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Google Confirms Small Number of Pixel Phones Have Broken Microphones (theverge.com) 68

An anonymous reader shares a report on The Verge: Google says that a small number of Pixel phones have broken microphones that need to be sent back for replacement. The issue is seemingly not that widespread. Google claims the issue is present on less than 1 percent of devices -- the company also announced that it would replace defective phones last month, and it went largely unnoticed until now. Google says the primary cause for Pixels having microphone issues is a "hairline crack in the solder connection on the audio codec," which causes all three of the device's mics to go out at once. The issue has apparently been known about for several months now. Google says it's been "taking additional steps to reinforce the connection" since January and that phones built or refurbished since then should be fine.
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Google Confirms Small Number of Pixel Phones Have Broken Microphones

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  • Uh oh (Score:5, Funny)

    by Motherfucking Shit ( 636021 ) on Thursday March 09, 2017 @11:42AM (#54007049) Journal

    The NSA and CIA are going to want a refund.

  • by Thelasko ( 1196535 ) on Thursday March 09, 2017 @11:43AM (#54007063) Journal
    Why is this news. Manufacturers have defects all of the time. It's a small number of phones. Who cares!

    It's not like they randomly bust into flames or anything.
    • Re:News? (Score:4, Informative)

      by geek ( 5680 ) on Thursday March 09, 2017 @12:05PM (#54007227)

      Why is this news. Manufacturers have defects all of the time. It's a small number of phones. Who cares!

      It's not like they randomly bust into flames or anything.

      The Pixel phones have been plagued by issue after issue. For a "premium" device the QA has been pretty terrible.

      • For a "premium" device the QA has been pretty terrible.

        Yet another proof that Google are copying Apple.

      • by DaHat ( 247651 )

        Yup, the biggest issue being lack of availability.

        Just try getting a XL 128 GB without paying a scalper $1200-$1500 for a device which is supposed to retail for $869... and this 5 months since release.

        • Indeed. I'll replace my current phone (functional, but very much showing wear and age) with a 128gb Pixel XL the second google lists them for sale again, if I'm not too slow, but unless they've really ramped up manufacturing, I'm not totally sure I'll have that chance before the 2017 model is released. The stock tracker (http://www.nowinstock.net/electronics/mobilephones/unlocked/googlepixel/) says it's been in stock something like 9 days throughout the past two months.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        The Pixel isn't just a premium phone, it is THE Android flagship: the one designed by Google that is supposed to showcase what the latest and greatest things about Android.

        Apparently sloppiness is what is "in" for Android right now.

    • Why is this news. Manufacturers have defects all of the time.

      Because a manufacturer came out early and said they will honour replacements before it became an issue. That's about as Newsworthy as it news gets.

      • Yeah, I can recall the last fault in another manufacturer's phone where they kept denying the problem and deleting forum threads about the issue. Then there was the other time where everyone was told they were holding their phones wrong to cover for a manufacturing defect.

  • by wiredog ( 43288 ) on Thursday March 09, 2017 @11:52AM (#54007135) Journal

    With a Pixel. About 2 weeks ago, so hopefully it won't have this defect.

    • by Tx ( 96709 )

      Hmm, my Pixel's mic seems to be a bit crap, but I don't think it's this fault. It seems to sometimes completely ignore "ok Google", but when I manually hit the mic icon, it then responds fine to voice commands, so the mic itself seems to be working ok. Maybe I need to retrain the voice model. I tried to "ok Google" the other day, and the Pixel in my hand wouldn't respond, but the Sony tablet in the next room did!

    • According to The Fine Summary, you are in the clear as the problem was recognized and corrected in January.

  • "hairline crack in the solder connection on the audio codec,"

    A codec is software, who knew software could have a hairline crack in the solder?

    • I noticed that too, but assumed it meant they had a hardware codec chip. Something like: http://www.ebay.com/itm/AKM-AK... [ebay.com]

      • Keyword, "chip".

        A codec can be implemented in hardware but it is not hardware. They may as well have said "My mp3 has a hairline crack in it".

        • Code/decoder implementations can be hardware or software.

          codec
          kdek/
          noun
          a device or program that compresses data to enable faster transmission and decompresses received data.
    • A codec can be hardware or software.
    • Haven't you ever heard of "cracking software"?
    • Re:Fail fail fail (Score:5, Informative)

      by squiggleslash ( 241428 ) on Thursday March 09, 2017 @12:24PM (#54007415) Homepage Journal

      A codec is simply something that converts audio/video/whatever from one format to another. It certainly can be hardware.

