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Failed and COSTLY Ice Cream Sandwich update and Swype fix (Epic 4G Touch Samsung Galaxy S2)

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Journeyman

Failed and COSTLY Ice Cream Sandwich update and Swype fix (Epic 4G Touch Samsung Galaxy S2)

I cannot find words strong enough to express my outrage at the havoc, expense and lost productivity that I have, so far, endured following the Ice Cream Sandwich (ICS) Android update on my phone.

I have been using a Sprint/Samsung Epic 4G Touch Galaxy S2 since Jan. 2012.  At that time I reluctantly made the transition from a Sprint Windows-Mobile phone that I had used for the previous 5 years, during which I experienced no major data losses nor any significant time/expense lost to system software or firmware bugs.

Yesterday morning, 16Jul12, I was prompted to click "OK" to update my phone's Android system software.  No warning was given to backup the phone's data or apps prior to performing the update.  I naively clicked “OK”.  From that moment forward my workday ground to a halt and I descended through ever-maddening levels of Sprint/Samsung/Google/Android "support" h#ll.

First the facts:

1) Following the ICS “update” the Swype app "disappeared" from my phone.

2) When attempting to do web searches via my phone (the bulk of my web searching) ALL text, in the search box and in results, displayed in a micro/nano font size that was completely, and without the slightest exaggeration, UNREADABLE.  Happily, the Google logo remained in its normal giant font as a searing taunt of my inability to perform ANY web surfing.

3) The update graciously preserved my browser bookmarks (I'm a Luddite that uses the native Google browser).  Less graciously, ALL the folders that I had setup over the last 7 months to organize my bookmarks were GONE, GONE, GONE.  I estimate that my individual bookmarks number well over a hundred and possibly in the multiple hundreds.  To stare, slack-jawed, at a single listing of this number of bookmarks is the definition of "useless".

Next, the single-user impact and costs of this "update" fiasco:

On my windows phone (the preceding 5 years) I used the wonderful NATIVE Win-Mobile handwriting recognition program for all my input.  When I moved to the Android phone I found no handwriting recognition Android software that remotely approached the functionality of the Win-Mobile counterpart, so I quickly adopted Swype as my sole keyboard input app.  In other words, for the past 7 months, my only keyboard input experience with the Android phone has been via Swype.  The loss of Swype following the ICS “update” was excruciating. 

I do much of my business communication via my phone and SMS.  I also do the bulk of my web browsing via my phone.

To suddenly find myself pecking at the Samsung keyboard at the pace of a toddler, while my work, colleagues and clients were moving at normal business warp speed, was dysfunctional.  To, further, find myself trying to surf the web without the use of ANY of my bookmarks was seriously impairing my productivity and effectiveness.  To, additionally, have to attempt to read micro/nano text in my browser's search box and in returned results put the last nail in the coffin of my workday.  After two hours of this outrage, I informed all that I would be taking a personal day to resolve these issues.  I will not detail here the havoc that my bowing out of the workday meant for others- suffice it to say that the cost to others conservatively rises into multiple person-hours of lost productivity.

From noon yesterday untill 1:00 AM today I spent my time:

1) on various phone calls to Samsung and Sprint, and

2) online (via my computer- as my phone was rendered useless):

  a) crawling through the morass of similar nightmarish experiences being related by other Sprint customers through the day and evening, and

  b) attempting, in vain, to gain some insight and/or relief from Sprint, Samsung and Google support.

The “conclusions” and “remedies” offered by Sprint, Samsung and Google following this 13 hour investment on my part were:

1) Google (when speaking with Samsung or Sprint), Samsung (when speaking with Google or Sprint) or Sprint (when speaking with Google or Samsung) were DEFINITELY AND COMPLETELY responsible for this ICS “update” debacle.

2) Google (when speaking with Google) and Samsung (when speaking with Samsung) and Sprint (when speaking with Sprint) were DEFINITELY AND COMPLETELY INNOCENT AND BLAMELESS for the ICS “update” debacle.

3) The sole and only remedy to MY problems with the infarcted update was to reset the phone to its factory defaults.  I was duly warned by all (Samsung, Sprint and Google) that such a reset would result in complete loss of all installed apps and data, and that I would need to spend yet MORE of MY time reinstalling apps and data and restoring my systems' state (bookmarks, home screens, etc.).

After a fitful night, I rose early and made further unsuccessful attempts to restore Swype to my phone- the most promising of which seemed to be downloading the latest beta test version of Swype and using it in place of the native Samsung/Sprint Swype- duly warned by Swype that there "is no support for beta Swype, and it will be deactivated every 6 months for release of a new beta version of Swype", clearly a new flavor of nightmare in the offing.

At 9AM, I cancelled a second work day to, again, attempt finding resolutions to these problems. I then Sprinted (sad pun intended) to my Sprint store for another round of pleading and cajoling.  When I arrived, I found all technicians up to their eyeballs in phones and customers reporting the same or similar problems.  From what I overheard and comments made to me by the technicians, the most expeditious path to a solution for those in line ahead of me was a factory default reset, with concomitant loss of apps and data ("Sorry for the inconvenience").

