30
Aug
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It has only been a couple of weeks since I wrote about the troubles with multi-touch (well, touch in general) on the 2013 Nexus 7. At the time, Paul Wilcox of Google's Product Support forum stated that the issue was being examined, and about a week later he confirmed that the JSS15Q update addressed the problem. While many people are reporting that the OTA has completely cleared up any touchscreen glitches that had been present, some people haven't seen any improvements, and still others are complaining that the problem has grown significantly worse.

bug

Photo credit: @LSAwesome

Shortly after the update began rolling out, a number of people asked if the situation had truly been resolved. Some early comments gave a very positive outlook until a user by the name phazerorg described how his Nexus 7 was continuing to fail at even simple drag operations. Shortly thereafter, he posted a video to demonstrate his experience. Subsequently, several other device owners have come to the forum with similar stories, filling it with a few hundred comments in just over 2 weeks.

A few days after the AOSP source drop for JSS15Q, user EPJ posted a link to the update history for the touchscreen driver. It turns out that even the developers have had a series of bad experiences with this digitizer, with many of the 18 changes making some reference to ghost touches, bad touch or gesture detection, or changes in calibration to account for various problems.

Based on the evidence put forward by a number of commenters, it seems reasonable to suspect that some Nexus 7 units are simply calibrated incorrectly, while others may have a grounding issue. An unsuitable calibration can be fixed with a software update that adjusts the voltage of the touchscreen digitizer, which is how this last OTA was expected to solve the problem. There is a growing feeling that the digitizers used in the Nexus 7 are wildly different and may be difficult to account for or might even require calibration specific to the individual unit. On the other hand, units affected by a manufacturing defect which causes grounding issues probably cannot be fixed with a software update. The origin of this theory comes from a specific symptom where the tablet doesn't experience any problem while being held or connected to a charger, but erratic behavior and ghost touches start occurring while resting on a flat surface. Again, these are only educated guesses and have not been validated by Google or any third party.

2013-08-29_22-22-33

Paul has again confirmed that the team is looking back into the issue, so it's likely another OTA fix will be coming in the weeks ahead. Of course, for many Nexus 7 owners, the return window is looming or already long passed. Additionally, some users may not have originally had a problem, but now have to deal with a crippled experience. If it turns out that this is a hardware problem, your manufacturer warranty should cover defects if one is confirmed. Ideally, ASUS would issue a recall for affected devices if it becomes necessary, though hopefully a software-based fix will be coming in the near future.

[Google Product Forum]

Cody Toombs
Cody is a Software Engineer and Writer with a mildly overwhelming obsession with smartphones and the mobile world. If he’s been pulled away from the computer for any length of time, you might find him talking about cocktails and movies, sometimes resulting in the consumption of both.

  • Sir_Brizz

    My 2013 N7 had a slightly wiggy touch screen, but the update has almost entirely resolved it. I could still get some minor wigginess by using ten multitouch inputs.

  • angel_spain

    Meanwhile, many Nexus 4 users are still waiting for a fix for the ARP offload bug while phone is in deep sleep (you don't receive notifications over wifi). A bug that was fixed right after JDQ39E update but didn't reach the OTA, and it was "forgotten" in 4.3 update. It's only fixed in JSS15 aosp builds or rooted devices (you need to change a system file).

    https://code.google.com/p/android/issues/detail?id=58082

    I'm not saying that Google just looks for the Nexus 7 owners, just that they hand bugfixes rollouts really bad. It just doesn't make sense to wait for OTAs when only your products (nexus, GE) are running lastest version of android.

    • andy_o

      It's not even fully fixed in the JSS builds. Some of us still having trouble.

    • Mark

      As mentioned in the google code, it's a bug in the wifi driver. Go speak to the chipset manufacturer...

      • angel_spain

        But that's not google's customers problem. I've bought the phone from Google (and warranty contract is with them) so I want them to fix the bugs, I don't care how, that's their problem, not mine.

      • Idon’t Know

        I guess Google bears no responsibility for anything...pretty laughable the excuses people make.

