Google stays quiet on Nexus S 'ICS' Android battery fix

Google stays quiet on Nexus S 'ICS' Android battery fix

Summary: Google has failed to provide any explanation or fix for the major battery issue affecting Nexus S smartphones that have been upgraded to Android 'Ice Cream Sandwich' 4.0, almost two weeks after the abortive rollout began.

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TOPICS: Telcos
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Google has failed to provide any explanation or fix for the major battery issue affecting Nexus S smartphones that have been upgraded to Android 'Ice Cream Sandwich' 4.0, almost two weeks after the abortive rollout began.

The company started an over-the-air deployment of the ICS upgrade on 16 December, only to bring it to a halt four days later after people complained of serious problems with the update.

One of the most critical issues is a reduction of the Nexus S's battery life after the 'upgrade' has taken place. In ZDNet UK's own experience, the device now drains within five hours of a full charge, regardless of whether it is in use or not.

This issue has been reported by many other users, although it is not clear whether it affects every Nexus S handset that has made the leap to Android 4.0. It may be that the problem affects ICS users in general, with Galaxy Nexus handsets also falling victim. Some have suggested that, given the unusually high proportion of battery use that seems to be attributable to the Android OS itself in ICS, the current build of ICS leaves Android unable to go into proper 'deep sleep' mode.

There have also been reports of the upgrade introducing bugs that severely affect the Nexus S's cellular and Wi-Fi capabilities. There are also further difficulties that appear to have something to do with the upgrade process itself, with ICS not installing properly.

ZDNet UK has asked Google whether it is able to fix the bugs, or is even aware of why they are occurring, but the company refused to give comment. It also declined to offer any new schedule for the upgrade rollout's resumption, other than to reiterate a past statement that the renewed deployment would begin "over the coming month".

This means those with Nexus S handsets who have installed the upgrade will have to put up with the severely reduced battery life for now, or — as there is no Google-sanctioned way to roll back to the previous Android 'Gingerbread' 2.3 version — root their phone and install an unofficial mod in order to make the device usable on a day-to-day basis again.

However, taking the latter option would involve voiding the handset's warranty.

Topic: Telcos

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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3 comments
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  • My Nexus S is running just fine with the 4.0 (ICS) upgrade, battery life, cell connection, WiFi connection, etc: all is well and running normally.
    tomz_loftsoftware
  • Turns out there are at least two official upgrade downloads out there. The battery does seem to be better with the larger (160MB) of the two, but it seems the smaller (125GB) was the one that got pushed out over the air. Personally, neither gave me Wi-Fi problems.
    David Meyer
  • I've always had a problem with my Wi-Fi on my Nexus S, so I haven't seen any difference there, probably just a bad chip in mine.

    But, since updating my battery life and signal has been terrible! I used to get full 3G signal where I live but now I get 1 bar, and that's if I'm lucky, I had to have it on 2G only and even then I had to plug my phone into charge that often I just gave up and I'm now back with a smashed up Windows Phone while the phone I actually want to use is sitting there, unusable. It's bad for google this problem, especially with no word about a fix.
    q3billy