I awaited my turn at the "desk of despair" and informed the technician that I wished to forego the factory default reset "solution" in favor of finding an alternative keyboard app (end run around the Swype problem) and possibly an alternative browser app (would like to be able to read my browsing activities without having to reserve time on the atomic force microscope).  I “volunteered” to eat the loss of my bookmark folder organization if we could just achieve the preceding two goals.

The technician (Mike, Sprint Store, 266 East Travelers Trail, Burnsville, MN) graciously (under tremendous pressure and managing factory resets on several phones while serving me) offered recommendations on alternative keyboard and browser apps.  More impressively, he asked to look at my phone again to see if he could find the "missing" Swype app.  Within a couple minutes he did just that.  Apparently the ICS “update” inactivated/disabled the Swype app so that when looking under settings/applications/all tab the Swype app was not listed alphabetically in its previous location, but rather, at the bottom of the alphabetic listing of active apps.  No one at Samsung, Google or Sprint thought to have me look here the previous day for the "missing" Swype and, rather, insisted the ONLY way to "recover" Swype was to do the dreaded factory default reset.

Mike reactivated the Swype app and cleared its data and cache (apparently these two steps resolved the issue for customers that could still see Swype after the ICS update) and then attempted to set Swype as the default keyboard/input method under settings/language and input.  Surprisingly, Swype was STILL not listed/available as an input/keyboard option, even after the steps taken above.  We seemed to be back to the factory default reset or pitch-Swype-with-the-bathwater alternatives.  At this point, I thought that, perhaps, a "hard" shutdown (long press of the power button and selecting "Power Off"), and then a restart (long press of the power button until the "4G" screen appeared) might get us over the hump.  Happily, this was the case and, after performing the above, Swype was restored to its former function and glory (sans my personal dictionary- but desperation makes no good deals, and I “volunteered” to also eat the time and inconvenience to redefine my personal dictionary).  Most perplexing, following these operations, the font size displayed by my browser operations returned to normal size.  I'm sure someone can explain this.  I will, however, quote Rhett and say "Frankly my dear, I don't give a dam#!"

So, in review for those who came here for the fix to their Swype/ browser nano-font woes following their ICS “update”, these were the steps that resolved both for my phone:

1) Find a responsive, patient and knowledgeable Sprint technician that has read this post, or, do steps 2-17 below.

2) DO NOT do a factory default reset.

3) Consider backing up your apps & data before proceeding.

4) Find your "missing" Swype app by:

  a) holding menu hard key and then selecting "settings",

  b) scroll to and select "Applications",

  c) select "All" tab at upper right corner,

  d) scroll ALL THE WAY TO THE BOTTOM of the list to find Swype as an "inactive" app,

5) press on "Swype" to open its app info,

6) press the "Enable" button to the right just beneath the Swype version number at the top of the screen,

7) press the "Clear data" button if lit/white under the "Storage" section,

😎 press the "Clear cache" button if lit/white under the "Cache" section,

9) press the back arrow key three times to return to the home screen,

10) perform a "hard" shutdown of the phone (on the Galaxy S2, long press the power button and select "Power Off"),

11) after the "hard" shutdown, wait 30 sec or more, then restart (on the Galaxy S2, long press the power button until the "4G" screen appears),

12) go again to the "Settings" screen (long press the menu key and select "Settings") and scroll to "Language and input" and select it,

13) under "Keyboards and input methods" select "Default",

14) you should now be able to see Swype listed as an option- select it,

15) on being returned to the "Language and input methods" screen you should also see Swype listed under the "Keyboards and input methods" where you can select the "bar-dot slider" icon to the right of "Swype" if you wish to change your Swype settings,

16) press return arrow twice to return to your home screen,

17) open your SMS or browser app and input some text, you should be using Swype by default.  Enjoy!

If you also experienced microscopic browser type size with the ICS “update”, you may be lucky and the procedure above may correct this.  If it does not, I throw my hands skyward and pray for you.  If you also experienced deleted personal Swype dictionary and deleted browser bookmark folders with the ICS “update”, then, like me, you will probably eat the time and labor to restore these.

Some thoughts on the destruction wrought by the Sprint/Samsung/Google ICS "update" debacle (THIS SECTION IS PRIMARILY FOR CLASS ACTION LEGAL PROFESSIONALS TROLLING FOR A LUCRATIVE CASE AND A COLLEGE TUITION OR RETIREMENT ANNUITY):

1) From web traffic and from foot traffic in the one Sprint store that I observed, it is clear that many users lost many hours of productivity, and endured much stress, pain and suffering (I do not editorialize here) due to this botched "update".  A small bit of research and legal discovery process regarding market penetration of the Sprint/Samsung Galaxy S2 phone and reported frequency of these and other ICS "update"-related problems could put a limiting number on the actual total $ of productivity lost and potential $ to be recovered from responsible parties.

