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Another spot on the Nexus experience - Galaxy Nexus losing signal reception after Android 4.0.4 update

April 6, 2012
Image Source: Droid Matters

The rollout of the Android 4.0 update has been very slow, with only about 3% of the smartphones featuring the upgraded OS at the last count. Google updated the OS to the 4.0.3 version last December, also requesting vendors to treat this as the base version for all future devices.

Keeping with this trend of continuous upgrades and improvements to the OS, Google, last week, has finally pushed the Android 4.0.4 update to its flagship Galaxy Nexus device. The latest update brought a number of tweaks, UI optimization and bug patches, making for better stability. It is also said to improve camera performance, which has been a complaint with the previous versions of ICS.

But none of that matters if you can’t use the phone for its most basic, yet primary, purpose, i.e. receiving calls and text messages, right? In what could be Google’s own version of the infamous “Antenna Gate”, reports from some users suggest that the Nexus S loses signal reception entirely, within minutes of going into standby mode. This does not seem to be an isolated incident, as there have been a lot of complaints about this issue, but only on GSM devices.

It seems that the reason for the loss of GSM signal is linked to an “improved” battery saving feature, part of the latest ROM. This feature causes the phone to push the processor below the minimum threshold required to keep the signal up, when in standby mode. This means that if the phone is in standby mode (with the screen off), you will be unable to receive calls or text messages. Signal strength does return when the phone is taken out of standby mode and the processor is back up to speed.

The issue goes away as soon as the device is flashed back to the Android 4.0.3 factory mode, but appears again on subsequent attempts at the upgrade. Some developers have been able to come up with workarounds to solve this problem, but is an option only available  for rooted devices and is not recommended for users that are not familiar with the process. The loss of signal strength is also seen on custom ROMs that have been upgraded to the Android 4.0.4 version. At this point, we would suggest not going through with update or to be prepared to flash your device to the previous version.

Google has been made aware of this major problem, and will most likely have a fix ready in a few days. However, this problem is another embarrassing incident for Google in general and the still prestigious  Nexus program in particular, after the problems encountered by Nexus S users late last year.

Did you update your Galaxy Nexus to Android 4.0.4? If yes, are you one of the thousands that are currently facing this problem?