Thursday, December 12, 2013

How NOT to update your Android device

Recently, (well, I say recently...) Google launched the new version of android, Android 4.4 Kitkat (and subsequent patch). There was much excitement all around for the new version and every nexus owner, including me, was awaiting their very own OTA* update.

Needless to say I nearly jumped in joy when I saw the rather bland notification "New system update available. Click here to install..."!
So I click it, wait happily for it to update. The tablet reboots. The Google logo shows up and then...

No Command.


This experience was, unfortunately, not unique to me. From the subsequent research I immediately launched into, it was easy to see that several 2012 Nexus 7 users (not sure about others) had been 'soft bricked' by the newest OTA update, through no real fault of their own.

Now, I don't really know what caused it to bork like this on an update, but I do know how I solved it. The easiest way is to download Wug's Nexus Toolkit (Windows only) and use the "Flash stock" option with 'soft-bricked' checked. Make sure your tablet has plenty of battery (plug it in and let it charge even if it doesn't seem to be charging. Leave for a few hours) and follow the instructions carefully. Wug's toolkit is very user friendly and provides detailed instructions. 

What strikes me most odd about this is how would a "normal" user go about fixing this. Imagine the user who just uses his tablet as, well, a media consumption device. How would this person, who doesn't even think of googling the issue, solve this? The tablet would probably have to be sent over to Asus, or Google. I'm not even sure who would deal with this. 

The silver lining about this is that with a little bit of searching about, I've managed to get my tablet up and running on android 4.4.2 and it is smooth. You could even say it's buttery smooth. Update borkedness aside Google seems to have done a good job with the optimization. I miss the holo blue accents though.

*Over the air