2) I have worked 30 years in the medical device, diagnostic and pharmaceutical industries. These are heavily regulated industries in each market/country that they serve.  If companies in these regulated industries released a software or firmware "update" or product that REMOTELY approached the shoddiness, poor quality control and destructiveness of the ICS Android/Samsung/Sprint “update”, all affected products would be immediately reported by users to regulators and all affected products would be immediately recalled and criminal and civil penalties and fines would likely follow in EACH country that the product was marketed in.

3) A cursory examination of the history of regulatory oversight in the food, pharmaceutical and medical device industries is relevant and, perhaps, prescient.  Just over a hundred years ago enough human suffering had resulted from adulterated foods, sham medical devices and poisonous "curative" concoctions that public outcry gave birth to the first governmental agency, the US Food and Drug Administration or FDA, charged with regulating the production and sales of foods, drugs and, later, medical devices.  Every major strengthening of regulatory oversight in these industries in the ensuing century has been the result of some human tragedy that raised awareness that significant additional oversight of industry was needed to protect the public from unscrupulous and/or shoddy business practices.

The results of this regulatory history are: 1) food and health care consumers today have much greater assurance of and confidence in product safety and effectiveness than their counterparts of a century ago, 2) the food and health care products industries today enjoy a much larger and more confident market than would exist had such extensive regulatory oversight not developed over the last century, 3) the "bad apples" of the food and health care products companies today run the very real risk of significant and costly financial, civil and criminal penalties for attempting to foist shoddy, half-a$$ed, harmful and destructive products on an innocent and unsuspecting public, and 4) consumers and ethical food and medical products companies have benefitted tremendously from regulatory pressures that have weeded unethical and incompetent companies out of the marketplace.

4) The mobile computing industry and its consumers are still in their infancies.  I suspect that the mobile computing industry today is no more welcoming of additional regulatory oversight than the food and medical industries were a hundred years ago when they were selling putrified "food", charlatan medical devices and poisonous pills.  I further suspect that any significant improvement in the competency and ethics of today's mobile computing industries must come from consumer outcry and financial, civil and criminal penalties being levied whenever companies subject their users/customers to damaging products and services either as a result of incompetence or unethical practices.  In other words, WAKE UP USERS, CONSUMERS AND CUSTOMERS AND DEMAND THAT YOUR MOBILE COMPUTING VENDORS FOLLOW THE FIRST RULE OF MEDICINE'S MOST SACRED OATH- "FIRST, DO NO HARM"!  Also, class action legal professionals take note: there are HUGE dollars to be made here with hundreds of millions of consumers depending on and paying dearly for mobile computing products and services the world over.

5) As a former, long-time user of a Windows Mobile smart-phone, I am appalled at the pathetic state of software and firmware quality control in the Android world (I have no experience with iphones, so have no opinions to offer regarding that platform).  Microsoft has utterly failed to gain any significant foothold in the world of mobile computing- this will likely be their undoing.  Suffice it to say that I moved to the Android platform reluctantly and with hesitation.  In fairness, until yesterday's botched ICS “update”, I was reasonably happy with my phone, and my confidence in the Android platform was growing steadily.  I leave it to the reader to guess what the last 36 hours has done to my confidence in the Android platform and in all things Samsung and Sprint.  The reader can also infer from the preceding narrative what my reply will be the next time I am prompted to "OK" an Android system "update", assuming I give a rat's rear about Android the next time an "update" is shoved down the throats of consumers.

6) To all culpable parties and all executives at Google, Samsung and Sprint (you know who you are), I ask two simple questions.  Have you no shame?  Have you no pride?  This is the 21st century.  Over-the-air firmware updates are neither rocket science nor brain surgery.  I would go so far as to say that they are not particularly difficult.  Yes, I have professional experience in developing and distributing/installing firmware updates to a widely distributed user base.  The list of ALL that is required to perform a successful firmware update is small indeed.  These are: 1) time, 2) money, 3) competent professionals, 4) firm and demanding leadership, and 5) unyielding quality controls and standards.  There, you can count those on one hand.  You can count them twice on your two hands.  Note that “luck” and “profit” are not on the list.  You make your own luck and profits by attending properly to the handful of items on the list. 

Finally, I offer the ultimate executive/management tool for ensuring a successful OTA firmware update: the output of the 5 requirements listed above must pass the “RFT” test before the update is released to your unsuspecting users.  The “RFT” test, of course, is the “Right First Time”/”Red Face Test”.  That is, it must be done “Right the First Time” or it will NOT pass the “Red Face Test”.  Or, as my mother said so eloquently all my formative years: “If you don’t have time to do it right the first time, tell me when you will make time to do it right the second time.”  Should you require further assistance in implementing these requirements for future firmware/software releases I am available to help, for a nominal fee.

