Android Smartphones 4x More Likely To Break Than BlackBerrys - InformationWeek

InformationWeek is part of the Informa Tech Division of Informa PLC

This site is operated by a business or businesses owned by Informa PLC and all copyright resides with them.Informa PLC's registered office is 5 Howick Place, London SW1P 1WG. Registered in England and Wales. Number 8860726.

IoT
IoT
Mobile // Mobile Devices
Commentary
6/23/2011
02:13 PM
Eric Zeman
Eric Zeman
Commentary
50%
50%

Android Smartphones 4x More Likely To Break Than BlackBerrys

Devices that run Google's Android platform have the highest number of technical support calls for hardware problems. RIM's devices have the lowest.

A study coming from the U.K. tallied more than 600,000 technical support calls over a 12-month period and determined that Android handsets are the most likely to develop hardware issues.

Of the support calls made seeking help with Android handsets, 14% were for hardware issues. Android holds a commanding lead over its nearest rival platform, Windows Phone 7, which saw a 9% rate for hardware-related support calls. Following closely was the Apple iPhone with 8% and Research In Motion's BlackBerrys with 3.7%.

Just what are these numbers really telling us? Short answer: Fragmentation hurts the Android platform. Here's why.

All you need to do is look at how many companies are involved. WDS, the company behind the study, looked at 35 different manufacturers of Android devices. There are only five manufacturers of WP7 devices, and only one manufacturer each for BlackBerrys and iPhones.

Apple and RIM maintain tight control over their hardware development. Apple, in particular, micromanages the process from raw materials to finished product. RIM simply over-engineers the living heck out of its smartphones--in other words, they put them through a serious battery of tests to make sure they'll perform well when in the hands of millions of business professionals. (Boo-yah to RIM for having such a low hardware failure rate!)

As for Windows Phone 7, Microsoft has set very strict guidelines for the devices that run its smartphone platform. Each one has to match a spec list for features and design. This helps the entire platform enjoy some consistency from handset to handset.

With such a huge number of equipment makers behind the Android platform, there's no way the collective group could maintain high-enough standards to deliver the best, longest-lasting, least-breakable handsets.

What's really interesting is that many of the hardware problems experienced by Android devices were grouped by manufacturer. For example, some makers were more apt to make phones with crummy displays, while others made phones with crummy keyboards, or terrible batteries. WDS didn't spill the dirt on which phone makers showed a proclivity for which problems, sadly.

What's the bottom line for businesses here? Total cost of ownership. Software problems are a lot easier for IT--or carrier support--to handle over the phone. Hardware problems are not, and generally mean the phone has to be shipped or taken somewhere for repair. That means down time for employees and lost productivity.

While WDS focuses the conclusion of its report on wireless network operators, it could equally by applied to businesses.

"Mobile operators [and businesses] have to make important decisions when selecting which smartphones to range on their networks," said Craig Rich, chief marketing officer at WDS, in a statement. "They must balance the need to introduce low-cost smartphone devices with the Total Cost of Ownership; a $100 smartphone might not look so attractive if it drives x3 more support cost over its lifetime or has an above-average return rate that impacts customer loyalty" and employee productivity.

Virtual Event: Business Mobility Unleashed. Zero in on the top mobile technologies and techniques to ensure your organization thrives in the wireless world. Learn about strategies and products that offer remote user applications support, Wi-Fi management, security features, and device management. Our virtual event happens Thursday, July 14. Register now.

We welcome your comments on this topic on our social media channels, or [contact us directly] with questions about the site.
Comment  | 
Print  | 
More Insights
News
Can Cloud Revolutionize Business and Software Architecture?
Joao-Pierre S. Ruth, Senior Writer,  1/15/2021
Slideshows
10 IT Trends to Watch for in 2021
Cynthia Harvey, Freelance Journalist, InformationWeek,  12/22/2020
News
How CDOs Can Build Insight-Driven Organizations
Jessica Davis, Senior Editor, Enterprise Apps,  1/15/2021
White Papers
Register for InformationWeek Newsletters
Video
Current Issue
2021 Top Enterprise IT Trends
We've identified the key trends that are poised to impact the IT landscape in 2021. Find out why they're important and how they will affect you.
Slideshows
Flash Poll