Thursday, November 24, 2011

Google responds to Galaxy Nexus volume bug: 'we have a fix'

The Galaxy Nexus volume bug has been squashed in Google's labs. The Android software maker has just announced it has a fix for the problem plaguing UK owners of the new Nexus, which will be rolled out "as soon as possible." Here's Google's statement in full:

"We are aware of the volume issue and have developed a fix. We will update devices as soon as possible."

It was starting to look like the pseudo-random volume fluctuation on the device was a hardware issue, one that would potentially require the replacement of affected handsets, but Google's promise of an update would seem to indicate that's not the case. Let's hope the remedy is as simple as an over-the-air software update.

The Verge reached out to Google for clarification and have been told the volume issue is definitely going to be fixed in software. As with anything of this kind, what we're looking at is the faulty interaction between software and hardware, however the company is resolute in saying it'll deliver a software fix.

Unfortunately, Google's track record in such matters is less than perfect, following similar promises of a software solution to the Nexus One's chronic 3G and touchscreen issues. Eventually, the company just abandoned attempts at a fix, having originally claimed those problems could be overcome with better software.

Also, Android Police found a post in Google+ by Dan Morrill a noted Android engineer, and he has not only confirmed once and for all that the volume bug can be fixed by a software update, but also linked to a rather eloquent explanation, courtesy of Google+ member Lee Johnston.

In the post, Lee explains that the problem is hardware-related only in that the interference is coming through the radio hardware. That being said, the problem can easily be fixed by adjusting something called debounce, a software function which essentially interprets the "flutter" caused by pressing a button (or likewise interference) as either a fluke or a legitimate input, based on duration of the "press." Upping the Nexus' volume rocker debounce threshold to the average button-tap range of 100-200ms should fix the problem, and Morrill hints that this is exactly what Google plans on doing.

Here, you can see a video of the bug