7) I am a professional business user and am NOT prone to exaggeration, flaming, ranting or the like.  I rarely use my time to post in product support discussion groups or fora.  In other words, it takes a great deal of inconvenience and damage to inspire me to post this type of comment. Congratulations Google, Samsung and Sprint, you succeeded in getting me to ignore my personal, professional and financial interests for almost two days- long enough to solve the problems you foisted upon me and long enough to pen this missive.  My only question for you is: to whom should I send the bill for recovery of my lost time and wages?

M. E. Collison, Ph.D.
Collison-Carr Consulting, Inc.
Eagan, MN

155 REPLIES 155
Highlighted
Journeyman

Thank you for explaining your situation in such a clear and thoughtful way. I experienced much of what you have gone through and I can't believe so much of my time has been consumed with simply trying to find anwers to some basic phone functionality issues. Almost all of my personalization has been removed from my phone. I spent nearly 5 hours when I first got the phone setting up my contacts to be manually linked to facebook pictures; now all of that work has been wasted and I can't see any contact pictures accept for blurred and oversized images from google.

I'm frustrated that Sprint didn't send me an email warning that this update would happen. I only found out through the experience of my phone shutting down while I was at work and then couldn't access my sensitive phone materials. Also, I now have only 1 bar for reception with my phone. What happened here? I'm at the same location for many years with all bars with every phone I've ever had. Then yesterday's update happened and I've gone 24 hours with 1 wimpy little bar. C'mon!

Highlighted
Journeyman

If you choose to not go to work because you don't like the keyboard on your phone you're nuts. Your bosses probably think so to.

Highlighted
Journeyman

I was thinking the same thing, even though he might actually be the boss I don't see what he's complaing so loudly about.  I've has issues with the ICS update also but sh*t happens.  I've had wasted MUCH more time of my life in waiting rooms at doctors offices because they triple booked their appointments in an effort to cram in as many as they can. 

Maybe I should sue my doctor

Highlighted
Journeyman

Thank you for your response and the time that you put into it.  I would like to address your main points, completely in the spirit of open dialogue with the end goal of improving the mobile computing experience for all users. I do not wish to offend, so please take no offense at my responses.  I will try to be detailed in my responses, but please forgive any lack of clarity, as I am still recovering from 2 days lost productivity due to the botched ICS update and I pen the following as time allows.  Please see my responses below in bold/italics.

12. Jul 18, 2012 12:27 PM (in response to mlbp)

Re: Failed and COSTLY Ice Cream Sandwich update and Swype fix (Epic 4G Touch Samsung Galaxy S2)  

 

I've yet to receive the update but it sounds like your actual issues were very minor.  I'm sure you could have just gone on with your day rather than taking so much time out of it sitting at the sprint store as well as writing this post in the Sprint COMMUNITY forums. 

You are not qualified to judge the impact of the ICS update's bugs on my business processes and productivity.  Additionally, you are not qualified to judge to what degree I rely on which capabilities of my device for "going on with my day."  The issues may be "very minor" for some users.  Your opinion fails to honor each user's reasonable expectation that firmware and software upgrades will not interfere with THEIR use of THEIR device in THEIR personal or professional activities.  The salient point here is that the bugs in question rendered MY device nonfunctional for MY uses and I judged that the best use of MY time was to get these problems resolved in a manner that returned MY device to a state of usefulness for MY needs. 

Since you depend so heavily on your mobile device you should absolutely be backing it up, regardless of whether or not you are receiving an update. 

I do back up my device.  I have been backing up and restoring computing devices for more than three decades.  The productivity impairments had nothing to do with my backups.  My Swype was no longer functioning, nor was it apparently present on the phone following the update.  My browser's type size was too small to be readable or useful.  My bookmark folder structure was deleted in the middle of a workday.  Restoration of my device from backup is NOT an option when I am working on a client's dime at their workplace.

So you had to resort to the built in keyboard like a majority of mobile device users, I doubt your one of the users that actually types 50wpm using Swype. 

You have no knowledge of my typing speed with or without Swype.  Again, it is irrelevent what input keyboard is used by a majority of mobile device users.  It is only relevant which input keyboard I choose to use and whether or not an OTA system update impaired MY use of MY chosen input method.  One of the supposed benefits of the Android platform is the tremendous variety of app choices that users have access to, and the personalization of the mobile computing experience possible because of that variety of app choices.  When a system update impairs the function of apps, it effectively restricts the variety of app choices available to users.  The parties responsible for these app impairments effectively degrade a key benefit of the Android platform.  The entire Android community is injured by such irresponsible practices.

I have a hard time believing the text was UNREADABLE, if I am wrong when I receive the update I will gladly recant my contradiction.

I am a bit offended that you question the truth of my report that on MY device MY browser's text was completely unreadable following the ICS update.  To my knowledge, I have given no reason that anyone should question my integrity or the veracity of my reported results/issues.  Should you require further assurance of my report you may speak with the Sprint technician that I referred to in my original post.  Additionally, judging from the varying reports of ICS update bugs found on the web, whether or not you experience any or all of the issues/bugs that I experienced, when YOU perform the update on YOUR device, is likely a purely statistical question.  I have no interest in the possibility of a recant on your part. 

