Samsung under fire over copy-paste bricking
Simple bug unfixed for months
Users of a variety of Android-based Samsung smartphones are becoming restive at the mobo’s apparent inability to fix a simple bug that has catastrophic consequences.
According to this Samsung forum thread, the copy-paste bug bricks the phone, requiring a factory reset or, if the owner has root access, to empty the contents of /data/clipboard (which is not accessible to ordinary users).
In that post – back in October 2012 – the user believed the bug was random, and on a copy-paste, the phone would return this error:
java.lang.NullPointerException at android.content.ClipboardManager.setPrimaryClip(ClipboardManager.java:146)
There is also a large number complaints over on Google’s Android forums here (many pre-dating the Samsung forum thread).
Rather than being random, it seems that users have identified it as a systemic flaw.
The bug impacts Galaxy SIII phones and has been reported on other devices including Galaxy Note tablets.
It appears to arise from Samsung’s TouchWiz code getting upset if it sees too many items in the clipboard folder, since deleting the folder’s contents prevents the bug.
While the Jellybean 4.1.2 update is reported to fix the problem, it’s not yet available for all devices.
El Reg feels some pity for Samsung’s forum respondent, Konrad Krakowiak, who seems pretty much muzzled beyond asking for more information about the bug, and assuring users that “this bug was reported and I think that it will be resolved soon.” ®
The forum thread seems to indicate a permanent failure associated with copy-paste operations, but the phone is otherwise fine and dandy. I thought 'bricked' meant 'completely unusable'.
Pedantry aside, I'd be well pissed-off if this happened to me. Fortunately I have Android 4.1.2 on my S3, so maybe I'll dodge that one.
Samsung really need to get their act together : they do seem to excel at producing quality stuff with lousy support.
Bad about updates? I think not...
While I might find myself hanging out for the latest version of Android on my phone, the fact that I have had not one, but two, MAJOR updates to my Galaxy S2 in under two years, plus numerous smaller bug fixes, means that in fact they are very good indeed with updates.
My S2 is still, nearly two years on, an awesome bit of kit, and one which I have never regretted investing in.
Contract to the experience of PC users - as soon as those puppies are out the door, often as not the manufacturer has lost all interest!
Re: The beauty of open software
Oh and by the way, how do you copy and paste on an Galaxy S3 ? It never crossed my mind I could do it on mine.
Press and hold on any piece of text. Drag the markers to surround the bit of text you want copied. Tap the copy icon.
P.S. Can we have a Meerkat icon please?
'Samsung’s TouchWiz code'
Well that would do it. One more excellent reason to root and clear that crap out. Of course I realize that most people won't or can't do that and it's ridiculous that they haven't fixed it yet for their tens of millions of existing devices. They've always been very bad about updates.
@Obviously you either misread my post or are very technically narrow minded.
"Mines the one NOT made by Samsung"
You see, I believe you've mistaken "Samsung" for android. In fact, I believe you've mistaken Samsung for EVERY PHONE other than iOS. If I may point out to you, Samsung is but one of many android OEM's. Heck, we could sit here and spend quite some time rattling off a list of all the different manufacturers, but I can't be bothered. Suffice to say, you've made a massive assumption that I use an iPhone. And that's a bit silly.
I am in no way stating android is inferior to iOS (let's just not go there) or any other OS, I'm simply stating I'm not going to picking up the shit Samsung's flinging.