Google's Nexus smartphones and tablets have a unique feature that's also a curse. They come with the latest version of Android (which is actually unusual among Android devices), and they're basically guaranteed to get updates throughout their lifespan (which is also unusual). But on the downside, Nexus owners are also the first to discover new "features" in each version of Android ... like Google's new 11-month calendar.
'Tis (not) the season
You may not have noticed, if none of your friends or family members were born in December. But if you tried to enter in somebody's birthday in Android's "People" app, you may have noticed that the spin-dials for selecting a date don't include the last month of the year, in one of the oddest bugs to hit Android.
Other bugs found in the Android 4.2 update include random reboots, unstable apps, and overall slow and sluggish performance. David Ruddock of the Android Police blog has written up an extensive list of these bugs, and of which Nexus devices have been affected.
Most of these bugs are tied to specific apps not working correctly with the 4.2 update. The HD Widgets app, for instance, seems to cause the random reboots. Even first-party apps, like the Google Currents web magazine reader, are apparently responsible for some of the issues.
Some developers have fixed their apps. Mozilla quickly corrected a bug in the Android version of its Firefox web browser which caused it to randomly (and frequently) force close. But for now, the only real solution is to stop using certain apps, or features of apps like Currents' background sync.
Need a little Christmas?
Fortunately for Nexus device owners, a fix for at least one of the issues (the missing month of December) has already been written, and is on its way if you haven't gotten it already. A new version of Android is being sent over the air to Nexus devices, and Android developer Al Sutton reports that "Santa is back."
It remains to be seen, however, whether or not Google can "save Christmas" for people who've ordered (or tried to order) an unlocked Nexus 4 smartphone from its Google Play store. Right now, the 8 GB model "Ships in 8- 9 weeks," while the 16 GB model won't ship until around New Years'. And that's if you can even place an order; many Google customers are reporting that the ordering system simply won't work, although Google+ user Syko Pompos has discovered a way around the faulty website.Jared Spurbeck is an open-source software enthusiast, who uses an Android phone and an Ubuntu laptop PC. He has been writing about technology and electronics since 2008.
- Technology & Electronics