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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
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Journeyman

I share your pain and frustration. So much so I filed a complaint with the Better Business Bureau AND the online Better Business Bureau. I didn't seek the 4.0.4 ICS upgrade; it was pushed on me. Now my phone half-functions and as warm as it gets now, I don't think, quite frankly, it's particularly SAFE. I wonder if some kind of class action could be filed so that all consumers who have this phone and had the ICS upgrade pushed on them (rather than seeking it out) could get NOT monetary damages but be given the option of selecting a new phone of OUR choosing (a phone equivalent in price to what this phone cost). It might not be quite so bad if there was an actual manual accompanying the upgrade--like the manual that came with the phone itself when you bought it--but I've seen nothing online but ways to upgrade it yourself. And like you, I'm getting  no joy from Sprint. So maybe consumers need to "push" back (pun NOT intended, honest, lol). Any lawyers on here who could offer some input?

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Journeyman

They deleted my post, they are hiding behind this fiasco.

The truth is this phone is not a phone any more, let alone a smart phone, but worst  of all, they are ignoring us.

No, worst of all, they are deleting negative comments that are true because they gave no solution.

Sprint, formerly a company that equipped the businesses of America is now a consumer products company.

Sprint is failing for the same reason America is failing. Consumers are  valued, producers need to pay their fair share.

Highlighted
Journeyman

I concur that an e-mail or some form of written communications are needed to Sprint.  Every person with one or more of the issues with ICS should be sending written communication. 

I have spoken to Customer Service and Tech support numerous times over the last few days.  Everyone reacts as this is the absolute first they have heard of any issues, and even act as if maybe I caused the problems.  They also do not imply that they react or are knowledgeable of these blogs.

I have encountered every issue in these pages and my Galaxy S2 was purchased 5/20/12 and worked perfectly prior to my accepting the ICS update.  Tech first said Samsung problem when the factory resets did not resolve, then stated take to local Sprint store which resolved absolutely nothing.

My e-mails at least resulted in call backs but even so, all I was offered is a refurbished phone at $35.00.

Marketing 101 dictates at least some general communication - from a so called Communication Corporation - acknowledging the laundry list of issues encountered and that they are working with Samsung to resolve.

Sprint should be offering discounted upgrades to S3, if that actually functions with ICS, even if customer current plan does not qualify.  Then provide whatever rebate available on the S2.  Then when they fix ALL THE MANY issues, they can update the phones sent for rebate and sell as used or send them out as refurbished.

FYI  Chat support is clueless on these problems and basically directs to the non-existent tutorials on this site.

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Sprint Employee

Hello cac42, I’m sorry that you feel that we are not communicating about software updates for this model well. Truthfully I can say that discussions like this had prompted another software update which addressed concerns of battery life (FH13 was released shortly after this discussion was started).

Call center employees generally have no opportunity to browse these forums, as they are geared towards answering calls, and reporting in other ways. The Chat employees are aimed more towards general customer service. Problems related to hardware, or software updates are usually handled in our service & repair centers because they are capable reporting problems directly to the developers. This is the reason that you would have been referred to a service & repair center if you had problems that persisted beyond a factory restore.

No longer working Community Response.
Highlighted
Journeyman

My assessment of FH13 is that it does indeed improve battery life, it is however how it accomplishes this that is laughable: The how is that phone goes offline with data connectivity/synchronization.


Push email has effectively been disabled.  Setting the polling to 15 or 30 minutes is no better, I have to reboot the phone to get it to "wake up."

I reboot 15 times per day. Again, laughable. I had to buy a spare battery so I can replace the battery every 6 hours. To make matters worse, if you are on a call and your battery goes low, you have to plug the phone in and wait to finish your call to replace the battery because the STUPID phone does not allow you to replace the battery, even though plugged in.

You become chained to the wall by a Cell Phone. Really?

Add to this the fact the "radio" on the phone is so pitiful, I cannot leave my home office while on a call because I have to stay close to my Airave, or the call will drop.

Add to this the fact if you walk too far from the Airave, the phone will switch to a Roaming tower, walking back to the Airave does not reconnect the call. so you hae to go outside to finish your call or hang up and call back. It is absurd. 

The phone is not smart, is at times not cordless, and is not a cell phone.  It is a joke! It is the most expensive Cordless/Corded Phone I've ever owned.

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Journeyman

RC,

Any word on the street if they're going to push out FI03/FI06?

Been using it for almost 2 full weeks and I can honestly say I feel like I'm as solid now as I was on GB.

(The few issues that I have are likely of my own doing since I tweak it after updating...)

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Journeyman

Hope all the people just lurking and reading the site actually

put the effort in to say something/ anything about their broken phones! Why

settle for something of yours that is broken! People use their phones more than

they use their toilets! Could you live with a broken toilet if you didn't say or help

to fix it? We pay at least $1080 a year each line for a phone and service that

should work!  I had something that made my life easier...  these software updates have made my life harder! 

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Journeyman

What I don't understand is why they can't rollout out a 2.3.6 update to get people back to what they enjoyed.

I went into the store and asked if my phone came into the store smashed and I got a new one, what would I get?  just another S2 with ICS and all the problems.

OK. you admit there's problems, so upgrade me to the S3 where ICS does work for a reduced rate. I'm willing to pay $50 or so to go to the S3.

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Journeyman

Hey Big Guy apparently the tech(s) at the store in Honolulu are aware of all the problems with the

Epic 4g touch and have instructed me to come in so they can reinstall me back to

Ginger Bread. However it looks like they can do nothing about that nagging update

reminder which comes on basically every time i turn my phone on or charge it! Should

I do it? Is everyone being offered this temporary solution? I just mentioned I was

following the forum and showed them screenshots of my reboots and battery life... I

just want a working phone that does what it should! What is the definition of an

upgrade... moving to something better right? Not taking 10 steps back... My phone

has become WORSE than it ever was 2 updates ago... They better stop that nagging

update notification if they reinstall Ginger Bread... GRRRR!

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Journeyman
Journeyman

I got the official build not through the update and all worked fairly well other than. 1. Battery life dropped drastially. ad the annoying new home/power screen shot that hardly ever works. My freind got the update and had these issues plus major laggy phone and some otehr issues. He did a full factory reset using id number and his phone works much better and battery is better than it was. Still not GB good but good for ICS.   So I tried this even though it meant losing ALL my data from apps. (because for some reason you can't back up app data STILL!!!) Any way after doing the reset my battery got slightly better but. About a month ago got a new update supposed to fix issues. Now my phone runs like crap. Battery sucks again, lags, freezes. I wake my phone and unlock then have to wait a couple seconds before it responds to anything. This just sucks. between this crap, the blocking of camera silence, the inability to turn all volume down at 1 time, and the poor service in my area becaus ethey are "working" on the towers. I sure wish I hadn't upgraded and signed up for another 2 yrs. Sprint is really dropping the ball on this and as usual when you call CSR you amy or may not get a rep that has any clue what they are talking about. 

Bad choice Sprint. BAD!

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Journeyman

I also ran the update for my S2 and now my phone is frozen at the start up screen. I even ran the factory reset and its still frozen. At this time, I am not a happy customer.  Does anyone have any ideas?

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Journeyman

"Sorry" is not enough. Your company has failed it's customers, and behaves in an unacceptable denialish way. A proper response would be an IMMEDIATE availability of GB "downgrade" (cheap) or  hardware upgrade (expensive but fair)

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