        • Below$550AShareIsPathetic!}:-D

          Why should Google bear any responsibility? Go after ASUS if there's any problems. They built the Nexus 7, not Google. Google does search and ads, not hardware.

          • ChallangetobeAccepted

            While yes, the manufacturing problems are ASUS's fault, still Google is effectively selling you a defective device - and that is very much their responsibility.

    • Angmancy

      And the fact that a lot of Nexus 4 go into deep sleep and need a reboot to wake up. And still is no word from Google if it is a software or hardware bug!!

    • Mike Reid

      Nexus = the latest Android, with attendant bugs.

      Samsung, HTC etc. may be "slower" than Google in putting out updates, but that's in part because they want to polish the user experience and minimize bugs.

      As with everything in life, there are pro's and cons to Nexus.

      • angel_spain

        I agree, but I'm not talking about how speed they fix bugs, but about the fact that they solve a lot of them but you need to wait for a new android release to get them instead of pushing a new OTA like they did with the new Nexus 7 bugs.

        Just go to code.google and do a search with the tag status:futurerelease, you will see how many bugs (some of them annoying and noticeable like the arp offload) are solved and won't reach the user until 4.3.1 or 5.0.

        If it's solved by android programmers, why don't you push them to your Google devices?

      • TomsDisqusted

        This point is not raised enough - the level of bugs in the major Nexus releases (e.g. 4.2 was terrible) is unacceptable for the average user.

        Google needs to add an option that would allow non-techie users to delay receiving major updates until the first bug-fix release.

  • heat361

    The thing is before JSS15Q my nexus 7s touch sensitivity was perfectly, no issues what so ever, but the update made touch sensitivity worse for me IMO.

    • Rick Desi

      Me too. Never had any touch issues until after the new update. I use a pattern unlock and need several attempts to unlock the screen. Arranging icons on the home screen is now a chore.

      • Chris Martinelli

        Hmmm... I had it, and JSS15Q fixed it. Perfect now... Maybe different part vendors for LCD/ touch components causing different issues on different units. Bummer.

      • A possible fan. . .

        And I also had a seemingly faultless experience, and was really enjoying the Nexus 7- 2 Then this update came and made the thing useless, I can't even navigate, type or get a reaction from the screen sometime; not to mention random zooming that won't be prompted to decrease. Where do we go to deal with this?

    • Chris Martinelli

      I had the issue... JSS15Q fixed it for me. Perfect now.

    • Bill

      I'm in the same boat: perfect performance before the "upgrade" and almost useless touch performance afterward. My old 2012 Nextbook worked better than my current Nexus 7.

  • brkshr

    It fixed one issue for me, but created another.

    • fzammetti

      Same here... typing on the keyboard no longer results in "multiple taps" where it shouldn't like before, but now, if I type too fast, it will essentially "lock up" until I give it a second (and by "typing too fast" I mean typing at the speed I normally would). No, it's not a specific keyboard because I've tried Google's, SwiftKey, Kii, Swype and one or two other lesser-known ones, it happens on them all. It's really just a bit of an annoyance now, not a dealbreaker, and otherwise the touchscreen seems fine, but that was true before the update too... it's always been keyboard issues for me, however relatively minor.

  • PhineasJW

    Nexus 7 2012 suffered from a horrible touch-screen driver. It was one of the reasons I was hesitant to buy the new one, even though I figured they'd never make the same mistake twice.

    And yet, here we are. Very surprising. Hopefully they can fix it in software.

  • Chris

    I haven't experienced any of this pre or post update...weird

  • Magneira

    after updating, does it cost to much to format and see if it fix?

    • EH101

      Factory data reset doesn't help and neither does flashing the JSS15Q image from Google's servers. I've tried this myself on two separate N7 FHDs. I assume that's what you meant by "format".

      • Magneira

        Yup, you are good in assuming... tks for the reply

  • j¤n Gårrëtt [5,000+]

    I wanted this tablet but now Im not so sure.

