issues and it couldn't possible be the custom ROM could it?

        Wow, this is even mole than your original bashing of Android!
      • Custom ROM?

        Sorry I have to agree with Peter Perry on this one... IF ICS crashes as you say on a tablet that came with it then you'd have a point but with a custom ROM you are pretty much on your own. Now supposedly I can run ICS on my Samsung Galaxy Fascinate but I have not taken the plunge yet as I'm having enough issues with running Gingerbread on my device.