How are hundreds of bookmarks actually useful, even if they are organized into folders?

Again, you are unqualified to judge what is useful to ME on MY device in MY personal and professional use of the device.  To provide the functionality of bookmarks and bookmark folders and, then, to deny the utility of the same is illogical, irrespective of the absolute number of bookmarks that an individual user may choose to organize on their device.  The utility of large numbers of bookmarks is directly dependent on the availability of a hierarchical organization tool.  As I stated in my original post, staring at a single listing of numerous bookmarks is the definition of "useless".  Staring at a well organized folder structure of numerous bookmarks is quite useful to some users.  See the points above regarding the supposed strength of the Android platform as it relates to INDIVIDUAL users customizing THEIR device in ways that are UNIQUELY useful to THEM.

Forgive me for not reading beyond your actual issues into your legal suggestions; I too have to be productive although I felt compelled to respond. I’m sure an End User License Agreement (EULA) completely disqualifies any of your claims. You voluntarily accepted this update.

This I will leave mostly to the legal professionals to weigh in on.  My only response must come from my professional experience in the regulated medical industries in which I have worked for 3 decades.  EULA's aside, vendors have an implicit responsibility to safeguard their consumers from harm caused by their products or services.  In most cases, actual consumer damages will trump the legaleze contained in most any EULA.  A few minutes at your browser will reveal that a great many consumers have suffered real damages, costs, productivity losses and emotional distress and suffering (again, I am not attempting to editorialize here) as a consequence of the botched ICS update.  Thus, it follows that product liability legal professionals may find fertile ground to plow here.

Had your phone actually been issued to you by an enterprise corporation your IT department would have assumed this responsibility for you and implemented policies to prevent your phone from receiving the update until they had properly tested compatibility with all approved applications. This would have been achieved using a pilot deployment to a small user base.

I, like MANY Android users, do not work for an enterprise corporation.  I am self-employed and am usually my own IT department.  Unfortunately, when acting in that capacity, I am not chargeable to my clients (my own ethics at play here) and I incur real lost wages.  To place the burden of system update safety/reliability testing on individual users, or enterprise corporation IT departments is irresponsible, unethical and constitutes a real monetary cost-shift to the consumer. 

Again, in my experience in the medical industries, the vendor is TOTALLY responsible for ALL safety testing of products and services.  We, as a society, deem it unethical to release faulty and inadequately tested drugs and medical devices to the public.  We also deem it an unacceptable safety testing practice for corporations to rely, even partially, on reports of consumer injuries, illnesses or deaths that result from use of faulty products or services.  These are not the only industries bound by this responsibility.  Over the noon hour, I listened to a news report of two major auto-makers initiating massive recalls of two popular SUVs for sticking accelerator issues that have already caused injuries and at least one death.  Consumers of medicines, medical devices and automobiles are rightly outraged when shoddy products or services cause injuries, deaths and monetary losses.  Mobile computing consumers have the same rights and responsibilities to demand the same accountability of mobile computing vendors.

Swype is a third-party application and they are the ones responsible for compatibility on a new OS, not Google, Samsung and certainly not Sprint.

Possibly, you are correct in a legalistic sense.  I will, however, assert that a major problem and impairment for the mobile computing community is the culture of "blame game" that is promelgated and tolerated in this industry.  You have simply added a fourth entity to the chain of "responsible" parties that "respond" to consumers by pointing the finger away from themselves and towards one or more other parties.  Anyone that has sought support for similar problems from their mobile service provider, device manufacturer, Google and/or app vendor knows full well the stress and cost of being endlessly referred and transferred to "other" parties for resolution of issues and bugs.  Again, I draw analogies to other industries.  When a drug, medical device or automobile fails and causes injury or loss, these industries are NOT allowed to refer the injured party to their material or sub-component suppliers and then have these refer the injured party to yet other "responsible" parties.  Again, mobile computing consumers have a right and responsibility to expect and demand no less from this industry.

Regarding Swype as a responsible party in this ICS release, I was unable to obtain any support from Swype during the first 24 hours or so of my attempts to resolve the Swype issue.  It took Swype more than 6 hours to "activate" an account for me that was required to download beta Swype- not the solution I was entitled to (recovery of the NATIVE Swype which, in contrast to beta Swype, is supported by Swype and, presumably, by Sprint and Samsung, as they chose to put Swype on this device as a NATIVE app).

Stephanie, your words are not deserving of anyone’s eyes.

Please be civil and polite.  Would you want your mother or father to read that sentence?

Yes, the actually update is obtained from Sprint and there are certain applications added and settings modified for Sprint but these have nothing to do with application compatibility. They do not actually “Push” anything. An agent on the phone does periodically check for updates from Sprint and if one is detected it will download the package but the user is not required to apply it, this is not considered a “Push”.