    • EH101

      Save yourself the headache. Wait a month or so until they have this sorted out. My 2nd one is about to go back for return or exchange, not sure which yet.

      • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

        Honestly, this is my standpoint on it, too. I want to get a 2013 N7 (already returned my first), but I'm not really willing to do it until I feel confident that I won't have to return it. I really wouldn't blame anybody for returning one if they even remotely suspect a hardware problem.

        • EH101

          I'm pretty sure it's a hardware issue resulting from separate manufacturers supplying the digitizer or another touch component. I'm mildly confident it can be fixed in software but only if Google has a way to know which tablets have which digitizer and then have the firmware select/receive the proper values during an update.

          I don't know enough about how Android updates work to know if that can even be done(custom values for hardware differences in a single device line utilizing a single update package). If not, I fear a lengthy repair process will be needed or, at the very least, different update packages for the different hardware versions.

          • http://www.androidpolice.com/author/cody-toombs/ Cody Toombs

            I can't give a definitive answer, but I'm almost certain it would be trivial to distinguish between two or more component manufacturers. Considering the hardware is capable of having the voltage levels adjusted in software, it seems highly likely that the component manufacturer/model number can be discerned at the software level, as well. It wouldn't be possible to distribute separate OTAs for each component manufacturer (if there are multiples), but it would be simple to send out drivers that suit all digitizers. or at least include a calibration app that handles the important configuration. However, we don't yet know if that is necessary. Unfortunately, there are no certainties in this particular issue, yet...

          • EH101

            Ah, a go-between calibration app. That would make the most sense both in discerning the model etc and in applying the values. Good thinking.

            As for a single set of drivers with built in values(lacking a go-between app), I think it's increasingly likely that will not be possible. The reasoning is the fact that while adjusting the values to make some defective models work, Google accidentally made others, that users claimed were perfect before, worse. This leads me to believe individual value setting will be necessary.

            I suppose we'll just have to wait and see. Good shooting the breeze with you, sir.

        • rmagruder

          It drives me nuts when it stops responding. Braking in Real Racing 3 is a lot of fun when you touch the brake and nothing happens! (Simulated brake failure! Part of "real racing!"). But I'm with you - I think somehow we have to wait until we know that the problem is hardware or software, and not just exchange units only to get the same problem all over again.

    • Below$550AShareIsPathetic!}:-D

      Buy it. You might get lucky enough to get a problem-free unit. If you don't want to spend much money on a tablet, you take your 50-50 chance.

  • Siamk

    I have this exactly the same problem in my HTC Sensation with AOSP roms. But stock rom never shows such behavior.

    • Simon Belmont

      I use an EVO 3D, which is very similar to a Sensation and never had issues with touch sensitivity on AOSP ROMs (CM9, CM10, CM10.1, CM10.2). It's likely that the Sensation's digitizer was different, though.

      Not saying you're fibbing here. Just saying my experiences are different.

  • Valentin Cuellar

    A bug I've been experiencing is when I plug in headphones and lay the tablet flat google now activates.

  • kamiller42

    Damn that Tegra chipset! Oh... wait.

    • Steve

      Don't think Tegra is all that bad myself. Nvidia has strong developer support for the devices that make them money. Who knows what's going on with this processor. Might not be the processor, but something else.

  • wowgivemeabreak

    I'd like to hope that Google will finally clue in and not let Asus make any future products since Asus flat out sucks for things like tablet and ultrabook quality control. I have read the Google forum thread and it sure seems most issues are hardware related and not software so it's on Asus yet again.

    I guess Asus offered them the cheapest price to make this and it'd be nice to know just how much lower their offer was compared to a company that may actually have a clue. You'd have thought the issues with the first n7 would have shown Google they needed to look elsewhere but the almighty dollar strikes again and now Google has a disaster on their hands.

    It's a shame there are these issues because I am itching to get one of these little beauties and upgrade from my first n7.

