After accidentally leaving December 2012 out of its Android People app, Google engineers are scrambling to fix the error and get December back into the app through a patch for Android 4.2.
The missing month doesn’t affect Android’s calendar app, but makes it impossible for users to put birthdays, anniversaries and other important dates into their Android People application, according to a post by the Android team on Google+.
“We discovered a bug in the Android 4.2 update, which makes it impossible to enter December events in optional fields of the People app (this bug did not affect Calendar),” the Google+ post said. “Rest assured, this will be fixed soon so that those of you with December birthdays and anniversaries won’t be forgotten by your friends and family.”
The bug actually appears to have been first reported by Android users in the Android Forums Nov. 14. The first complaint on that date was from a user who “noticed that the December month is missing.”
Many others posted similar comments and complaints.
In response to the Android Google+ post, many users there also commented about the misplaced month.
Rainer Diabl wrote that he “feared [he’d] forget Christmas, so [he] reinstalled 4.1” on his Android devices.
Claudy Roman cautioned that Google had better get the fix completed and issued soon because “it’s almost December.”
Another Android user, Greg Clarke, thanked Google for admitting to the issue and getting the word out about a coming fix. “Thanks for the update on this—it is always better to acknowledge and update customers rather than stay silent.”
Ran Bar-Levi agreed. “A quick response is all we can ask for,” he wrote.
And of course, there was a comedian in the mix. “Oh damn, if that is not fixed soon, how am I supposed to create the Doomsday event this December!” wrote Nikhil Lele.
André Barges, however, said that correcting the missing month is not enough. “That’s nice,” he wrote, “but please fix all the other bugs, too. And an option to turn off the lockscreen-widgets would be great.”
Another Android user, John McKenzie, faulted Google for not knowing about the flaw in the first place. “To be fair the point is YOU didn’t discover it, the public did and your QA team missed it,” he wrote.
Nathan Weber was philosophical about the glitch. “Wow, talk about a built-in deadline,” he wrote. “Best of luck guys.”
Several other users wrote that they hope the upcoming People app fix will straighten out other issues as well. “Hopefully, this update will also address the random reboots on my Nexus 10 as well,” wrote Dave Berthiaume.
“Nice to know, but the December bug isn’t nearly as bad as all of the random restarts and freezes also in 4.2,” wrote Darrin Willems.
The missing December 2012 in Android’s People app is a small glitch in what has been a very good year for Android.
A research study released Nov. 1 by IDC showed that Android was the operating system of choice on 75 percent of the 181.1 million smartphones that shipped around the world in the third quarter. That number is five times the 14.9 percent market share of Apple’s iOS for the same period.
The IDC report shows remarkable progress for the four-year-old Android OS against competition that includes the widely popular Apple iOS, a drastically smaller BlackBerry market, Microsoft’s multiple Windows Phone efforts and the rest of a straggling field.
Android was on 136 million smartphones shipped in the quarter, compared with 26.9 million smartphones shipped by Apple, according to the report. For Android, that was a 91.5 percent year-over-year jump from the 71 million Android smartphones shipped in the same quarter one year ago. Apple’s iOS was the only other mobile operating system to have a double-digit market share for the quarter. Research In Motion’s BlackBerry OS shipped on 7.7 million smartphones in the quarter, while Symbian shipped on 4.1 million units, according to IDC. Windows Phone 7 or Windows Mobile shipped on 3.6 million devices, while Linux shipped on 2.8 million units.
Android use has been going through the roof worldwide. In fact, Android hit 500 million device activations overall in mid-September, just as Apple’s latest iPhone 5 was about to launch.
The U.S. market for feature-rich smartphones is still expanding at a rapid clip, with two-thirds of new mobile phone buyers opting for devices that can do far more than their old-style flip phones, according to a study from Nielsen released in July. Google’s Android operating system is the beneficiary of this surge, although the iPhone still holds sway.