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Google Pixel And Pixel XL Microphone Issues: Google Confirms Hardware Problem

9 March 2017, 1:31 pm EST By Alexandra Burlacu Tech Times
Google Pixel and Pixel XL owners have been experiencing yet another issue, this time affecting the smartphones' microphones. On the bright side, Google is aware of the matter and is actively communicating with affected users.  ( Spencer Platt | Getty Images )

A number of Google Pixel and Pixel XL owners are experiencing serious issues with the smartphones' microphones. In some cases, the audio input gets entirely disabled.

The Google Pixel and Pixel XL are currently among the hottest Android smartphones on the market, but they still have their fair share of issues. Various problems have come to light since their release, including audio problems, Bluetooth connectivity issues, unresponsiveness, camera freezing and lens flaring, and more.

Google Pixel Microphone Issues

The latest inconvenience affecting Google Pixel and Pixel XL owners now involves the smartphones' microphones. A growing thread on the Google Support forum reveals "severe microphone issues," and it seems that quite a lot of users are experiencing such troubles. Device owners also flocked to Reddit to complain about the issue.

The Google Pixel has three microphones in total, yet this issue can apparently disable audio input altogether in some cases. The thread raised a great deal of interest and the issue is on Google's radar, which means that it should get a fix soon enough.

Hardware-Related, Not A Software Bug

According to Brian Rakowski, a Google employee who responded to the thread on the Google Support Forum, the microphones' failure could stem from several things, but all cases involve a hardware issue rather than a software one.

Potential causes for the Google Pixel and Pixel XL microphone woes include a hairline crack in the microphone component soldering, or a faulty microphone to begin with. Nevertheless, Google says that both of these scenarios are extremely rare, impacting less than 1 percent of all Pixel and Pixel XL users.

"We are taking additional steps to qualify refurbished phones to make sure they don't have this mic problem. It's possible that some replacement phones were not properly qualified before we understood this issue, but that's no longer the case," says Rakowski. "I know this thread makes it seem much more prevalent, but there is a selection bias at work here."

Good News, Bad News

The good news is obviously that it's not a widespread issue, and affecting less than 1 percent of Pixel and Pixel XL handsets means that most owners should not have any problems with their handset's microphones. At the same time, the bad news is that a hardware issue involves more hassle. While a software issue can be fixed with a software update or a simple patch, a hardware one requires repairing or replacing the handset altogether.

In some cases, the microphone issues occur only once in a while and disappear with the help of outside factors such as ambient temperature or grip, according to user reports.

Some Google Pixel and Pixel XL owners experiencing microphone issues have tried various workarounds, including heating the smartphone with a hairdryer. Such a solution is not recommended, however, as it could trigger other issues.

Google has yet to identify a single cause for the Pixel and Pixel XL microphone issues, but it does suggest that accidental drops could carry at least part of the blame for the device problems.

Even so, since it's a hardware matter, the company recommends that affected users send in their defective Google Pixel or Pixel XL and get a free replacement.

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