Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Google Voice for Android: Another Crappy Update from Google

Google Voice version 0.4.2.54 (on the phone displayed as 40254) for Android version 1.6 is broken.

Applying the update or installing fresh (doesn't really matter) makes Google Voice completely unusable as it cannot even start and gives the following message:
Sorry! The application Google Voice (process com.google.android.apps.googlevoice) has stopped unexpectedly. Please try again.
The button below the message says: "Force close", but it doesn't do anything: the application continues trying to start and crashes, so the above message keeps popping up forever. The only way to get out of this loop is to shut down the phone.

The bug is so obvious that I see only one explanation why it hasn't been caught: nobody even bothered to test the update on Android 1.6. Apparently, for a business giant whose software runs on over 330 million devices, measly one million users or so that might be affected by the bug (reportedly, only 0.3% of Android devices are still running Android 1.6 Donut) are totally irrelevant. Why even bother?!

Ok. Since, most likely, you are reading this in order to learn how to fix the problem, I will cut the rant now.


So, here is the fix:

1. Uninstall Google Voice version 0.4.2.54:
Settings - Applications - Manage applications - Google Voice. Press the "Uninstall" button, then the "Ok" button on the confirmation screen. The message "Uninstall finished" should appear almost immediately. Acknowledge it by pressing the "Ok" button.

2. Download version 0.4.2.38 of Google Voice from freewarelovers.com to your computer. Copy the file com.google.android.apps.googlevoice.apk to your SD card (it does not really matter where on the card you put it).

3. Enable "unknown sources":
Settings - Applications. Check the "Unknown sources" check box. When a warning message pops up, press the "OK" button.

4. Install the downloaded version using Apps Installer (if you do not have Apps Installer by ModMyMobile.com, see the note further down):
Start Apps Installer. It will scan the SD card for installation packages (.apk files) and should find the com.google.android.apps.googlevoice.apk file you have just copied. Press com.google.android.apps.googlevoice. On the next screen, press the "Install" button. Wait for the "Application installed" message. Then, press "Open".

5. Configure Google Voice:
Just follow the prompts.

6. Disable "unknown sources":
Settings - Applications. Uncheck the "Unknown sources" check box.


Note:

There are several reliable ways to install an app from a local .apk file. Using Apps Installer by ModMyMobile.com seems to be the most user-friendly. Just search for it in Android Market and install like any other app. Tip: search for "Apps Installer" with quotation marks or the search will return an insane number of results.

Also, note that, once installed manually, an application can be updated only manually (i.e., you will have to install a newer version from a local .apk file on top of the older one). Alternatively, when/if a version with the fix is released, you can uninstall the manually installed version completely and install the most recent one from Android Market.

The above procedure can be used to install and uninstall any application on an Android phone. There is one little thing I would like to point out though. There are some Google applications that are shipped together with the operating system, for example Google Maps (well, on Android it is actually called Maps). If you go to the Application Management console (Settings - Applications - Manage applications) and then select such an application, you will see that, instead of the "Uninstall" button, there is an "Uninstall updates" button. Contrary to what one might expect, this button does not revert to the previous version of the application. Instead, it reverts to the original version shipped with the OS. That's OK. You should be able to install any later version on top of the original just as described above.


P.S. A very similar bug was in Maps version 5.6.0 about two years ago or so. Again, the only fix was to uninstall (well, actually, in this case - to revert to the original version shipped with the Android OS) and then manually revert to version 5.5.0 (actually, in this case - install version 5.5.0 on top of the original version that had been shipped with the OS). I just didn't have time to write it up back then. The bug was fixed in version 5.6.2, which, as far as I can remember, took at least a few months.

4 comments:

Anonymous said...

YOU ARE THE BEST!!! WORKS PERFECT ON MY HTC G1 VERSION 1.6. !!!!

IP said...

Glad to have helped.

Jean said...

Thank you so much! I've been putting up with this problem for months & months. I'm so happy to have it working again.

IP said...

You are welcome, Jean.