A lingering Samsung Galaxy Note 3 problem continues to drive AT&T users crazy ahead of the carrier’s Galaxy Note 3 Android 4.4 KitKat update, an update that could potentially bring a permanent fix to those that don’t want to root.
Last October, AT&T released the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, the company’s replacement for the Galaxy Note 2. The device arrived with a ton of upgrades including better hardware and improved software including new features for the device’s S Pen stylus that comes bundled with the flagship.
The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is a solid smartphone, one of the best smartphones found on any carrier, let alone AT&T. However, there is an issue on board the AT&T Galaxy Note 3 that is driving current users crazy. It’s also an issue that consumers need to be aware of before buying AT&T’s version of the Galaxy Note 3.
From November on, we’ve heard complaints about a GPS issue on board the AT&T version of the Galaxy Note 3. We’ve detailed the issue several times though we have never called it out in a piece of its own. Today, we’re doing just that in an attempt to bring attention to a problem that has been lingering for more than 150 days.
GPS is one of the most basic features of any smartphone. It’s also a feature that many smartphone users have come to depend on on a daily basis, particularly when traveling. So, it’s easy to see why this issue is so troubling to owners of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3 on AT&T. Here is how one AT&T Galaxy Note 3 owner describes the GPS problem:
GPS SIGNAL LOST – Problem occurs when phone switches network, like from 4G LTE to 4G and/or the charger is plugged or unplugged from the phone. Your phone switches from 4G LTE to 4G every time you receive a phone call or make a phone so that’s why some of you lose GPS signal when you receive a phone call.
In other words, Galaxy Note 3 owners on AT&T can’t depend on their smartphone to provide them with a accurate and reliable GPS signal, something that most smartphone owners take for granted.
Users Are Fed Up
There is a lengthy thread on AT&T’s discussion forum where those dealing with the problem have been venting their frustrations. Some claim to have contacted the FCC, others claim to have contacted AT&T and Samsung. In fact, the problem has gotten so bad that one Galaxy Note 3 owner dealing with the problem has started a petition on Change.org.
Travis Clay, who started the petition, shares his biggest concerns with Gotta Be Mobile. Among them, he’s frustrated with the silence from AT&T, the fact that it has taken 166 days and counting to fix the issue, and the fact that AT&T is still selling the device without alerting customers or its employees on the front lines.
AT&T is aware of the GPS issue affecting its Galaxy Note 3 and it has said that it’s working to identify a fix for the problem. The carrier said back in February that it would release a software update with the fix in the near future though it was careful not to reveal how or when the fix would arrive.
@BaeckerX1 We’ve been working to identify a solution, Brandon. We’ll release a software update soon w/ the fix. Thanks for your patience!
— AT&T (@ATT) February 28, 2014
All signs point an arrival on board Android 4.4 KitKat, an update that has already landed for three Galaxy Note 3 models in the U.S. and should be hitting the AT&T Galaxy Note 3 in the near future. The carrier refuses to confirm whether or not the fix will be on board its next major update for the Galaxy Note 3.
Those who don’t want to wait and see have another option at their disposal. XDA-Developer forum member superbfox has come up with a workaround for the issue that involves rooting the phone and replacing the GPS files on board the AT&T Galaxy Note 3 with files from the international Galaxy Note 3. The files work because other Galaxy Note 3 models don’t appear to be affected by the problem.
For now, this is the only permanent fix for an issue that has been driving some AT&T Samsung Galaxy Note 3 owners for around five and a half months.
Consumers desperately want an official fix from AT&T, but like many problems before it, they must wait. American carriers like AT&T are known for rigorously testing any Android updates to make sure no other problems are introduced. Rather than roll out small bug fixes every month, carriers bundle them together, often with a major Android update.
All AT&T Galaxy Note 3 owners (who refuse to root) can do now is cross their fingers and hope that AT&T delivers with its upcoming Android 4.4 KitKat update.