LONG POST ALERT, continue at your own peril

A couple of months ago the long anticipated KitKat OTA was pushed on my stock Razr M. Having gone through flawless major and minor upgrades all the way from the original ICS with which the phone came, I was not really worried (if I only knew...). It has to be noted that I never did a FDR after any of the other upgrades and never had any issues.

First thing that did not go as expected happened right after reboot, once the OTA upgrade process was completed. I got this never before seen warning: "System UIDs inconsistent: UIDs on the system are inconsistent, you need to wipe your data partition or your device will be unstable". Ironically, the message window had the Google trademark note "I'm feeling lucky". Not really, I guess...

At any rate, the phone appeared to work fine, the only strange thing I noticed was that the "Calendar" icon had been replaced by one with the Android robot and when I tapped on it I got the message "This application is not installed". I solved the problem just deleting the icon and dragging to my home screen the Calendar icon from the app list. I figured that had been the reason for the weird "inconsistent UIDs" and did not give the incident other thoughts.

Fast forward to last week, when I decided to do a FDR, as the phone was acting a little weird and battery life did not seem that great any longer. Plus, as I mentioned, I had never done it in the almost two years I have had the phone, I figured a little clean-up and a fresh start could only help.

Did first a FDR from the setting menu, then after reboot I rebooted again in recovery and did another "wipe" from there, just to be sure, twice...

Once I re-initialized the phone with my Google account, almost all of my apps got automatically re-installed, so far so good.

Once I open one of the apps I use as ebook reader, Moon Reader, first surprise: it tells me I cannot select as main directory one on the SD card because in KitKat Google has blocked writing access to it. WHAT!!!???? I had been using the phone after the KitKat upgrade with the ebook in the same directory I was now trying to select. Why only now after the FDR it became an issue, I could not tell. At the end I could only copy my ebook to a directory on Internal and be done with it. Annoying, but really a big deal, I do not have that many.

Things got more interesting once I re-installed my off-line GPS app, Copolit GPS. This app has about 2Gb of maps resident in the phone, it does not need a data connection and I love it for this reason. In my old phone the app was able to save the maps on the SD card, however, on the Razr, due to the way the SD card is mounted, the app "saw" Internal storage as the SD, and thus installed there the huge map files. This was the case even with ICS or JB, however, I had been able to go around this simply moving the Copilot directory with all the maps from Internal to SD, thus freeing a ton of space on Internal. When I upgraded to Kit Kat, things continued to work as before, with the app and its map on the SD card.

Now for the surprise: After re-installing Copilot GPS and its maps on Internal I moved the directory again to the SD with the stocl File Manager, but it did not work....................... A quick search on the internet confirmed what the message from the ebook reader had summed up: one of the "improvement" of KitKat is that no downloaded app can write on the SD any longer. THANLS GOOGLE, THIS REALLY IS PROGRESS

At this point I am really, really really, mad, not just for the almost useless 16Gb card I know have in my phone but for the principle of not being able to do with my phone what I need it to do. Adding insult to injury, for some perverse reason the "correct" KitKat behavior was triggered by the FDR. For reasons known only to some Google programmer, when I upgraded to KitKat without FDR, the apps it inherited JB writing permission on the SD card, as both the ebook reader and the GPS app continued to work as they had done before with ICS and JB.

That was the proverbial last straw that broke the camel's back. I had no plan to root my phone (also because it is my work phone, although I paid for it), but really now it felt crippled. With great pleasure in sticking it to Google using their own tools, it did not take long to google around and verify that Towelroot worked quickly and well on the Razr M and that SD Fix would re-establish the permissions taken away from KitKat. It took seconds to root my phone, a couple of minutes to install and run SD Fix, a little longer to copy Copilot and its maps to the SD and there you have it, I am back were I was before the "upgrade".

Now, I do not want this to sound like a anti-Google rant, but really, was this necessary? I know the official reason for the change is added security, does that mean that all other versions of Google had been "unsecure"... Goggle could have at least made this an option in the developer menu, which now is hidded anyway. Just like it is an option for example to activate USB debugging, bluetooth bypass or install from unknown sources. Not all users need to be protected from themselves.

Hope Google is not going the way of Apple, "My way or the highway".

And I and my Razr M lived happily everafter