Android phones: “Update to Skype, which accessed the camera from its background services”

Skype_VideoBy Liam Tung

If you’ve noticed that your smartphone has been suffering battery woes since upgrading to KitKat, you’re not alone. A bug in a background program that controls KitKat devices’ cameras, known as ‘mm-qcamera-daemon’, looks to be behind a spate of Android 4.4.2-powered hardware rapidly losing power or overheating.

Over the past week, hundreds of Nexus 5 and other Android device owners have reported on the Android Open Source Project’s Issue Tracker that the software recently started consuming as much as half of a device’s battery, and in some cases also causing overheating.

Google has, in the past 48 hours, confirmed that it had identified the relevant bugs behind the problem and will issue a fix for them in a maintenance update for its own Nexus line of devices. However, it hasn’t said when that will be released, and also advised owners of non-Nexus Android devices affected by the bug to contact their hardware manufacturer for a fix.

“High power drain on non-Nexus devices is not something we can help with. If you have a Note, or any other non-Nexus device, you’ll have to reach out to your manufacturer,” a Google AOSP project member wrote.

Some Samsung Galaxy Note 3 owners running Android 4.3 also complained of similar battery draining issues caused by the daemon.

“While the camera daemon process is named the same on many devices that use a Qualcomm chip for camera support, the code in it will be very different, as it is heavily customised for each device. Fixes for one device do not apply to others directly,” the Google AOSP project member said.

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