Friday, December 23, 2011

Android Tablet Update Woes

While this comes during what might be my last few weeks as an Android tablet user (I see an iPad on the horizon!), this annoying little problem wasted a crap-ton of bandwidth and time before I figured out how to fix it.

I've got the Acer Iconia 500 tablet. I hadn't used it in a month or so. (It got buried under some mail). I dug it out the other day so I could load my new SitePoint books onto it.

Sidebar - their Christmas sale is fantastic and it's almost over! You can get a bunch of their ebooks super cheap (and their books are fantastic). See this - SitePoint Christmas Sale.

When I booted up the tablet, it said there was a system update, to 7.006.01 (not sure if this is relevant, but just in case....). Coolio. Go.

400MB later, I noticed that the update didn't install, and instead, started downloading itself all over again. Wha?? Hmm. Maybe there are 2 downloads. I let it go.

400MB later, I noticed that again the update didn't install, and again, it started downloading itself all over again. Really? Can this be right? OK. I'm going to try one more time.

400MB later, I gave up and went to bed.

The next day, I tried again, and (you see where this is going), again, the tablet downloaded the entire 400MB then started all over again.

(How many times can I type "again" in one post?)

The fix: go into the tablet settings and set the screen timeout to the maximum possible (30 minutes).

I know what you're thinking. "What does the screen timeout have to do with installing a system update?" (That's what I thought, anyway).

Apparently, when the download completes, if the screen is asleep, the install screen will not appear and the download goes into an infinite loop.

Bummer for anybody that doesn't happen to notice it! That's a lotta wasted bits and bytes, Batman. Hope you're not on metered bandwidth!

Thankfully, with the screen on, upon completion the download of my 5th or so attempt at the update, the install screen appeared and I was able to continue on my merry way.

Coincidentally, these updates also fixed another problem I was having. I was unable to get the Android file manager to see any files on my tablet (so that I could copy my ebooks from my iMac to the tablet). Don't get me started on how crappy the support and options are for syncing Android tablets to the Mac platform.

The moral of the story is: I should get an iPad. :)