There aren’t many people using Google Wallet yet, which is perhaps the reason why we haven’t heard much of a ruckus raised over a newly emerged software stumble. Apparently, if you own an HTC EVO 4G LTE, a Galaxy Nexus or any other Android-powered smartphone equipped with Google Wallet and you perform a standard factory reset, you may permanently disable all Google Wallet functionality on your handset.
Phandroid, the outlet that first reported on the issue, said they noticed some commotion in their forums when an EVO 4G LTE user reported that he seemed to have put the kibosh on his Google Wallet app after a routine factory reset. He had been having some trouble with an HTC Sense app that was repeatedly force-closing, and knew that resetting his phone was the go-to solution to fix such a software issue. But it appears that this action actually junks the “secure element” meant to protect your NFC chip from tampering, and knocks Google Wallet out in the process–all of which happened to the unlucky forums poster.
Fortunately, there’s a simple preventative measure that addresses this bug: Just fire up Google Wallet, go into Settings and choose “Reset Google Wallet.” Afterward, you’re free to go ahead and reset your phone.
What might be most alarming about the issue, however, is Google’s response on the matter. When the EVO 4G LTE user reached out to a Google representative, he was informed that if he didn’t have warranty coverage, he’d have to replace the device himself. Moreover, the solution to bricking the so-called secure element doesn’t seem to be properly communicated by either Google, nor any smartphone makers. So it looks like — at least for NFC users — an effective word-of-mouth campaign that spreads news of this simple fix could be very useful, so this vexing software glitch doesn’t end up afflicting anyone else.