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Study finds Android handsets break more frequently than iPhone, could cost carriers $2B in repairs

post #1 of 38
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Cheaply assembled devices running Google's fragmented Android platform could cost telecoms billions of dollars a year in repairs, contrasting service costs for devices based on tightly controlled ecosystems like Apple's iOS.

The fragmented hardware implementation of Android, which lets manufacturers use unchecked testing methods and cheap components, causes a higher rate of repair when compared with Apple's iOS devices, according to a report released Thursday.

Citing a study by wireless service research firm WDS, Reuters reports that Android's rising smartphone marketshare has been boosted by cheap handsets hitting store shelves, some costing less than $100 or free-on-contract, but the growth may come at a cost to telecoms that have seen a spike in repairs for devices running Google's OS.

"While this price point sounds very attractive, when you look at a total cost of ownership it's a different story," said Tim Deluca-Smith, Vice President of Marketing at WDS.

The study of 600,000 technical support calls taken by WDS across Europe, North America, South Africa and Australia showed that Android device returns cost telecoms around $128 in service costs, shipping fees or replacement.

Deluca-Smith was quick to point out that he doesn't see the financial burden to telecoms as the result of Android being a faulty OS, and instead cites inconsistency between handsets as the problem.

One thing we must be absolutely clear on is that our analysis does not find any inherent fault with the Android platform, Deluca-Smith said. Its openness has enabled the ecosystem to grow to a phenomenal size, at a phenomenal rate, and its this success that is proving challenging."

The fragmentation seen in Android's hardware implementation is not completely without standards as Google has mandated that handset makers follow the Android Compatability Program if they opt to use the company's platform. However, the required specs for processor and graphics speeds, seen as one of the most expensive components in an Android device, are very low causing some cheaper phones to operate poorly.

"At the moment, Android is a bit of the Wild West," Deluca-Smith said.

Contrasting the open source nature of Google's OS, closed-ecosystems like Apple's iOS have the benefit of being strictly monitored and implemented as the company that makes a device's hardware also writes its software.



Android's global smartphone market share rose to 57 percent in the third quarter, up from 25 percent a year earlier, boosted by strong growth from manufacturers like HTC, according to research firm Canalys. This is a marked increase from earlier estimates that pegged the OS to be on 49 percent of smartphones by 2012, leaving iOS with 19 percent.
post #2 of 38
No breakdown by manufacturer?

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post #3 of 38
"Android's global smartphone market share..."

It's more than a little annoying that Android market share data only talks about smart phones when being compared to iOS. I guess the tablet market is an inconvenient data point that Android supporters don't care to discuss. The mantra is always "Android is kicking the iPhone's ass." And this article mostly confirms what a lot of us suspected all along. The bulk of Android's "500,000 activations a day" are cheap junk phones that break quickly and often. Not exactly something to be proud of but it does inflate the market share metric.

"Deluca-Smith was quick to point out that he doesn't see the financial burden to telecoms as the result of Android being a faulty OS, and instead cites inconsistency between handsets as the problem."

Guilt by association is real. Android may or may not be a faulty OS but a frustrated user with a crappy phone isn't going to make that distinction. The hardware AND the software will get the blame.
post #4 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaroonMushroom View Post

No breakdown by manufacturer?

1) That would make sense.

2) It's surprising you actually want vendors who use Android OS to be broken down.
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post #5 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

1) That would make sense.

2) It's surprising you actually want vendors who use Android OS to be broken down.

Well I'm just expecting to see a big difference between let's say... Archos and Samsung

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post #6 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by AppleInsider View Post

"At the moment, Android is a bit of the Wild West," Deluca-Smith said.

Contrasting the open source nature of Google's OS, closed-ecosystems like Apple's iOS have the benefit of being strictly monitored and implemented as the company that makes a device's hardware also writes its software.