  • snpy

    The latest update caused my 2012 N7 to now have the multi-touch issues, even though it did not have the problems earlier. Anyone else seen this problem?

  • Matthew Fry

    Google has a horrible reputation with these devices. Be it the hardware or the software, Google is responsible for the end product and so far, it's left a bad taste in our mouths.

  • Below$550AShareIsPathetic!}:-D

    So what if the Nexus 7 is having touch problems. It's $100 cheaper than an iPad Mini so why should anyone complain. Besides, Google isn't a hardware company. They need to be cut some slack if their hardware uses sub–par components. Consumers get what they pay for. At that price it's not going to be a perfect product when the company (ASUS) is clearly cutting corners in manufacturing.

    Google is just testing the waters with their tablets and smartphones in preparation for Google Glass devices. They're not really committed as of yet. They can let consumers do the quality control end. Besides, I'm sure all the Android fanbois think this whole touch problem is being blown out of proportion and it probably is. Anyone who thinks they're having problems with the Nexus 7, you're probably touching it wrong. If that isn't the case then start a class-action suit against Google and good luck with that. Google's lawyers are unbeatable. Just keep downloading updates and you may get lucky. If not, quietly live with it.

    • Fair

      I don't think so. Just dump the crap and continue writing until either fixed or competition teaches google a lesson.

      In business, Google chosen it's supplier to manufacture the product and decides when to change them to get maximum profitability. Hence, Google should try to get it right or someone else will.

      Common sense.

  • Tomen8r

    I had No issues until I downloaded the q update. Story of my life. Roll back time.

  • eccles11

    Running CM nightlies, tried to reproduce the problem like the video. Must be specific units with this issue.

  • NEXI or NEXUSES

    My Nexus 7 works fine for the most part but it behaved strangely at times. I figured I might occasionally touch the screen with the edge of my hand or something but this makes more sense.

    I really hope they're able to fix it through a regular update. Mine is an import unit (an online store from my country imported them to get ahead of other stores) and I'm not quite sure how returns works when it's not actually released in my country yet.

  • stephen Reed

    My Nexus 7 2013 had a problem with GPS and this was fixed with the Q update. Just download the 5 finger touch screen test and I believe it works perfectly. Follows my fingers around. So I for one do not have any issues and love it.

  • Fair

    Hi everyone,

    Thank you for the information you posted here. It helped me make my decision to avoid google Nexus products ( I was eyeing for a new N7) and go to one of the competitors. Few dollars less or more, what is the point if it is not reliable.

    Thanks again.

  • vawwyakr

    Seems like these people should simply be given replacement devices. Be done with it! I am typing this on my Nexus 7, bought on launch day, which has zero problems. Clearly there were physical flaws with some of them and not for others. So just replace the flawed units. Why is this even an issue? Google and Asus should want the bad press to go away.

  • someone755

    All this sounds just like the gazillion issues the original N7 had. Battery, overheating, lag, screen lift etc.

  • Jimmy

    Mine stopped responding to any kind of touch. It still works if you plug a mouse via an OTG cable but no touchscreen gestures are available. Is that a hardware or a software issue. I don't want to sent it back and find out that it was fixable via a software update? Does anybody know about this?

  • WillowriseDoug

    I suppose I should feel fortunate, my n7 2013 has never had these problems. It is an amazing device.

  • Nicabod

    Google needs the advice of an experienced electronic engineer, imho.
    Here's how I see things: A capacitive touch sensor, quite likely, works with a transparent x-y array of conductors (with insulating crossovers, probably). It's quite likely that each row (or column) has its own sense amplifier. Working capacitance of a finger or stylus is probably a picofarad or so. The sense amplifiers have to be sensitive to changes of quite-small energy, probably in the picocoulomb/mV range. Also likely is that the other axis is sequentially pulsed. I had really lousy luck learning details online, though.

    Now, consider that humans can be static-charged to several kilovolts, easily. Electronic engineers are typically quite aware of static damage; manufacturers are religious about wrist and heel grounding straps. A human body, static-charged to 100 V will destroy most, if not all low-level circuits. If that human touches ground, s/he won't feel it. Anything below about 3 kV probably won't be felt. (I'm not referring to live circuits here! 42 V is about the most that's safe.)

