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Background sync woes plague Android owners

As much as I love Android, I can't help but think that we're all part of some large beta-testing project from Google.

A handful of users are reporting data connection problems with their Google Android handsets. While a few have indicated their applications have been stuck on "starting download," others are complaining of background data not synchronizing properly.

Background data can include Gmail, contacts, and calendar entries. As I read through the various comments, I can't find any one specific pattern or handset to blame. Is it related to the Nexus One or does it come from any particular version of Android? Is any one carrier to blame? For all of these questions, the answer is no.

A few folks have found that simply canceling the download and trying again seems to work. For others, they're still in limbo after trying some extensive troubleshooting. Depending on the issue, they've tried disabling background data sync, logging out of Google Talk, and even doing a factory reset. As one can imagine, this is aggravating to these new Android users.

None of these issues are necessarily new, as I've run into almost all of them at some point of another. For example, there have been plenty of instances over the last year and a half when I would have to power cycle my G1, cancel and restart downloads, or wait things out.

As much as I love Android, I can't help but think that we're all part of some large beta-testing project from Google. I'd really like to say that my overall experience has been flawless and that things work as intended every time. Unfortunately, though, that isn't true. As an Android owner from day one, I've come to expect these problems. But do I tell the new Droid and Nexus One owners this? Of course not.

Google has taken some positive steps in terms of Nexus One support and customer service. They recently lowered the early return fee from $350 down to $150 and enabled a phone support line. It's clear to me that there's plenty left to do if they hope to be viewed favorably by the masses.

Being that nearly everything Google does rests in the cloud, and we're talking about multiple carriers and various types of networks, things like this are bound to happen. While Android is on the fast track to being among the top mobile platforms, problems like background sync will only slow its growth. As I said above, these are not new problems, but the spotlight on them grows with each new handset and carrier.