Canadian Nexus S Handsets Experiencing Annoying Search Bug


A peculiar problem has been pestering Canadian Nexus S owners, particularly those with the phone tied to Rogers’ network. The phone will randomly launch functions normally associated with the search softkey without ever laying a finger on the capacitive button. This has the rather annoying effect of launching the search box or voice search randomly during normal use of the phone, across apps, and without any clear reason why. What sounds harmless at first actually looks quite irritating as demonstrated in the video below.

A rather lengthy thread has cropped up at the Google Mobile Help Forum, with some 500 responses corroborating the claims. The issue seems exclusive to Canadian Nexus S users and it has been suggested that the bug is tied to the phone’s data connection or signal strength in some way. The first complaint was posted back in April, and June 3rd brought word that the problem had been pinpointed and a fix was on the way. Now over a month and 300 replies later, a fix has not reached Canadian Nexus S handsets and Google support gurus have been absent from the thread.

At its worst this bug renders the Nexus S basically unusable, a pretty serious issue that you would think would deserve immediate attention from Google, but still many are left dealing with the unresolved issue. Any readers up north experiencing similar stresses?

[via Google Mobile Help Forum]

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  1. I haven’t had this problem. I have the Koodo Mobile version (they’re all the same except for the radio and booklets in the box) and I’m with Telus.

    I have however experienced a far more significant issue. I woke up this last saturday morning to find that it has no network connection (not WiFi, WiFi works fine). I had tried everything I could think of to try and get it to work. I did a hard reset, I reflashed the stock image, I tried all the settings in *#*#4636#*#* and I tried entering airplane mode then turning it off, etc. Nothing worked.

    My phone is on it’s way now to Samsung for warranty repair. No, I didn’t buy a product service plan at BestBuy.

    Unlike the issue in this article, my issue seems to be extremely rare and not specific to Android. It’s most likely a faulty radio.

    1. Same problem. Mine also affects my back button! I’m on a Rogers / Telus phone on ATT network in the US. Sounds like warranty service will be almost impossible for those south of the border.

  2. I have a canadian handset and no problems…

  3. If someone told me a few years ago that if he holds his phone in a certain angle it will do something automatically that it shouldn’t.. I would have laughed at him. We are living in great times. :)

  4. I have a Koodo Nexus S running on the Bell network, and I’ve had this issue pop up a couple of times. Maybe two to three times a month. I’ve had it while running the stock OS as well as with Cyanogenmod 7.

  5. This is the first step of the machines taking over the world.

  6. I went camping up near North Bay over the weekend and experienced this problem for the first time. It only happened when I was driving in areas with little to no coverage and the phone was constantly handing off to distant towers with low signal. When I got into a populated area with good coverage I was fine. I was using navigation at the time so was heavily relying on the data connection. I was fine as soon as I got in range of a town or other area that was populated but as soon as I left the town it went wonky again.

    I’m on Telus, so it’s not definately not carrier specific….

  7. I agree with signal may be the cause. This happens when in my elevator or second level parking garage where signal is nill or 1 bar. Had it since day one, exchange it to a new hardware and still the same. Mustbe software plus weak signal combo.

  8. No, I am in Canada on Rogers with the Nexus S and I haven’t experianced this once.

    1. lucky you. it’s happening to me every 5 secon 3G

  9. Ill spell out the problem for you. S-A-M-S-U-N-G

  10. I have experienced this, but with my Samsung Galaxy S on Rogers. Quite annoying. But it doesn’t happen very often, only a couple times.

  11. Got the issue here only during spotty coverage so the phone is stilll somewhat useable… I’m on Fido (Rogers) in Montreal.
    I’m sure this is just some sort of spyware embedded in the phone so I wouldn’t really worry about it… the good boys at google willl find a way to make it unnoticable in due time..
    One other thing it drains the battery ….sometimes in 1 day….even if you’re not doing anything at all… strange indeed.

  12. same kind of problem in france with Virgin Mobile network with a slcd nexus s

  13. Changing the position of the phone affects the 3G reception which is what causes the problem to appear.

  14. Changing the position of the phone affects the 3G signal which causes the glitch to happen.

  15. Canada, Telus, had the phone/problem since April.

    Google/Samsung need to get their act together and compensate the affected users. ASAP.

  16. same problem here nexus s with rogers canada

  17. I have the same issue. Mine is an i9020A model (AT&T 3G bands) and the issue is not tied to a carrier, it relates with using 3G on your phone.

    Someone did a YT video of it. Is no joke the phone is completely useless!