The above stikes me as esoteric IT guru detail.  I, like the vast majority of mobile computing users, am not, and do not care to be an IT guru (absolutely no offence to IT gurus, you make our world hum).  What I do want to be is a satisfied mobile computing consumer.  As far as I am concerned, I pay large $ to ONE entity, Sprint, every month to service my mobile computing needs.  I believe that this relationship gives me the right to demand that Sprint, and Sprint ALONE, vet and test any and all system updates to my Sprint device and/or service.  Likewise, I expect Sprint, and Sprint ALONE, to assume full responsibility for any failure of the same and all loss or injury caused to me by the same. 

These expectations are consistent with vendor/consumer relationships and obligations enforced in other industries in our society.  Think of cable and game system providers.  We pay these businesses, on a monthly basis, to pipe television, multimedia, gaming and internet experiences into our homes.  These businesses regularly update their firmware by OTA releases.  I am pleased to report that in 10+ years of cable subscriptions and 5+ years of game system subscriptions my family has NEVER experienced even a SINGLE disruption to television, gaming or internet services as a result of OTA firmware updates.  Likewise, we have NEVER experienced ANY device functionality failures resulting from OTA firmware updates. 

By contrast, in just seven months of subscribing to Sprint/Samsung/Google Android services my business activities and income were suspended for 16 CHARGEABLE hours directly as a result of a faulty and inadequately tested OTA firmware update.  By web posts and other customers' stories in just one Sprint store it is clear that others have suffered similar losses and injuries in the flawed ICS update.  By further contrast, in my preceding FIVE YEARS of mobile computing using a Sprint/Windows-Mobile platform I NEVER experienced a single hour of lost income from a faulty OTA firmware update.  The math is clear: 16 CHARGEABLE hours lost in 7 months Sprint/Android service subscription, which averages to just over 2 CHARGEABLE hours lost per month of Sprint/Android subscription.  By contrast, my Sprint/Windows-Mobile subscription cost me ZERO lost chargeable hours over FIVE YEARS or SIXTY MONTHS.  In my experience, the Sprint/Samsung/Google Android service is unreliable and injurious by any intelligent standard.

Finally, I have given this discussion a great deal of my time because I am passionate about the exceptional potential of mobile computing technology.  I believe that no other revolution (cultural, technological or governmental) has impacted civilization to the degree that mobile computing will.  I am equally passionate about consumer rights and the primacy of individuals' rights. 

Today, I see an infant industry and an infant consumer community.  I also see potentially debillitating growing pains in both.  I believe that the mobile computing industry is not taking adequate responsibility for the functionality and safety testing of their products and services.  Nor do I believe that the mobile computing industry is taking adequate responsibility for harm, costs and damages caused by their flawed products and services.  I do believe that the mobile computing community is too complacent and has accepted an inappropriate role as beta testers in too many flawed product releases.  I further believe that the mobile computing community has accepted as inevitable a helpless victimization at the hands of vendors when flawed products and services are released to the market and consumer costs and injuries are "taken in stride" as necessary evils for having access to mobile computing technology.

All the above stikes me as completely analogous to the early "wild west" days in many other industries.  In my original post I gave my soapbox mini-lecture on the history of abuses and regulation in the food and medical industries.  You can also look to many other industries for similar timelines of early abuses, excesses, victimizations, hidden cost shifts and subsequent growth of regulatory oversight designed to prevent and minimize the same. 

History has shown, time and again, that vendors given free reign will predictably introduce faulty or unscrupulous products and services that ultimately impair development of an industry's full market and societal potential.  Likewise, history has shown that it is usually the indignant outcry of injured consumers that leads to one or more rounds of regulatory oversight that, ultimately, through dramatically increased consumer confidence, leads to realization of an industry's full market potential.  Perpetual access to this full market potential is maintained, in part, through ongoing regulatory oversight that identifies faulty and harmful products (hopefully sooner rather than later), oversees the correction of product faults and/or removes faulty products from the market (see my note above about today's recall of two popular SUVs for faulty accelerators).  Likewise, history has shown the reform value of regulatory fines and product liability lawsuits that get the attention of large multi-national corporations that have injured consumers.

In summary, I will give up the soap box after restating my main points regarding the flawed ICS Sprint update and the larger industry and community issues that the update raises:

  1. The Sprint ICS update on the Samsung Galaxy S2/Epic 4G was/is clearly flawed and has injured many of Sprint's customers.
  2. Because Sprint customers pay Sprint monthly fees to provide mobile computing services, customers have the right and responsibility to hold Sprint SOLELY responsible and liable for any and all injuries resulting from any and all flawed product or service updates.
  3. Sprint has NOT shown that it takes FULL responsibility for the functionality and safety testing of firmware updates to its customers.  Consequently, Sprint has shifted some of the costs of this testing to some of its customers.
  4. Having injured some of its customers, Sprint has NOT provided uniform, timely or acceptable fixes to the flawed ICS update.  I was repeatedly referred by Sprint representatives to Google and/or Samsung for "solutions" to the ICS update issues.  I was repeatedly told by several Sprint representatives that the ONLY solution available to me was a factory default reset of the phone.  Other users were told the same.  In my case, this was untrue and unneccesary and would have cost me additional time and lost income.  I eventually obtained fixes only through persistence (read that many hours of non-chargeable time and significant lost income), researching other user's fixes and, ultimately, identifying and accessing a real, live Sprint technician that cared to do real trouble-shooting with me face-to-face.  The final insight and step that accomplished the fix was provided by me (the final hard shutdown and restart- see my original post).
  5. The Android consumer community has trapped itself in a victim's role as regards faulty and injurious product and service launches.  Android consumers seem to find it acceptable to suffer lost productivity and income and real emotional stress as a necessary consequence of using the Android platform.
  6. No real reform of the mobile computing industry will occur until consumers demand the same rights, protections and regulatory oversight that they demand from other industries.
  7. Contrary to much of today's political fear-mongering, regulation does NOT stifle innovation.  Rather, in correct doses, history has shown time and again that regulation SPURS innovation by building a confident consumer base that can reliably trust that new products and services will not cause them injury or lost income.
  8. Enlightened leaders of the mobile computing industry will know history and avoid its repetition.  They will correct and eliminate industry abuses and will assume FULL responsibility for the safety and effectiveness of all their products.  Through their enlightened leadership, they will minimize the intrusion of regulatory overseers and will grow a confident and trusting consumer base through their enlightened, ethical business practices.  Unenlightened leaders will drag the mobile computing community through the same pain and lost income suffered by other industries as they grapple with "wild west" versus regulated, fair and ethical business practices.
  9. Items 6 through 8 are not an idealist's pipe dream.  They are the REAL histories of numerous mature and innovation-rich industries that have enriched the human experience for decades before and since "mobile" and "computing" were first used in the same sentence.
  10. Industry leaders that provide reliable and robust mobile computing platforms and services will ultimately prevail in the marketplace.  I and my business partner have committed to completing, in the coming months, a reevaluation of the Windows-Mobile, iPhone and Android platforms for our mobile computing needs.  The lost revenues of the last 48 hours incline us to give platform and service reliability a much higher priority, and flexibility and personalization much lower priorities than we did 7 months ago.  I suspect we are not alone in our analysis.
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Journeyman

If Swype was the only issue, and it didn't take a user, with the help o of a Tech to resolve it, not that would be bad enough.

There are far worse issue I assume you will soon discover, not the least of which is 1.) pitiful or non-existent reception,

2.) battery life 4-5 hours

3.) intermittent offline/off network operation

4.) SMS failures

5.) Repeated SMS message both sent and received

6.) Push email fails (Microsoft Hotmail app + Seven ) goes offline

And others.

I too "upgraded" from Windows Mobile (Motorola Q9) 2 years ago, after Sprint essentially stopped selling Windows Mobile phones. I too am in the Medical business, and I too am in App Developoment.

I had the original Epic for less than a year. It had numerous bugs and incompatibilities. After months and months of working with "Tier 3" to helpo them to fix their software, with only the monimal fixes being supplied, I decided to bite the bullet and upgrade to the SII which I was told by both Sprint and Samsung would NOT have the issues that the Epic had. It was the "flagship" and would get great support. I took the plunge on the day of release, forfeiting another line upgrade for my caniballistic needs, and paid the upgrade fees.

It had not proven to be any different. Since September, I have repeatedly reported issues and pleaded fo information about when the corrections would be made. I was finally told 2 weeks ago when I threatened Sprint to pull all my lines that ICS would fix my issues. I contacted Samsung, detailed my issues and asked if they all would be addressed. I was assured, yes, every one of them.

False.

The biggest issue I have with the phone is that reception, i.e., the primary function of the "smart" phone, phone, has gone from poor to almost non-existent. I live in the "boondocks", you might guess, 9 miles from Tampa International Airport!!!! And although one of my children who gave up on Sprint has a Verizon phone with 4-5 bars in the house, Sprint has almost no service in my neighborhood which has a highway that runs right through the middle of it. I could occasionally get a signal when out doors. Indoors required me to get an Airave.

As of this update,

1.) I no longer have any signal in my neighborhood

2.) Unless I am within about 20 feet of the Airave, I drop to 1 bar. (which eats battery)

3.) Even when 3-5 feet from the Airave, the phone goes offline, with no bars for no apparent reason, numerous times per day, and I get no calls or SMS.

TO add insult to injury, I've been in the process of sending and receiving SMS and they fail, for no reason (other than the phone goes to no bars momentarily) but I do not resend, rather just leave the error. I have had people tell me I resent the failed message 15-20 times, and I get messages repeated from senders as well.

I did find that unless I configure Swype to automatically capitalize, "I" when keyed in the middle of a sentence was no longer capitalized. And yes, I too am not at all happy with having lost my Swype dictionary. I too am in the Medical business and lost my very large medical dictionary that took me 9 months to develop.

My main Issues in Gingerbread:

Unresolved: Stock Email Client does not support HTML, rather it is Text only. My NexTel phone from 12 years ago was just as "smart". (this is a "smart phone")

Cannot set third party app as default calendar in calendar (Microsoft + Seven) (this is a "smart phone" ?)

