Yet Another Pixel 3 Flaw Emerges

Posted on November 20, 2018 by Paul Thurrott in Android with 39 Comments

It would be comical if it weren’t so sad. Reports have emerged of yet another flaw with Google’s Pixel 3 family of handsets.

And this one is related to the camera: Some third-party camera apps trigger a fatal error that disables the handset’s camera hardware until you reboot the device.

“[If you] enable camera access for any third party app … it stops working completely,” Owen Williams tweeted when he encountered this bug. He then uncovered several Google forum threads in which others are experiencing the same problem.

For some reason, it took this flaw for BuzzFeed’s Mat Honan to pull his recommendation for the Pixel 3. But he did, at least, get Google to issue a statement.

“We’ve looked into reports of this issue and have identified a fix that will roll out in the coming weeks,” the firm told him.

Sounds familiar. But as readers of this site know, I have never recommended these bug-ridden devices and probably never will. There are just too many problems.


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Comments (39)

39 responses to “Yet Another Pixel 3 Flaw Emerges”

  1. jprestig

    Incoming comments....

    "But when the camera does work, it takes the best pictures."

    "This is overblown, I haven't experienced these issues."

    Sorry that I'm so bitter today. I just don't see how people are still defending these devices.

    • the_real_entheos

      In reply to jprestig:

      Well said. Was it the internet that invented the response to someone's problem: "My (device) works fine", which is about the most useless phrase in all human history!

      • wright_is

        In reply to the_real_entheos:

        No, that has been around for decades. And it is useful information to have. It doesn't help those affected, but as a manufacturer / developer, it is useful to have reports from as many customers/users as possible, whether a certain issue is affecting them or not.

        It helps you to track down, whether it is a general problem, restricted to a certain batch of hardware or restricted to certain configurations. You can then analyse the configurations that do work and those that don't and it will hopefully lead you more quickly to the source of the problem.

        I had a Golf, the local garage tried to change the clutch 5 times, each time it broke as they tested it. In the end VW sent an engineer down to watch the mechanic put the clutch in, he also brought a new clutch with him. It worked first time. It turns out that a certain batch of clutches didn't have tempered springs and they just shattered when put under load. Having a clutch from a different batch helped locate the problem, it wasn't the mechanic's method of putting in the clutch, it was the clutch itself. If they had used another clutch from the same batch, they would have had the same problem again and probably wouldn't have been any the wiser. It is the same with software, you want to elimante as many possible causes as possible, the more information you get, positive or negative, the better.

        Edit: Another case in point, we had a range of industrial terminals with IP65 rating and some customers had problems with mouldy seals around the touch screen. Narrowing down where they were used and which batch / type of touch was used in them (we used two different suppliers) showed that there was a problem with one supplier, they weren't sealing the touch layer properly and in cold, damp conditions spores of mould could build up between the layers.

          • wright_is

            In reply to wosully:

            There is another example that springs to mind.

            I wrote a budgeting system which was sent out to over 50 countries. To help the local users, the system asked the OS for the month names in the local language and displayed them (although the official business langauge was English, it was such an easy hack, I thought I'd be kind to the locals).

            We started getting sporadic reports of the system not working properly. It was translating the English month names into "January" for every month (E.g. January = January, February = January, March = January...).

            But it was only on a few machines and I had tested it in English, German and French. Ringing around the different countries, I found that it only didn't work in a few countries. They hadn't sourced their PCs locally and they were big enough to have an IT department who erased the PCs when they arrived and installed "Windows 95 International English", not a localized version. All other countries used the version of Windows that was delivered with the PC and didn't have any problems.

            It turns out there was a bug in W95, all versions returned the correct local language names for the months, except the International English version, it just returned January for every month!

            In the end, it was decided to stick with hard-coded English month names. But tracking it down would have been a lot harder, if I had only had feedback from users who were having problems.

  2. andrey.opohmelkin

    Just switch to the camera in second notch

  3. Althalus

    Could this be related to the underlying changes to disconnect Android hardware drivers from the core Andriod OS in order to allow easier software upgrades?