  18. I have a Captivate for AT&T and it does the same thing. Mine is a pre-release test phone. I always thought it was a hardware defect. It happens more often on stock firmware than ROMs, but still can. I’ve never actually noticed or paid attention to the signal and it doing it then, I’ll try to watch that. I have noticed that the phone is usually running hot when it does it though. But nothing related to phone angle, that doesn’t matter one bit. Strange…
    I hate the button because of that and never use it just so it doesn’t start acting up because I touched it.

    (Having to make a login (or just login) to post a comment is the gayest thing ever. I don’t comment on this site anymore because of this.)

  19. I’ve had a slightly different but similar problem with with the home button. Sometimes it just goes dim and recognizes a long press. Have tried and tried to recreate the glitch and it seems totally sporadic and random but signal strength could be related I guess…On Rogers with a Nexus S since May

  20. I had this issue with my 2 NS’s as well, one took a new rom (oxygen) to cure and the other one I had to flash a new radio (KB3) all is fine now. From what I have read it is definitely a bug with the radio.

    And what took you guys so long to find this? lol

  21. Google says that it is a software issue and that a fix is forthcoming. However, they have been saying that for over a month now. Come on Google, get your *&$% together!

  22. I have this problem as well.

    Originally I bought a Nexus S from a koodo booth and it was working just fine. It came with 2.3.4 and the older radio I think. No issues.

    However I ended up returning it and buying another Nexus S from FutureShop (my previous phone was stolen but I had the warranty, so by re-buying the NS at FS I could xfer my warranty to it).

    The One I got at FutureShop had 2.3.3 and I updated to 2.3.4. It has the newer radio and I get this bug like mad depending where I am. it’s definitely been linked to the signal and radio. Turning off data stops the problem. SUPER annoying.

  23. Movement does not cause the glitch, it is the strength of the 3G connection. If there is no 3G available, say up north or out east, then you won’t have the problem. Some techies at Rogers know about it, Google has known about it since April. Resetting your phone to factory settings does absolutely nothing to get rid of the issue. If someone advises you to use Samsung Kies to back up your phone before resetting it, don’t bother, the Nexus S isn’t compatible with Kies software. Only solution is to use 2G network only, and badmouth Google at every opportunity until they decided to get off their asses and escalate this to a point where we get a fix. It is widely believed to be a google software bug.

  24. I have experienced the same problem using the White Nexus S on the ATT network. Thought I was alone in this.

  25. Please refer to this link for an expanded view of my Nexus S issues and those of a number of other Canadian users:


    Since about June 28/11, unwanted Voice Search has been popping up on my Nexus S whenever I’m on a 3G network. It’ll prompt “Speak Now”; then “No Speech Heard”; then a text search keyboard will appear; then “Speak Now”, etc. and then “Audio Problem”, or sometimes “Server Problem”. Sometimes these popups cycle through at about 1 per second, which totally prevents me texting, or doing a real search in Google. If I’m in Navigation, the Voice Search will sometimes pick up the Navigator annunciator and do a google search on that string of words. If I’m in Google Earth, it will sometimes not even load because of the rapid sequence of phoney Voice Search pages.

    The Telus store in Bayers Lake Park, Halifax, suggested I do a factory reset. Done. No difference; in fact, when I came to restore the phone settings by resynching from gmail, the process was constantly bombarded with Voice Search pages, and proceeded at a snail’s pace as a result.

    Removed the battery and reinstalled it. No difference.

    I use “haptic response” (buzz), and when the phoney voice search is in progress, the machine is buzzing as often as once every second. This of course drains the battery rapidly. During a 40 minute 3G session last night, Voice Search accounted for 16% of battery usage, and all of that was spontaneous Voice Search — I never use it.

    Initially, my phone was okay, and navigated me flawlessly in Halifax, Ottawa, Sault Ste Marie, and on the AT&T n/w in the US, through Minneapolis, without one interruption by Voice Search. Problems began in Regina, SK on the 28th of June, and have continued ever since.

    Some writers have postulated that it is a baseband problem (…KD1 is bad; …KB3 is good), or an Android OS problem. I can’t reflash to change the baseband, as my phone is Telus-ized for 6 months.

    Some say Gingerbread updates are implicated. I’ve been on 2.3.4 since early June, and hadn’t noticed anything unusual until June 28 while trying to navigate in Regina.

    Some say being in an area of fringe 3G reception is when the worst interruptions occur, but I often experience my worst (continual interruptions by Voice Search, and repeated flashing of the search key) with 3 of 4 green bars and a green 3G symbol.

    Google say they will have an update to address the problem at some unspecified time in the future, but I don’t have much hope, after viewing the forum in the link above.


  26. There is an app in the market called nexus s search bug that can help with the long press.

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