      I was confused too when I first used it heard to describe on-motherboard audio systems in the 1990s, but that's a legitimate use.

      Ironically, most who don't think it's suitable for hardware also are the people who use it to describe formats like H.264 or AAC. You can use a (hardware or software) codec to convert something into H.264, but H.264 isn't the actual codec, it's the format.

      • A codec is simply something that converts audio/video/whatever from one format to another. It certainly can be hardware.

        No. It can be implemented in hardware but it is not hardware. You can buy a codec, but you can't have a hairline crack in a piece of software.

        You may as well say "My mp3 has a hairline crack in it"

        • So you are going to call the graphics card rendering OpenGL triangles software?
          • So you are going to call the graphics card rendering OpenGL triangles software?

            Yes, no matter how wonderfully pointy and triangular they are.

            grumble grumble firmware grumble grumble

        • by GuB-42 ( 2483988 )

          Hardware audio codecs are integrated ADC/DACs. Their main purpose is act as a bridge between the analog and the digital part of the audio system. Usually they don't know anything about digital audio formats.
          While they have the same name as software codecs, they operate on a different level. Software codecs convert a stream of bits into a different stream of bits, hardware codecs convert an electrical signal into a different electrical signal.
          To make things even more confusing, things like mp3 implemented in

          • Despite people far more knowledgeable than I correcting me, I will stick to my outmoded and almost certainly erroneous mode of thinking!

            You'll not sway my thinking with your tricky, underhanded facts! lol

        • No. It can be implemented in hardware but it is not hardware

          Yes, it can be in hardware. I'm wondering if you're one of the people (I was once too, there's no shame in it) that I'm discussing in the second half of my comment.

          Codecs convert from one format to another. They can be hardware or software. They are not to be confused with the formats themselves.

      • First, CODEC is short for coder-decoder. Whether it is done in hardware or software, any tool which performs the function of accepting a digital stream in a specified format and outputting it in a different digital format is a CODEC. H.264 is not quite a codec, but any software or hardware that accepts a data stream in a digital format and outputs it into another is a codec and H.264 is usually called a codec because it describes a a standard for taking a raw video data stream and compressing it into well

    • It may be a sloppy usage, or just unfamiliar to people used to dealing with the delights of 'codec packs' and getting oddball media to play back; but the term 'audio codec' appears to be what they use for the chip that handles talking to one or more mics and audio ins and outs and(possibly in addition to providing hardware accellerated processing of certain features) wraps that all up into a(fairly high speed; but conveniently low pin count and digital, I2S or similar inter-chip audio bus) for connection to
      • Your unassailable logic and first-hand knowledge is no match for my stubborn dismissal of the facts! ;)

        grumble grumble grumble grumble

    • codec = compressor/decompressor

      serdes = serializer / deserializer

      modem = modulator / demodulator

      Most of these terms originated in hardward and migrated to software.

      • codec = compressor/decompressor
        serdes = serializer / deserializer
        modem = modulator / demodulator
        Most of these terms originated in hardward and migrated to software.

        And that's when you youngn's went off the track and sullied my ossified view of this here world, dangnabbit! ;)

    • A codec is software

      No a codec is a description of a process (coding and decoding). The way it is implemented is entirely up to the person creating it.

      Fun fact, codec was was used to describe hardware conversion of audio in both analogue and digital domains long before it was used to describe software compression, conversion, and other processes on your computer.

      • No a codec is a description of a process (coding and decoding). The way it is implemented is entirely up to the person creating it.

        Fun fact, codec was was used to describe hardware conversion of audio in both analogue and digital domains long before it was used to describe software compression, conversion, and other processes on your computer.

        I reject your reality and substitute my own! ;)

  • RoHS FTW! (Score:2, Insightful)

    "hairline crack in the solder connection on the audio codec"

    This is what happens when you ban lead in solder.
    A slight miscalibration or unaccounted for solder shadowing and the joint will form brittle then pull itself apart.

  • You can make phone calls on the Pixel Phones as well?

  • 1% of 3,000,000 = 30,000 really pissed off customers.

    If it was far less than 1%, they would have told us it was "less than .01%" or something like that.

    Source for sold numbers:

    http://www.pcworld.com/article... [pcworld.com]

    • 1% is a pretty serious flaw. If it was my product I would be concerned as to whether or not it was a progressive failure and they're all going to fail in the end.

Mathematicians stand on each other's shoulders. -- Gauss

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