Monday, 16 June 2014

Lenovo S650 with android 4.4.2 and google authenticator (Part 3)

The first part of the series documents the process of upgrading Lenovo S650 from the original 4.2.2 ROM to the new VibeUI ROM which is based on KitKat 4.4.2 and MyUI. The second one documents Google Authenticator issues and a viable alternative. This post lists a few other issues I ran into during the first days of using the new ROM.

Bluetooth file transfer facepalm

I wanted to transfer my updated KeePass database .passwords.kdb to my phone from my thinkpad, but received an error telling me the transfer has failed. After a few attempts I found my thinkpad shows the phone disconnected after the first attempt. Bluetooth file transfers were working fine with Lenovo S650 4.2.2 ROM. To eliminate the possibility that a software update broke bluetooth on the thinkpad, I quickly verified that file transfers are still working between my old Samsung Galaxy Y and my thinkpad.

Apparently, I went down into the garage to check that phone properly connects to my car radio - not being able to issue and receive calls from within my car would have been a major issue and a show stopper. As everything seemed to be just fine, way more stable compared to Samsung Galaxy Y, I returned upstairs to my thinkpad.

After further experiments I found that the thinkpad shows my phone disconnected after around 30 seconds, whether I attempt to initiate file transfers or not. This seems to be a feature and not a bug, a consequence of bluetooth low energy that was not present in the previous 4.2.2 ROM but is included in android 4.4 (4.3+ to be precise).

I have narrowed down the experiments and found the root cause: a stupid bug on the phone prevents me to transfer hidden files (file name starting with a period) to Lenovo 4.4.2 - I have simply renamed the file and successfully sent it to my phone. As I do not have other KitKat devices handy, I cannot test if this is local to Lenovo or a generic android "feature". This limitation is definitely not imposed by the OBEX protocol.

Google Maps 8.1.0 crashing

On the 7th of June, I updates Google Maps to 8.1.0 but later that day found navigation crashing after one or two minutes of operation. As I was on the road (driving) I did not have time to investigate the issue in depth. I have relaunched the application, after the next crash I forcefully stopped the application, later I even rebooted, and purged all application data, but none of these seemed to help in the long run. The issue seemed to be isolated and only affect navigation mode, so I was still able to use Maps, but with much degraded functionality - using directions without navigation and memorizing.

I had to take a pit stop, and purged the application completely, then reinstalled version 8.0.0 which I had backed up on my microSD card. This version is working without a glitch, I just have to ensure not to update to 8.1.0... First I thought there might be an issue with the stock Lenovo VibeUI / 4.4.2 ROM that only comes to surface with this new version of Maps. My recent experience with Google made me decide not to invest more time into tracking down the root cause. Version 8.0.0 serves me well, I decided to stay on this version for a while.

Later that day I have googled to check if others are having issues with 8.1.0, and found thread on xda-developers that perfectly describes my observations. The posts do not contain any solution or detailed investigation. The fact that this issue was observed on a Lenovo 850 ROM made me wonder again if this issue was Lenovo specific... I have also checked recent comments on Maps on Google Play and found many complaints about the recent update, but as the comments do not include the brand/model of the device, this did not help me further.

The bottom line is, going further into investigating the issue with 8.1.0 does not fit into my current schedule and I will stick to 8.0.0 until I find time and motivation to investigate.

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