Where have we seen this story played out before? Oh yeah, the Mac Vs Windows thing. Yes, there WILL end up being a bajilion more Android phones out in the world simply because they are a few dollars cheaper. Sometimes, the phones might even have a crazy feature or two that will best the iPhone. But they will never work as seamlessly as the Apple devices.
post #7 of 38
NOT.

Apples the best. Hardware, software, everything. If there was no iPhone I still wouldn't buy an android.

Sorry about the rant. Poor hardware? How else could they peddle their phones so cheaply
post #8 of 38
Stupid article. Troll ism at its best.
post #9 of 38
We needed a study for this? While there are some fairly high-quality Android phones out there, there are plenty of cheaply built garbage plastic Android phones. They sell in pretty large quantities due to being free with a contract and also come with various pay-as-you go plans. Of course they break more frequently...
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post #10 of 38
So why is Blackberry the lowest at 5%, beating iPhone's 8%? Should we go BB instead?
post #11 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jsmythe00 View Post

NOT.

Apples the best. Hardware, software, everything. If there was no iPhone I still wouldn't buy an android.

Sorry about the rant. Poor hardware? How else could they peddle their phones so cheaply

You do realize that's there's a massive range of Android phones, right? Ones that are free, to ones that cost $299 with a 2 year contract.

High end androids are not cheap. I had to hold myself back from spending $900 after shipping to import a Galaxy Nexus from the UK

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post #12 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by MaroonMushroom View Post

You do realize that's there's a massive range of Android phones, right? Ones that are free, to ones that cost $299 with a 2 year contract.

High end androids are not cheap. I had to hold myself back from spending $900 after shipping to import a Galaxy Nexus from the UK

I'd be willing to bet money that LG is high on the repair list. However it's also proportionate to sales numbers. At the time that LG was the most exchanged phone at AT&T Wireless, it was also the most popular free phone brand. Samsung was #2 and Motorola #3, again because they were popular in that order. Part of this could be attributed to LG and Samsung possibly using the same defective radio parts that only worked on the 1900Mhz band correctly, with no support for the 850Mhz band.

I do hope things have substantially changed since then, but this is one of those reasons why I won't touch an Android device, and would sooner try Nokia's Windows Phone models if an iPhone wasn't an option. Maybe when the balkanized Android versions stops I'll give it a chance.
post #13 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by whytoi View Post

So why is Blackberry the lowest at 5%, beating iPhone's 8%? Should we go BB instead?

Probably because very few people buy Blackberry phones anymore. 😝 less phones mean less repairs.
post #14 of 38
The study states that of all the repair calls WDS receives on Android phones, 12.6% were for hardware related troubles.

Do iPhone owners call their carriers first or do they call Apple first?
post #15 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac.World View Post

Probably because very few people buy Blackberry phones anymore. 😝 less phones mean less repairs.

What part of 'percentage' do you not understand?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShepherd View Post

The study states that of all the repair calls WDS receives on Android phones, 12.6% were for hardware related troubles.

Do iPhone owners call their carriers first or do they call Apple first?

That's one of the problems with surveys like this.

The other problem is that if you have a super-cheap phone, you're less likely to pay to have it repaired than if it's an expensive phone.
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post #16 of 38
My teenager has been through three broken Android phones in three years. (While I was not thrilled with her choice of platform, I was willing to let this 'rebellion' happen if that was the extent of it!).

The build quality was crap in each case. And, AT&T never even made a fuss about replacing them.

One month ago, she switched to the iPhone. The only thing she feels badly about is that she didn't switch earlier.
post #17 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShepherd View Post

The study states that of all the repair calls WDS receives on Android phones, 12.6% were for hardware related troubles.

Do iPhone owners call their carriers first or do they call Apple first?

You'd contact Apple first. Their customer service is number one in basically every single relevant customer satisfaction survey and has been for years.

