User forums are lit up with complaints about Samsung’s Galaxy Nexus smartphone, which was released in the UK late last week. It seems that the handset’s volume control goes haywire when the connection shifts to a 2G band. Unfortunately, 2G is widespread in Europe.
The Galaxy Nexus is the first phone to ship with Android 4.0, also known as “Ice Cream Sandwich.”
A YouTube video — and there are plenty — shows the volume bouncing between low and high. When it happens, the user is unable to make calls or use other functions such as playing videos or games. The phone is expected to hit Verizon’s network in the United States in the next few weeks.
The British carrier O2 has reportedly alerted Samsung and Google of the problem.
Neither Google nor Samsung responded to the E-Commerce Times’ request for comments by press time.
Fix It and Fix It Fast
How quickly Samsung and Google can fix the apparent glitch will depend on what’s causing the problem. At first blush, it appears to be something that may be fixable via a software update.
“There is probably a 99 percent chance that this is a software or firmware bug, so Samsung should be able to quickly fix it and send out an update,” Allen Nogee, principal analyst for wireless technology at In-Stat, told LinuxInsider. “The volume level in phones today is controlled by software, so if the volume is changing for unexpected reasons, that points to something that can be fixed with an update.”
If Samsung can fix the problem fast, Nogee said, it likely won’t do much damage to the company’s reputation.
“It seems all the handset manufacturers are experiencing these glitches now and then,” he said. “The sad part of the handset business lately is that model updates are flying out the door so fast that manufacturers just don’t perform all the testing that they should.”
Some of the glitches happen because manufacturers know that they can fix problems remotely, he added.
“They ship out their products and fix them later,” said Nogee. “It’s the consumer that suffers. After the phone is purchased, you could be stuck with a device which is broken until it is fixed.”
Consumers should speak up and say they aren’t going to take it any longer, he opined.
A Widespread Problem
“The fact that this is not an isolated incident presents a problem for Samsung and Google,” Ramon T. Llamas, senior research analyst for IDC Mobile Devices Technology, told LinuxInsider. “New software, particularly an updated OS, is not a stranger to experiencing glitches. This is a caveat for anyone who wants to be among the first to own new software on a new device.”
The volume problem seriously limits the usability of the device, Llamas noted. It goes beyond making and receiving calls.
“It affects playing games, watching video and other functions,” said Llamas. The longer that this goes unresolved, the more it will have ripple effects on other launches planned by Samsung, he added.
“It’s my sense is that both companies are examining it and coming up with a solution,” said Llamas. “As with all technology glitches, it’s important to acknowledge the problem, work on the problem, then send the fix when it becomes available.”
Or Maybe Not So Much?
While various user forums — and Samsung’s Facebook site — are lit up with complaints, the volume problem may evaporate instantly once a fix is in. Should it arrive quickly, there’s a good chance Google and Samsung can avoid long-term customer resentment.
“This is a minor problem for Samsung and Google at the moment,” Neil Mawston, director of global wireless practice at Strategy Analytics, told LinuxInsider. “Provided Samsung and Google fix the UK glitch with a swift software update, and provided the problem is not replicated at the bigger U.S. launch next month, there should not be too much damage done.”