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Nexus 4, 5, and Nexus 7 2 Android 4.4 KitKat Bluetooth Problems: How to Fix

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By Precious Silva | January 7, 2014 4:09 PM EST

Nexus devices like Nexus 4, Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 2 reportedly experience Bluetooth issues. While the Nexus line has been famous for their performance and affordable price, users complain about connectivity issues. According to recent reports, the most affected devices regarding Bluetooth are the ones mentioned. How should users address them? 

Reuters
A Google Android figurine sits on the welcome desk as employee Tracy McNeilly smiles at the new Google office in Toronto, November 13, 2012.

In the early days, there were already reports about Bluetooth problems on Android devices. Android uses a protocol stack referred as BlueZ. Qualcomm developed the protocol for Linux. However, it was not executed well -- BlueZ lacked features. It somehow limited people from getting excellent connectivity. Consequently, the technology was succeeded by Bluedroid. It came with Android 4.2 under the partnership of Broadcom and Google. 

Initially, there were bugs, but Google addressed these issues. However, with the release of Android 4.4 KitKat, some dormant but major issues came back to life. Google and Broadcom developed Bluedroid to ensure additional features on Android's bluetooth platform would be convenient. It was on the right track, especially with Bluetooth Low Energy and AVRCP 1.3 on Android 4.3. 

However, when Android 4.4 KitKat was introduced, it brought a number of new profiles with it, and consequently, activities based on the Bluedroid code started having problems. Nevertheless, these problems do not affect all Android users; but it could be frustrating for those using Nexus. 

Nexus 5, Nexus 4 and Nexus 7 (2013) Android 4.4 Bluetooth Issues 

Nexus users began complaining about the Bluetooth issue following the Android 4.4 KitKat update. According to users, they come across inconsistent volume settings. Nexus users also point out those Bluetooth devices with maximum volume settings cannot be brought down. Others, on other hand, say volume settings are delayed and laggy. When users try to lower the volume down, it goes up or vice versa. 

Users complain about bad audio quality as well. There are people saying they have poor audio output generally, including echoes. The problem seems isolated to calls. Playback controls for Bluetooth speakers and headsets are also unresponsive under Android 4.4. The buttons do not work and hinder users from working with their devices properly. 

There are also reports of Bluetooth connections dropping then reconnecting after a few seconds. The problem seems recurrent. There are also sources saying the problems are mostly persistent among Nexus 4, Nexus 5 and Nexus 7 devices. The complaints were also related to devices running with Qualcomm chipsets. The chipset may not be filtering out the noise and may be going through driver issues to add to the problem.

However, people can try the following quick solutions:

  1. Some users reported that disabling the 5GHz WiFi band can fix the issue. This solution suggests that there may be radio interference with WiFi and Bluetooth connections.
  2. There are also sources saying that users should look into some code governing power management. Users note that problems occur around the same time the screen powers off due to inactivity.

While there are not many solutions, users can also try unpairing and repairing their devices. People will have to wait for Google to address the issues further.

To contact the editor, e-mail:

(Photo: Reuters / )
A Google Android figurine sits on the welcome desk as employee Tracy McNeilly smiles at the new Google office in Toronto, November 13, 2012.
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