Mobile operators, particular American cellular companies, have abysmal customer satisfaction scores. This is repeatedly demonstrated by annual user surveys by Consumer Reports (and others). Verizon is usually the 37" giant in a land of three-foot midgets; the other ones just trade places in the rankings. Not one American mobile operator can be proud of their customer satisfaction ratings. It has been like this for years and years; the overall scores hasn't really improved.

As a matter of fact, mobile operators are pretty much near the basement of all industries, right by cable companies. Basically, your cellular provider is pretty much the last one you'd ask help from.
post #18 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

What part of 'percentage' do you not understand?

What part of 'less repairs = less percentage' do you not understand?
post #19 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by TheShepherd View Post

The study states that of all the repair calls WDS receives on Android phones, 12.6% were for hardware related troubles.

Do iPhone owners call their carriers first or do they call Apple first?

It used to be easy to contact Apple about any issue with the iPhone if you were on AT&T. You'd just dial 611. You'd get two options; one for your account and one for the device. The latter would direct you an Apple run call center in the US. I guess sometime this year (I assume around Verizon an on board) that changed.

Quote:
Originally Posted by jragosta View Post

The other problem is that if you have a super-cheap phone, you're less likely to pay to have it repaired than if it's an expensive phone.

Excellent point.

Apple also has the benefit of dealing with devices directly in their stores but I don't know if that is a plus or minus or Apple's repair percentage as some "hardware" issues might just be an issue with firmware, OS, setting or app, but thy can replace devices much easier.
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post #20 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac.World View Post

What part of 'less repairs = less percentage' do you not understand?

I can see how you might come to that conclusion but it's a percentage of total units sold for that mobile OS/vendor divided by the number of HW failures. That means if RiM only had one device fail but sold only 5 phones thy would have a 20% failure rate. Get it?
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post #21 of 38
This comes to no surprise. Just about every one of my Android-phone owning friends have had problems with their phones. Absolute sh!t junk they are. They replace them every six months and the users begin to accept it as the norm. Shame on the manufacturers for coming out with absolute garbage. That's what happens when you're scraping the bottom of the barrel.

iHaters, trolls, and whiners of course will try to spin this story to the contrary I'm sure...
post #22 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by solipsism View Post

I can see how you might come to that conclusion but it's a percentage of total units sold for that mobile OS/vendor divided by the number of HW failures. That means if RiM only had one device fail but sold only 5 phones thy would have a 20% failure rate. Get it?

And if they sold 20 million in a quarter with 2 million repaired, vice now selling 10 million but only 500k in repairs... Less volume sold typically equals less repairs, which in turn is a less percentage.

Your version assumes that less sales equates to an equal percentage of repairs. This is not the case.
post #23 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac.World View Post

And if they sold 20 million in a quarter with 2 million repaired, vice now selling 10 million but only 500k in repairs... Less volume sold typically equals less repairs, which in turn is a less percentage.

Your version assumes that less sales equates to an equal percentage of repairs. This is not the case.

My "version" uses small numbers to help you understand how percentage works. Apparently my example wasn't simple enough.
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post #24 of 38
The Multi-Dilger strikes again.

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post #25 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by cvaldes1831 View Post

You'd contact Apple first. Their customer service is number one in basically every single relevant customer satisfaction survey and has been for years.

Mobile operators, particular American cellular companies, have abysmal customer satisfaction scores. This is repeatedly demonstrated by annual user surveys by Consumer Reports (and others). Verizon is usually the 37" giant in a land of three-foot midgets; the other ones just trade places in the rankings. Not one American mobile operator can be proud of their customer satisfaction ratings. It has been like this for years and years; the overall scores hasn't really improved.

As a matter of fact, mobile operators are pretty much near the basement of all industries, right by cable companies. Basically, your cellular provider is pretty much the last one you'd ask help from.

