According to a recent study released by British telecom consulting firm WDS Android smartphones have a higher failure rate than smart phones powered by other operating systems. Blackberry's failure rate was the lowest.
Android Devices Found to Have Higher Rates of Hardware Problems
The survey tracked 600,000 support calls over a 12-month period and found that of the support calls seeking help with Android handsets, 14% were for hardware issues. This compares to Windows Phone 7 with a 9% rate for hardware-related support calls, Apple iPhone at 8% and Research In Motion's BlackBerrys at 3.7%.
Craig Rich, Chief Marketing Officer at WDS issued this statement. "Android has been a runaway success and has been instrumental in bringing smartphone technology to the mass-market. Its open nature, coupled with the greater availability of hardware components and a reduction in manufacturing costs has seen some manufacturers bring the price-point of Android smartphones down below US$100. However, the Android ecosystem is not without its faults. Many of the factors that have led to Android's success are driving varying levels of hardware quality into the market, in turn delivering an inconsistent customer experience".
Quality Control Varies Widely Among Android Smartphone Manufacturers
So what is Mr. Rich actually saying? He really isn't blaming the mighty Google and its semi-open-source Android software platform. Here is the problem. The WDS study covered 35 different Android manufacturers. Some of these manufacturers are now offering android smartphones for less than $100. In an effort to lower prices some of these manufacturers have probably cut a few corners with components and in the manufacturing process. This has led to a decrease in quality for some phones and to the higher levels of failure rates.
Other manufacturers using major platforms all maintain tight control over their hardware. Windows Phone 7 is licensed to only five manufacturers. Both the iPhone and Blackberry have only one manufacturer each. Apple and Blackberry-maker Research In Motion manufacture their own phones. They control every step of the design, component acquisition, and manufacturing process, have better quality control, and experience lower failure rates.
In spite of this, Android smartphones are still enjoying great marketing success and in fact are now outselling other platforms. If you are planning to buy an Android phone just be aware that a really cheap price may include a higher risk of hardware problems.
NTT Android. Photo in Public Domain