  4. dontbe evil

    problems with text messages, double notch, camer… google quality for premium price... LOL

  5. kjb434

    I'll just wait until the Razr II drops in price next year.

  6. Bats

    All that needs to be done, is request for the Mary Jo Foley edition of the Pixel 3XL and all is good.

  7. andyfletch

    Hardly surprising to see the windows fans taking the opportunity to point out a minor flaw - not like there are ever any windows issues that require patches to fix. Windows phones died about 5 years ago because they were too late to the party.

    As someone who has owned 3 Windows phones, a handful of Android devices (Samsung, HTC, Nexus and Pixel) and iPhones, I can honestly say that I would favour the pixel everytime - Google are great at providing patches and what people need to appreciate the Pixel has the latest OS releases first other Androids may take months before /if they even get the latest release.

    I can honestly say I have never had any issues with my "bug ridden' (biased and unfounded generalisation there Paul) Pixel, in fact I would go as far as to say it has never missed a beat and never caused me any need to reboot.

  8. torsampo

    I'm not going to argue that people don't have issues, but I have had the Pixel, Pixel 2 XL and Pixel 3. My spouse uses a Pixel 2 and each of my kids have a Pixel (I can't recall which models). None of us have ever had an issue with any of the phones and I am very happy with my Pixel 3. It should not be a lottery to get a good phone, but we've had every reason to love ours.

  9. HellcatM

    In reply to karma77police: A Yugo, fits your mentality.

  10. SleepingPelican

    In 2017 I finally decided to switch from my Lumia 950XL to Android. I initially considered the Essential phone but after reading the early reviews I pre-ordered the Pixel 2 XL. Again, after hearing the early reviews I canceled my pre-order and bought the Samsung Note 8. After a year I can say I'm glad I chose the Note 8. It's a great phone and after installing the Microsoft Launcher and other apps it's a great Microsoft phone.

  11. mrdrwest

    $1000, SMH...and it runs Android?

    I really hate the UI/UX of Android. Maybe I should purchase one more battery for my L950XL...

  12. bhatech

    Pixel issue, Paul smiles. Can't wait to take every opportunity to thrash the Pixel 3 ???

  13. jonshipman

    Wife is getting a replacement device today. Hers is having the issue like crazy.

    Some have speculated it's due to the encryption chip used by the Pixel 3.

  14. bart

    What is much more interesting is something Paul already alluded to in another article; the fact that other companies like Microsoft and Apple, are also providing software with substantial flaws.

    Time for all three (and others) to slow down software development and focus more on quality?

  15. Winner

    I never launch my camera from third party apps so I wouldn't care.

  16. jimchamplin

    H... how!? How did they fail so utterly? Is it the actual hardware that’s borked? Drivers? What the actual crap?

  17. RM

    Doesn't surprise me, no Android phone works flawlessly.

  18. dcdevito

    This is just embarrassing at this point for Google. My father in-law bought a 3 XL (upgraded from the 2 XL) and he was touting it and showing it off the other night. I'll be honest, the notch was way too damn big and I just don't see how anyone can get used to that. After using it for 30 minutes or so I don't see how in any way that phone is an upgrade over the 2 XL (other than the display, which is better).

    • Jason Peter

      In reply to dcdevito: I'll be honest, the notch was way too damn big and I just don't see how anyone can get used to that.

      Apple - "Let's put a notch in that display"

      Google - "Let's put a display in that notch"

    • wolters

      In reply to dcdevito:

      Now that I've confirmed that the pixels on the screen are turned on when this is selected, I've turned off "cutout" in the developer options and never see the notch.

      As I've mentioned in other posts, I'd still be on the Note 9 if the camera didn't have issues. Luckily, I've not had these issues on my Pixel 3 XL.

  19. Daekar

    You're right, it is getting comical. Google is making it very easy for the competition...

  20. FalseAgent

    all of this reminds me of the Lumia 950. Kinda strange to see this from Android and Google, of all places.

  21. Jeffsters

    Where's Mike! ??‍♂️