It has been a rough few months for mobile device manufacturers. As you may recall, Samsung’s Galaxy 7 Note gizmos* started bursting into flames back in August of 2016, leading to a complete recall and more than a little snark from consumers. Now, Samsung has some company in the faulty-technology-Breakfast Club, though the newcomer’s problems are not quite so dire.
Some users of Google’s Pixel smartphones have been experiencing hardware problems with their devices. The issue affects the Pixels’ microphones, which, since they’re supposed to be, you know, devices for talking into, is kind of a problem. It’s no “catching fire while charging the battery,” but as far as phone problems go, it’s pretty significant.
Users reporting this problem have stated that the Pixel’s microphone only works when recording video. Otherwise, no dice. Google Support initial hoped the issue could be resolved with a software update, but this proved ineffective. Google has now requested that all Pixel users experiencing microphone problems send in their devices for repairs or replacement.
Brian Rakowski, Google’s VP of Product Management, stated that the problem may stem from either a hairline crack in certain solder connections inside the phones, or an absolute manufacturing defect. “We are taking additional steps to qualify refurbished phones to make sure they don’t have this mic problem,” Rakowski said in a statement.
As far as Google can tell, the issue has only been popping up in phones manufactured before January of this year, and, unlike the Samsung fiasco, impacts less than one percent of the devices sold. (Both Pixel and Pixel XL smartphones have affected, however—in Samsung’s case, it was only the Galaxy Note 7 that had problems, while their Galaxy 7 devices were unaffected.)
The Next Google Glass?
Personally, because I love it when Google fails at anything, I was hoping this would turn into the next Google Glass, but that doesn’t seem likely. A small but significant number of Pixel phones previously had problems with their camera lenses, but those were mostly solved via software updates. Despite these issues, Pixel devices are still selling briskly, and the company recently announced that the Pixel 2 will be hitting shelves soon.
You can’t win ‘em all.
* I refuse to use the word “phablet” ever again.**
** Dammit, I just did!