    Now, consider what those tiny wee sense amplifiers do when a finger at a few 100 V pokes or slides -- the glass is a very good insulator, and doesn't discharge the human. The glass might develop patches of charge, and those could move erratically.
    A Nexus 7 2 no longer has the metal (metallized?) bezel, and its exterior is insulated. Seems to me that it's small wonder that the display can go bananas.

    Note that the charger has no 3rd prong on its plug, so it isn't really effective for grounding the tablet. Assuming the charger is properly designed, its output is well isolated from ground.

    You could try grounding yourself, maybe even using a wrist grounding strap temporarily. Try disconnecting the charger and holding a finger against the metal just inside the micro USB port. Maybe put an unwired stereo phone plug into the headphone jack. (Try Radio Shack.)

    I did think of coating the glass with an anti-static solution (from a bottle (^_^) ), but that just might degrade the touch sensor. Some liquid screen cleaners just might help.

    Maybe I'm barking up the wrong tree...

    +=+=+

    STYLUS WENT BAD!

    My lovely magic slab started to fail to respond to stylus pokes, and I was getting seriously worried. I could squash the little dome, even long press, and no response. Finally, in near desperation, I tried fingers, and Happiness Returned.

    Nice T***** brand stylus, but /the stylus had failed/!! Apparently the metal piece inside the dome had become disconnected electrically from the body. That /has/ to be a gas-tight, μV, dry circuit connection. Made no diff. whether or not I touched the top and pocket clip.
    Assuming the body tube is alumin[i]um alloy, the Al oxide finally prevailed.

    Fwiw, it seems really likely that the stylus couples capacitively to your fingers.

    +=+

    Other than the failed stylus, my magic slab's sensor has worked fine.
    CSSN is 08490039, SSN is D7OKBC309600.

    HTH,

    Nicabod
    Eastern Mass.
    Midnight hacker in 1960

  • Caio Vianna Lima Netto

    I own a 2012 nexus 7 and after the 4.3 update me too got all sorts of touch issues. Ghost touches can usually be solved by, as weird as it is, locating where it is and rubbing it as if cleaning some dust with your finger (or a reboot), but what annoys me most is that my touch screen will simply ignore all touches unless I am HOLDING the device (so much as putting my finger on the back is enough), which means using it flat out or in bed is now impossible.

    Seems like some weird stactic issue to me

  • herby

    i need help! my new nexus was working perfectly, until last night where the screen kept freezing, nowthe entire touchscreen isnt responding! the side buttons are working but its stuck on the lock screen and won respond to touch?? help!

  • nums

    http://forum.xda-developers.com/showthread.php?t=2428133

    Please see this thread. It has the fix for the multi-touch issue. It certainly resolved the problem to my nexus

    • kh5

      Thanks for that link! That solved the issues for me! I had a horizontal strip in the middle of the screen where touch would not work correctly, now that's gone.

  • Anthony Agovino

    We have a unique situation, I have the Nexus 7 (2013) and my wife has a Nexus 7 (2012). Before the update, mine was buggy with ghost touches and shutting down randomly, my wife's had no issues. Post update mine seems to be fine and hers is now buggy and shutting down randomly. Help, Google please.

  • Charles Bennett

    jss15q has made made my touchscreen maddeningly hypersensitive. Typing is nearly impossible

    Is there an open bug?

  • mike

    I'm getting the phantom key presses but they have not been a cause of concern for me. Its not a grounding issue for me. All it means is I need to backspace occasionally. No chance that I'll return it unless it gets really bad.

  • Diego

    Excuse Android Police, do you have any new response from Paul? Thank you.

  • BEN

    ASUS GOOGLE NEXUS 7 (2013) IS A VOICE CALLING TABLET OR NOT? IF ANYBODY KNOW THAT PROCEED THE FACT...........

