Google’s Pixel phones just can’t seem to catch a break, though this latest case almost gives it a literal one. Although highly praised for their pure Android (as far as Google is concerned, that is) experience and photography chops, every generation of the Pixel has been met with one hardware issue after another. Just a few months short of its first birthday, it seems that the Pixel 4 XL isn’t able to escape that curse after all and the cause of its structural problem might actually be even worse than the problem itself.
You have probably heard from numerous teardowns how smartphones have become more difficult to pry open these days. The Pixel 4 XL seems to be an exception but no in a good way. According to some users, the glass back of their phones has started coming off, first at the corner before it worsens across the edges of the device.
Some might presume that it’s simply a case of some weak glue that is loosening up from some inordinate amount of heat after using the phone too much. That’s a plausible theory but a rather scarier explanation was offered by someone on Reddit claiming to be a General Manager of a uBreakiFix store, one of Google’s partners for repairing its Pixel phones.
According to this technician, the Pixel 4 XL has a known (to them and Google) issue with fragile battery connectors that break apart even with normal use. This, in turn, is causing the battery to swell enough to push the glass panel up. That despite the usually strong adhesive keeping it in place. If that’s really the case, then affected users have to worry about more than just a loosening back cover.
A bloating battery inside a smartphone isn’t unheard of, especially after years of intensive use. It isn’t, however, common especially in a phone that was launched just last October. Google has yet to respond both to the reports as well as the allegation but it isn’t looking good for the Pixel brand, especially when the Pixel 4a is already late and the Pixel 5 is expected to be rather a bit underwhelming.