A Frustrating Problem with Google PlayStore

I have been an android phone user since android came on the scene and have never felt the need to move to other platforms. There are times when Android tested my patience a little too much, but yet, I remained loyal.My devices got the Lollipop update last, yet I remained loyal. But recently, I got very close to ditching the android problem in the face of a very frustrating problem that me and some of my fellow blogger friends encountered. Let us discuss this today.

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Here is how I encountered the problem. I keep getting review handsets from various manufacturers or their PR representatives. In this instance, I got one handset from ASUS, One from Xiaomi and I already had a Motorola. My wife uses a Samsung mobile and a Samsung Tablet, My son uses a Micromax phone and a Digiflip Tablet. We also have a Desktop PC and a Laptop connected to the WiFi at home. There is also a Chromecast device connected to the same WLAN at home.

On this day when I got the ASUS Phone first, I booted it up and tried to update all the apps after connecting my Google ID to it. None of the apps were getting updated and no new apps were getting downloaded from the play store. I tried to open gmail and the app told me to update Google play services for it to run.

I went to Google play and tried to update it. No luck, just like other apps, it started to download and never ever completed download, after a few minutes the download indicator in the notification area disappeared. This was frustrating.  I formatted the phone and tried again. Same status! I thought there was something wrong with the phone and switched it off.

Now I picked up the Xiaomi, same thing happened! I was getting totally alarmed by now. I posted this on facebook and some of my friends came forward to help me. I will not list out the suggestions they gave and the results of trying those out.

  1. Stop and Start Google Play – tried – no change
  2. Remove Google account, stop Google play, restart phone – tried – no change
  3. Google play is updating, give it a high speed data connection and wait – tried – no change
  4. Stop the sub-processes that Google Play services starts, clear cache – tried – no change
  5. Switch off all other devices and keep one phone on – tried – no change
  6. Return the phone and get a new one – tried – no change
  7. Change DNS to 8.8.8.8 and 8.8.4.4 – tried – no change

At this point, I was losing patience and started thinking about disastrous steps like flashing a custom ROM on a brand new handset, but then what if even that failed? My friends convinced me against it. So then me and my wife started analyzing step by step what went wrong and arrived at one place. Google Play was identifying packages that needed updates and even starting the download of the packages very correctly. It is after the downloads begin that the things were going wrong. Also, all brands and all OS versions were having the issue. So we decided that it is not the phones. It is either the TCP/IP stack or the Google Play component misbehaving.

We then decided to see what the router was doing. After that analysis, we had an idea that shifting the phones from DHCP to Static IP and see what happens. So we made all the phones forget their WiFi connection and gave them all static IP addresses. Presto! The problem vanished and all was fine!

But here is the problem I have with this workaround and the issue on the whole

  1. If DHCP was the issue, how did the phones work fine all the time?
  2. What happened when one new phone was added to the DHCP pool that all the phones went wonky?
  3. What happens when phones are in a network where Static IP addresses cannot be assigned?
  4. Where is the Google Play Service documentation that lists out possible issues like this?

Let me know if you find out! “I am waiting!”