Yeah those numbers are quite low. Being a current employee at a call center for one of the telcoms I can tell what that means also. Because all of the big four are Post-paid, and their are usage charges customers are charged after they use. This means that a customer who goes his/her minute allotment will get a charge on their next month bill for it. These customer see this and then call us and want it refunded. Our policy is to re-rate them and refund them for the overages, however the customer has to go to a higher/more expensive rate plan as a result. Many customers don't want this they say no it will not happen again. The next month they call in for the same reason. We offer them the chance to change their rate again. Most likely they will not saying it will not happen again. We can't credit them for every time they go over their minute plan especially if we offered to move them to a better plan. As a result we did not (could not) help them. This is also why Cable companies have it rough too (pay per view). As you can see its perception. Even through I have done every thing I could do to help this person because they wanted something that we can't provide they answer on the questioner that we as a whole company sucks.

Also Apple is a little skewed because we do not do warranty for iPhones. We send the customer to Apple. So in reality the number for apple reported is just not correct. The contract that Apple has between the Telecoms is pretty strict with the rules and regulations.

Edit: The previous statements are solely the opinions of my own. They have nothing to do with my job and this post is of my own free will.
post #26 of 38
What a bunch of BULL... so they compare ALL of the android phones out there and say that the iOS is better because it breaks less...
No wonder... they are comparing a range of phones with diverse price points and quality with 1 of the most expensive phones in the market (the iPhone)... no wonder that the iPhone comes out as the winner...

why don't they bin the data into price points??!! I personally have a Samsung galaxy S2 and before that I had a HTC hero... both of which I could bet would beat the iPhone in terms of durability... I lost count of how many times I dropped my phones on hard floors and never broke the screens... even last week I let my Galaxy hit hard concrete floor and the only think I got was a small scratch on the top corner of the phone... Try to do that with any iPhone and see what happens!

Please understand I am not saying the iPhone is not a great phone... I just hate made up statistics like this!

#iphone #iOS #android #market

g+ discussion
post #27 of 38
Why would they expect to deal with calls from Apple customers? Surely the first port of calk for an iPhone fault would be Apple?
post #28 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by anantksundaram View Post

My teenager has been through three broken Android phones in three years. (While I was not thrilled with her choice of platform, I was willing to let this 'rebellion' happen if that was the extent of it!).

The build quality was crap in each case. And, AT&T never even made a fuss about replacing them.

One month ago, she switched to the iPhone. The only thing she feels badly about is that she didn't switch earlier.

How did the OS on the phone alter the hardware quality of the phone?
post #29 of 38
It is certainly no bull and exactly why so few sold Linux.

That's what happens with user control.
Less corporate control obviously means less profit.
post #30 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac.World View Post

What part of 'less repairs = less percentage' do you not understand?

But, he does have a point that if there is a smaller sample, there is a more likely chance there is error, and thus possibly a smaller, yet erroneous, number.
post #31 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by Mac.World View Post

And if they sold 20 million in a quarter with 2 million repaired, vice now selling 10 million but only 500k in repairs... Less volume sold typically equals less repairs, which in turn is a less percentage.

Your version assumes that less sales equates to an equal percentage of repairs. This is not the case.

Why would the percentage of repairs automatically fall because they sold less units? I guess by your logic, if you sold enough units, they would ALL fail.....

You really need to go back to school and learn the concept of a percentage.
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post #32 of 38
This is nothing new. The same has been true in the PC world for decades. There are millions of people who can't see past the price tag at retail (ironically, you can get an iPhone 3GS on contract for $0). People and organizations alike don't think in terms of TCO. As a result, Android share will continue to increase, and people using those devices will continue to have more problems, and just like the PC market, those people will come to (already have) accept it as normal.
post #33 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by whytoi View Post

So why is Blackberry the lowest at 5%, beating iPhone's 8%? Should we go BB instead?

One of the many problems with this survey is that it's not clear - not evident at all really, if they considered other avenues customers take.

