Google Pixel and Pixel XL users are reporting issues with their Android-powered smartphones shutting down even though the handsets are reporting significant reserves of battery life. The reports are coming in through Google’s own forums (see here) and popular third-party communities such as Reddit.
Update: A Google spokesperson has told me that “we’re investigating the three reports we’ve received of battery drain issues on Pixel and we’ll get back to you as soon as we have more information.”
The curious feature is the point at which the battery issue kicks in. It appears to happen around the 25 to 35 percent mark, so it’s easy to call the error the ‘thirty percent battery’ issue… a value that will be hauntingly familiar to iPhone users where a similar problem is being worked on by Cupertino.
With a bit of work there’s probably a Saturday Night Live sketch in there about Google wanting to follow Apple so closely it even replicates the same bugs, but with the error also showing up in some Nexus 6P handsets it’s more likely something in the Android Nougat code than ammunition for Lorne Michaels.
One advantage over previous Android issues is that over-the-air updates for the Pixel and Nexus devices are something that Google has far more control over, compared to other Android-powered handsets. These flagships can be updated in many cases direct from Mountain View, while arrangements with some carriers are in place to expedite critical fixes. Surely power issues and unexpected loss of functionality will allow Google to trigger this fast update route?
I can see this turning into an interesting comparison exercise. Apple has a similar issue with the iPhone, and it has come to light in a similar way through forum reports and online discussion. While the problem is not yet solved, iOS updates have been rolled out which included battery diagnostic tools to report data back to Cupertino.
Google now has a similar situation with the Pixel devices. Can it identify issues, roll out fixes, and communicate these to consumers and exceed Apple’s unresponsive approach to publicly acknowledging issues?