Mobile Phones &Software Wes Novack on 03 Mar 2012

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich: the not so tasty problems & issues

Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich: the not so tasty problems & issues

After my trusty ol’ Motorola Droid bit the dust, I selected Google’s flagship Android smartphone, the Samsung Galaxy Nexus, as my new mobile computing device. This phone comes loaded with the very latest Android OS version 4.0, also known by its code name “Ice Cream Sandwich” (ICS).

In this post, I’ll explore some of the issues that I have encountered during my month and a half relationship with Android 4.0. But before I get into that, I’d like to preface the following segments by stating that I am very VERY pleased with the Galaxy Nexus and it is undoubtedly one of the best smartphones available on the market today. In that vein, I plan on featuring some of the more interesting (and positive) ICS features in future posts coming soon. In this post, however, I’ll be getting down to the nitty-gritty: problems & issues encountered in Android 4.0.

Android 4.0 issue: Voice Search doesn’t provide location based results for the call command

You know what’s awesome? Google Voice Actions and Google Voice Search. Before Siri captivated iPhone 4 users, Google’s Voice Search & Voice Actions were available on the Android platform, allowing users to search, text, send emails, call phones and complete many other tasks using voice commands.

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Unfortunately, when I migrated from my Motorola Droid running Android 2.2 to my Samsung Galaxy Nexus running Android 4.0.2, I was sorely disappointed to find that the Google Voice Actions “Call business-name” feature no longer provides location-specific/GPS tailored results.

Previously, if I spoke the voice command “Call Taco Bell”, Google Voice Search would give me a listing of the Taco Bell locations closest in proximity to me, relative to my current GPS location. This is no longer the case in Android 4.0, and this is a HUGE problem for me as I previously used this feature on a frequent basis. With Android 4.0, when I speak the command “Call Taco Bell” to Google Voice Search, it gives me options for a Taco Bell in Chicago and New York City, as shown above. Quite disappointing, since I live in Phoenix, AZ. Workaround: none that I could find. You’ll have to find those local phone numbers in the browser now, lame.

Android 4.0 issue: Sharing within the Camera app doesn’t allow portrait orientation

When sharing an image in the camera app, it forces you to use landscape mode to type your image caption and share your photo. If you rotate your phone to the portrait position, it doesn’t rotate the screen to the correct orientation. This does not occur if you share a photo from within the Gallery app. Workaround: click through to the gallery app before sharing photos.

Android 4.0 issue: Movie Studio crashes when a title is used

The Movie Studio app crashes when attempting to export (build) a video that has a title overlay. I had to remove my Samsung Galaxy Nexus battery in order to get the phone back online, holding down the power button wouldn’t help. Once I removed the title overlay from the video editing project, it built the video file just fine. Workaround: none found, don’t use titles in your projects.

Android 4.0 issue: Questionable battery drainage

One of the reasons I hesitated on buying the Galaxy Nexus was questionable battery life. There are many user reports around the web of dismal power longevity for this device and/or Android 4.0. For the first month or so, I didn’t really run into many issues, but I do use the extended battery from Samsung.

There are definitely some battery life issues going on here. I have gone 3 days with very light usage before my battery dies and I have also had the battery deplete in a matter of hours, and that was with very light usage and WiFi turned on. In the screenshot below, you can see one such case where my Galaxy Nexus only lasted for just under 7 hours, this was with almost zero use.

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You can see the battery life performing decently at first and then it just drops off a cliff. “Mobile network signal” appears to be the culprit here, but I never had this issue with my Motorola Droid phone. To be fair, I cannot affirmatively blame this issue on Android 4.0, as it could very well be a hardware issue (such as an inadequate antenna), but I’m guessing that it’s a mix of both. I’m hoping the next update will improve these types of battery issues. Workaround: get the extended battery and/or charge your phone more.

Android 4.0 issue: Contacts no longer sync with Facebook photos

Now THIS really pissed me off at first. In Android 4.0, you no longer have the ability to sync your contacts photos with their Facebook photos. Supposedly there was a recent update to allow applications to interface/sync better with contacts in the future, but straight out of the box, it wasn’t possible to have Android contacts automatically sync their photos with their Facebook images. I chalked it up to Google’s lust for social network relevance, hoping they would get more users on Google Plus. Workaround: Use Google Contact Sync, a third party tool to update your Gmail contacts photos with their Facebook photos. It worked for me.

These are the biggest issues I’ve experienced with Android 4.0 and my Galaxy Nexus thus far. I’m hoping that these can be fixed in future ICS updates.

What are the biggest issues that you’ve encountered with Android 4.0 and the Samsung Galaxy Nexus?

2 Responses to “Android 4.0 Ice Cream Sandwich: the not so tasty problems & issues”

  1. on 06 Mar 2012 at 5:13 PM 1.Steven Kippel said …

    The good thing with non-iPhone smartphones is you can replace the battery. I can’t remember the brand, but a friend of mine replaced his OEM battery with a new battery and it doubled his battery life.

  2. on 07 Mar 2012 at 7:37 AM 2.Wesley Novack said …

    Yes, Steve, but in this case, I have the extended battery for this phone and it doesn’t appear to be a battery-hardware issue. It’s the software that is causing battery life to drop off a cliff as shown in the above screenshot. This doesn’t always happen, but when it does, bye bye powered up phone! I’ve seen some rumors that the next Android 4.0 build (4.0.3) will help with this issue.

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