  • http://www.risingupward.com/ Rose Garland Widell

    miinne. is just. about unusable. as you can see. too bad! it's awesome web ted. w. whenn. it. works

  • Wijaya Nexus

    updated my nexus 7,and my touchscreen still awfull,when playing game like wind runner
    i must except that sometimes (and it's often) my character won't jump :(

  • guillaume B

    My Nexus 7 2nd generation (2013) build JSS15R have ghost touch and multitouch problems when the device is unplugged to the computer or leave on a surface.
    the problems disappear when i hold the device in my hand or when the device is plugged to the computer.
    It's a hardware problem, I'll try to refund it.
    GOOGLE YOU HAVE TO MAKE A PUBLIC ANNOUNCEMENT.
    FUTURE CUSTOMERS DON'T BUY THIS TABLET !!!!

  • Romeo Masday

    I think that this application has a problem not the nexus. I tried this application to all of my devices and it's all showing delay in movement of pointer.

  • Altintop

    Mine is ok after the update BUT it randomly freezes for a couple of seconds....

  • nigel

    Sounds like the issue I'm having with my nexus 7 2013. Works OK if I hold the tablet. But no chance at all of unlocking with the unlock pattern wjen it's on the stand I bought or on a table.
    Seems to have got worse over the last month. Very annoying when you have to pick it up and put it back down just to tap on a pause, next page, confirm button etc.

    Is there an official site where I need to complain to Asus/Google?

    Sounds more like a hardware problem to me :-(

  • joe abeb

    I am a proud owner of a Nexus 7 2013 living in Ghana in West Africa. My sister sent me the Tablet from the USA and, because of the many complaints that have followed the release of the 2013 Nexus 7 Tablet, I have taken a very keen interest in the opinions expressed in various fora. Now, I have come to the conclusion that MOST of the touchscreen problems COULD probably to put down to AN OVERLY SENSITIVE touchscreen. What do others think? I am having problems typing most times and have realised that if I am not careful in typing, I tend to have repeated characters.

  • lovi

    Nexus 7, unresponsive touch screen .. just 70 days old .

  • Ian

    Thanks for the article keeping people updated - I was hoping to buy one but am not sure now. Do you have any updates on this? The more publicity the better :)

  • Martin Kolář

    Is there some update? Or official statement? I have this issue with 4.4.2.. I want to know they will resolve this ASAP.

    • http://momjian.us Bruce Momjian

      I think 4.4.3 might have fixed it. It has certainly improved the touch screen on my Nexus 7 2013. I just got the update today.

  • gamepixal

    Its gonna take longer for Google to fix this issue than when half life 3 is going to come out

  • Bonnie Fletcher

    I would like to comment on the grounding issue. I just purchased the nexus 7 2nd generation 4 days ago. i also had touchscreen issues. the touch screen would respond sometimes. very frustrating. i immediately googled the issue to see if anyone else was having similar problems. obviously they are. i talked to asus, they said they were unfamiliar with the touch screen issue. i replied "have you checked the web? it seems to have been an issue from day one." anyways i returned it and purchased a second one. it worked great the first day i had it. the next morning it was back to being unresponsive. i thought to myself what am i doing differently today that i didn't do yesterday? well, i did not have it in a case the day before so i was holding it. hmmmm... i remembered reading about a possible grounding issue. sure enough that was the problem. i can stand it in its case on the desk and it will work 100% of the time as long as my left hand is touching the tablet while using the touch screen with my right hand. it will also work 100% of the time while charging without my other hand having contact with it. my opinion is it needs to be recalled. i'm going to exchange it again and hope i get a good one but if it has the same issue i'm gonna stick with the 1st generation nexus which works fine. its too bad that asus is not addressing this issue. this is a great tablet with great specs but who wants a defective device from day one?

    • Martin Kolář

      I returned this defective device and bought LG G Pad 8.3... It's bad to have buggy main feature. I belive this must be a hardware issue. My video: http://youtu.be/s_wmnt6CYK0

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