For instance, I could postulate that Blackberry repair numbers cited in this study are low because BB devices exist mostly in the enterprise market, and when a corp. issued BB goes tits up, the user is not going to seek help from the cellular carrier - they're going to send it back to the IT department and get another one. IT is just going to toss the bad Blackberry in the trash and write it off.

Likewise Apple's numbers could potentially be higher, since it doesn't appear that they took the Apple Stores into consideration. I had a touch screen problem with my original iPhone. I didn't go to my carrier for help, I went to Apple (who replaced it on the spot, damn they're good).

And then there is Android - so many devices, so many carriers. Did they survey them all? What about the folks who think the problems with the device is 'normal' and just live with it? What about all those who just throw it away (the cheap disposable ones) and get a new phone?

I think this study has too many holes to really get reliable information from it.
post #34 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by SpamSandwich View Post

The Multi-Dilger strikes again.

The more Dilgers the better!
post #35 of 38
So why are costs for defective hardware the responsibility of the carrier, not the manufacturer (through the warranty period) or the consumer (after the warranty period if they didn't purchase additional insurance)?

And if carriers are paying 40% higher subsidies for the iPhone, wouldn't it still be a wash?
post #36 of 38
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post #37 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by lkrupp View Post

"Android's global smartphone market share..."

It's more than a little annoying that Android market share data only talks about smart phones when being compared to iOS. I guess the tablet market is an inconvenient data point that Android supporters don't care to discuss. The mantra is always "Android is kicking the iPhone's ass." And this article mostly confirms what a lot of us suspected all along. The bulk of Android's "500,000 activations a day" are cheap junk phones that break quickly and often. Not exactly something to be proud of but it does inflate the market share metric.

"Deluca-Smith was quick to point out that he doesn't see the financial burden to telecoms as the result of Android being a faulty OS, and instead cites inconsistency between handsets as the problem."

Guilt by association is real. Android may or may not be a faulty OS but a frustrated user with a crappy phone isn't going to make that distinction. The hardware AND the software will get the blame.


THIS POINT -- needs to get more attention by Cell Phone providers. The few bucks they might save selling a customer some "me to" Android is NOT GOING TO BE WORTH IT when the platform and the cell provider are blamed. Google is also going to become the "You didn't really love me XMas Present."


>> Just wait for the cultural references to doom them; I can just see a the home videos on YouTube where the college kid tears into the Christmas present expecting a brand new smart phone. It's the right size and weight, it must be,... it's an iPhone -- oh crap -- no, it's a Samsung Galaxy. The kid bravely hides the look of disappointment, and smiles bravely. But the moment is lost, the parents KNOW that look.

"We have the receipt, son, it's not a problem -- it hasn't even been activated..."

"... no, mom, dad,... It's PERFECT. This will also help us get a start at chipping away at my $25,000 debt in student loans for the job I can't get...."

>> The NEW sales pitch; Yes it's a new day in America, and your kids need to be used to disappointment -- so why not an Android, it's not just a phone -- it's a life lesson!"
post #38 of 38
Quote:
Originally Posted by shawnb View Post

So why are costs for defective hardware the responsibility of the carrier, not the manufacturer (through the warranty period) or the consumer (after the warranty period if they didn't purchase additional insurance)?

And if carriers are paying 40% higher subsidies for the iPhone, wouldn't it still be a wash?

Except that IF it is a financial WASH -- then you are paying the same dollars overall for a good experience versus a poor one -- so WHICH is the right market choice in the long run?

Still, I figure that it's cheaper overall for the cell provider, because an Android phone isn't going to be using the data plan as much. Some large usage for the first two months, and thereafter some Angry Birds scores and web browsing -- just because it's there.

It's only a matter if knowing the costs up front, versus "estimated average over time" is a difference financially.

>> But LOT's of companies probably prefer selling people stuff that they aren't going to use -- so THAT might be the hidden reason that AT&T pushes the Android as much as the iPhone -- lower bandwidth.
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