Cannot hear some Voice Mail messages, the volume is too low. (this is a "Smart phone")

GPS is inaccessible, or is/was off by miles. This likely is also related to the reception issues. I cannot say if the second part of this is still the case, because it wasn't able to connect to GPS enough for me to even test it.

I went to the Sprint Store to downgrade, but as of this time, they do not know how to do it. I give them 7 days to resolve this, after which they stop billing me for a phone that does not work due to an update I can't undo, and they loan me another phone.

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Journeyman

You are reporting the exact same problems I am having. As of two days ago I no longer have more than one reception bar no matter where I go (I used to always have 100%) in the city I live in -- which is a big metropolitan city...

My 4g won't connect. I keep getting repeat SMS notices. Worst thing for me is that my battery is not lasting more that 4 hours as of today. The android OS says it's using 60% of the battery. I've searched across forums for answers to these questions and I can't get any clues on what to do about my problems; although I was able to fix my swype issue yesterday based on some great feedback from other community members.

I'll try the sprint store next but I'm unbelievably frustrated by all of this and the time totally WASTED trying to get my phone back to the way it was on Monday. Ugh.

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Journeyman

Thank you for saying exactly what I would love to have been able to express, here's to hoping they take you up on your consultation offer. I have been at a complete loss since the update. As a former iPhone user, I can plainly see the travesty in this system and would appreciate express acknowledgement from Sprint, Samsung and especially Google (greedy buggers). I both value and abhor technology. I value when it works well and detest that my life comes to a screeching halt when it doesn't. It's simply crippling! I will be following your suggested fix to resolve our shared issues (Swype, browser and all the undesirable apps suddenly back on my phone), but mine also extend to email notifications with multiple account setups, text failures, and media roaming in my own living room while on WiFi.

And, though it's tempting to express my distain for the multitude of preceding plebian comments, I'll stick to the Thumperian principle.

Many thanks!

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Journeyman

You should send the bill to whoever hit OK in answer to the update message.  Oh right, that would be you.  If the update had happened without you approving it, you might have a valid complaint, but nobody forced you to do the update, and maybe you should have done some reading about it on the internet before clicking on Ok.  If your phone is that important to your job, then doing an update in the morning before work is not a very smart idea, and is your own fault.  In addition, since you seem to be an intelligent, if misguided persion, whose phone is obviously very important to their business, you should not need to be told to backup your data and apps before doing an update of the operating system.  It looks like all of your lost time and wages could have been completely avoided, if you had just not clicked on OK.  And after seeing all of yours posts (in all of the different threads) on here about this, it looks like you lost more time by complaining about something that you caused yourself, than you lost due to the problems the update caused you.

I have been working in the computer industry for over 20 years, and software updates almost always have bugs associated with them.  No update can be tested against every possible phone configuration and combination of installed applications that people have.  I haven't had any of the problems you did (I am sure it is because I use different apps than you do, or have different settings than you do), so if it was tested on my phone, there would not have been any problems.  I have also seen plenty of firmware updates to other devices that have cause all kinds of problems, including games systmes (PS3), media players, etc.  As for cable providers, they have much more control over the devices they are updating, and don't have to worry about anybody loading other applications on them.  This makes it much easier to test updates and eliminate most bugs ahead of time.  But I have still seen problems with their updates too, just not as frequently. 

The medical, pharmaceutical, and food industries are regulated because people could be hurt or killed if they weren't.  I have yet to see anybody die because their Swype keyboard didn't work right, or their favorites are no longer split into separate folders.  This is a ridiculous comparison and is not relevant.

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Journeyman

Thanks for spending so much time to work up these useful instructions.

Now, if only you'd remove all the self-entitled nerdrage you might actually get people to listen.

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Journeyman

Let me first say that I just got ics 4.0.4 on 7/16/12. My issue is not with the upgrade but with the Media transfer protocol or (MTP). you get this when you plug your phone into your computer via usb in stead of mass storage. I  had accidentally deleted some pictures and video's, of my kids and really want them back but every time I try and use any of my recovery software on my computer, it well not detect my phone anymore because it in (MTP). So my question is, is there anyway to get mass storage back and get rid of this MTP or just add mass storage as a 3rd pick for when you are connecting to your computer?

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Journeyman

My Swype keyboard no longer works (it says something along the lines of "Open to EnglishUS failed!") AND, to make matters worse, not only did I literally watch my battery go from 99% to 64% in a blink of an eye, but my school email account that is connected to my phone is no longer working. All I'm seeing are long, horizontal gray boxes and I can no longer access my email. I am beyond pissed.

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Journeyman

Well this is what I did and It worked I went to play store and down loaded ICS keyboard app (Free) the installed and rebooted then I got keyboard function back The I went to Swpe web page and follow the instructions and installed the Swype beta version and it works very well now/ I like you was very frustrated and ****** off I stumbled on to this work around while I was waiting for them to send me a new phone since the update screwed it up.

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