Google's first foray into self-branded smartphones came in the form of the Pixel and Pixel XL handsets, and while the pair has garnered their due acclaim, things are slightly far from perfect, as exemplified by recent snags hampering the devices.
Lens flaring was the issue back in October, a problem Google has resolved already. Then came the problematic camera glitches, freezing and causing the screen to spout pink or purple vertical lines. Now, another problem is apparently plaguing the flagship pair, and this time it has to do with the device's audio output.
Google Pixel Audio Problems
Numerous posts in the Google Product Forums alongside a Reddit post from user Mark "badmark" Buckman first brought the issue into the fore. According to their reports, the issue affects all Pixel devices when playing videos, apps, or music with the volume setting maxed out. It doesn't always occur, apparently. But it does spur when certain frequencies are being played.
The Reddit user has uploaded a video which demonstrates the problem. In it Buckman loads a piano app on the handset. He demonstrates the problem by playing piano keys rapidly, sliding his finger across the screen back and forth, during which the cracking-like sounds become very noticeable. Keep in mind that the phone is Buckman's fourth replacement device, and that the issue persists despite. To ward off skeptics, he performed the same test on the Nexus 6, but the same problem didn't occur.
The problem isn't exclusive to loudspeaker mode, apparently; it's also present when headphones are plugged in.
"Same thing, popping and clicking in either the speaker, or if I plug headphones in it pops and clicks there. Then when I pair my Bluetooth headphones it does the same thing," commented Ryan Lestage at the Google Product Forums.
Folks over at 9to5Mac were able to replicate the problem depicted in Buckman's video, which is suggestive of the audio glitch being widespread.
Hardware Or Software Issue?
Collectively, the complaints seem to suggest that the crackling sound is a software issue instead of something that's caused by a hardware flaw. The problem appears only on certain apps, and tinkering the equalizer apparently fixes the issue briefly. Now that the problem is starting to get traction, Google will most probably iron it out via a minor software update.
Fortunately, Google has acknowledged the problem and is currently doing an investigation. However, it hasn't elaborated whether the issue springs from a software or hardware-related problem.