Android Oreo mic drop fury: Google ups tempo for Pixel mobe audio fix
Hardware flaws may be amplified by slapdash software, tuning out bug now a priority
Google has escalated the priority and severity rating of a bug that has been silencing microphones on its Pixel smartphones running Android 8.1, aka Oreo.
The Chocolate Factory on Wednesday raised the priority level and the severity level from 3 to 1, the highest possible level, signaling that it intends to expedite its troubleshooting after ongoing complaints in its product forum advised as much.
"How on earth can this be S3 [severity level 3]?" said one individual urging a more serious designation on March 6. "... How can total uselessness be S3? Basically, the last update made the whole phone useless for anything other than being a paperweight. Not having a phone is one thing. Checking in a seeing S3 and P3 [priority level 3] is another."
Google defines P3 as an issue that should be addressed when possible; P1 means an issue that needs to be addressed quickly and affects a significant number of people; and P0 means the issue needs to be addressed immediately with as many resources as are necessary.
There are about 115 open P1 issues right now, and about 10 P0 ones affecting Android devices in Google's public issue tracker.
Google's Pixel and Pixel XL phones are already the subject of a lawsuit. Filed on February 6, the complaint alleges that the mic in Google's phones is faulty.
Google has not yet responded to the claim though it has committed to do so by April 2.
The legal complaint attributes the microphone problems to flawed hardware, specifically "a hairline crack in the solder connection on the audio codec" and a "faulty microphone."
But recent posts in Google's product forum insist the mic problems stem from the Android 8.1 update that debuted as a stable release in December 2017.
One person posting to the Google forum speculates that the issue could be the result of incorrect configuration data sent to the audio controller or power management integrated circuit could be causing the mic to shut down to save power.
Another suggests Android Oreo could have a problem that prevents certain apps from making the mic available once they're done with it.
If the hardware is indeed faulty, then software can certainly create the conditions necessary for problems to manifest themselves.
The Register asked Google to weigh in on the matter. A spokesperson was not available to comment. ®