SMS bug

Since we ran the story about the SMS bug in Android, we've been hearing back from a lot of you with more hints, tips, and information.  First, I do want to thank each and every one who contacted us, and again remind you to be sure to add any helpful information to the Google code page about the issue.  Since this one seems to affect some more than others, it's very important that we all share what we know to be true with the masterminds in Mountain View.  Hit the break, where we share everything we've learned and heard so far, and keep the reports coming guys. 

Update: Commentor a1Will I Am brings up an excellent point -- a poll would be awful interesting.  We have one set up in the forums right here, everyone should vote so we know what kind of numbers we're dealing with here.

Handcent, or other third-party application

We're hearing three things about this, and it's a bit of conflicting information.  The first camp is saying that switching to Handcent or Chomp SMS fixes their issues.  Next, we have a group that tells us third party applications seemed to fix things at first, but things eventually reverted and the bug is back.  Finally, we have those that say third party application make no difference. 

A little frustrating?  You bet.  We strive to be helpful any and every way we can, you guys are like our extended family.  We still can't replicate these issues, even with some more information from a developer or two (more on that in a bit), so all we can say is try it.  If Handcent or Chomp fixes things for you, good deal -- but don't be alarmed if it doesn't. 

On the bright side it looks like Google Voice is good to go.  Install it, use it -- it's free and can even save you some SMS fees.

A possible way to duplicate the bug

Want to see if you can force this to happen?  We did, too.  Here's a method from Steven:

  • Start to compose a message
  • Get a notification in the status bar or a pop up that steals focus
  • Message will go to the wrong recipient

I tried a bunch of times, using Gtalk or mail notifications, and even phone calls and things still worked as intended.  But Steven's advice, as well as his other theories, sound very solid, so here's what he says you should keep in mind:

"If you are composing (e.g., writing or replying to) a message and something happens that takes focus from you (e.g., a new window pops up or something appears in the notification bar) then stop what your doing, quit the messaging app, and relaunch it and start writing your message again."

Steven also has another way he can recreate the bug.  Start up a high-speed texting session, where texts are coming in and out at the same time.  This will cause the bug for Steven.  This ties in with his above words of wisdom, so test number two began.

  • Get a willing partner.  Protip: Use your significant other -- telling them 100 reason why they're the best makes you both feel good :)
  • Start texting back and forth -- my wife and I each sent 100 messages to each other as fast as we could. 
  • Make sure messages are coming in while you're replying, and you may see the bug.

Since I'm a bit under the weather and we spent New Year's Eve quietly at home, we had fun with it.  Trying with Sense phones, stock phones, AOSP phones, BlackBerries, and an iPhone.  Nothing.  But again, what Steven is saying makes perfect sense, so I recommend you try if you want to duplicate his results.  Big thanks for all the information Steven.

Bug reports

A look at all the new comments on the Google Code page this morning was worrying to say the least.  Hundreds of "Me too!" comments hurt far more than they help.  Believe it or not, someone at Google has to read through each and every comment left, and reading through a ton of "FIX IT NOW!!!!!!!111!!!!!!!one!!" comments takes time away from fixing things.

If you can make this bug happen, either with Steven's methods above or your own way, get your tail over to the Google Code page and report in.  Just use plain language, say what you did, and what happened -- no need to try to be technical unless you're able.  All the Google Code page links here point to the same page, pick one and go.

If you can't recreate the bug at will, star the issue to bump it, then move on. Please DON'T leave some "Yeah, fix this! comment." Let the Googler's spend their time reading the helpful information instead of wasting it -- they know there's an issue, even without 500 posts telling them as much. 

The important thing is that now everyone (I assume everyone, I can only speak for myself) knows that it's not user-error.  I'll admit, I thought it was at first, and I have a gut feeling that folks at Google thought the same way.  It's not -- that's plain to see now, so lets get it fixed.