The release of the Google Pixel and Pixel XL this past October represented a significant shift in Google’s overall smartphone strategy. Whereas Google in the past was more or less content with letting hardware partners like Samsung and HTC shape the Android user experience, the Google Pixel was a decidedly Google-only affair, with the search giant exerting more control than ever before over the entirety of the Android experience.
Because the Pixel was designed by Google from the ground up, there have been more than a few growing pains along the way. More recently, Google finally conceded that a number of Pixel devices have faulty microphones incapable of recording audio.
In a comment thread on the issue found on Google’s support forums, Brian Rakowski — a VP of Product Management at Google — explains that the problem is a hardware issue that unfortunately can’t be addressed via a software fix. Consequently, users with affected devices will have to send them back in order to rectify the issue.
“We are taking additional steps to qualify refurbished phones to make sure they don’t have this mic problem,” Rakowski said. “It’s possible that some replacement phones were not properly qualified before we understood this issue, but that’s no longer the case.
“Also, we have been taking additional steps to reinforce the connection at time of manufacture on phones built since January,” Rakowski added. “Phones manufactured in the last month should not have this problem. For phones manufactured before then, the incidence of the problem is <<1%. I know this thread makes it seem much more prevalent, but there is a selection bias at work here.”
If you’re a Pixel owner with a faulty mic, you can process a return via Google if that’s where the original purchase was made. If you picked up your Pixel from a third-party retailer, Google advises to “go back to that retailer as they can replace the phone more quickly.” Google further adds that their retail partners should be well-informed and trained on the issue.
Notably, you can still process a return through Google if you purchased your Pixel from a third-party. The only downside is that you won’t receive a replacement device until Google receives your faulty device, a process that might take a few weeks.
Notably, this isn’t the first time we’ve heard Pixel owners voice complaints about the device. Just a few months back, a number of Pixel owners were beset by a wide range of software issues, including faulty alarms, the inability to play music and the inability to make or receive calls.
On a more positive note, we’re already starting to hear rumblings about the Google Pixel 2, a device which, believe it or not, will follow in the footsteps of the iPhone 7 and do away with the 3.5 mm headphone jack.