BlackBerry Least Likely To Develop Hardware Issues
ANDROID DEVICES MORE LIKELY TO DEVELOP HARDWARE FAULTS THAN COMPETITOR SMARTPHONES SAYS WDS STUDY
POOLE, UK. 20th June 2011:A year-long study by WDS of more than 600,000 technical support calls has found that Android devices are more likely to develop a hardware fault than many of their smartphone competitors. 14% of all technical support calls for Android devices related to hardware faults in contrast to just 3.7% for RIM BlackBerry, 8% for iPhones (iOS) and 9% for Windows Phone 7 devices.
The greater propensity for hardware faults is, says WDS, a symptom of the platform’s fragmentation and adoption across a broad range of OEMs. Both Apple and RIM control their hardware ecosystems and Microsoft mandates minimum hardware specifications for Windows Phone 7 deployments. In contrast, Android is widely deployed by more than 35 OEMs globally under an open source license.
The study found that instances of hardware faults varied between OEM deployments, with some brands showing a propensity to display failures, others keypad/button failures and some battery issues. The findings, says WDS, highlight the need for mobile operators to choose carefully when ranging Android product and consider the Total Cost of Ownership, including support and potential reverse logistics costs, and not just the unit price of the device.
“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,” explains Craig Rich, Chief Marketing Officer at WDS. “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.”
Unlike many technical support calls taken by mobile operators, such as network connectivity and service configuration, hardware failures cannot typically be resolved by Customer Service Representatives. Instead mobile operators, who have already faced increased customer care and subsidy costs as they look to meet consumer appetite for smartphone product, now face the additional cost of managing product returns and repairs.
“Mobile operators have to make some important decisions when selecting which smartphones to range on their networks,” adds Rich. “They must balance the need to introduce low-cost smartphone devices with the Total Cost of Ownership; how much it costs them to manage that device in their network for the duration of the subscription. A $100 smartphone might not look so attractive if it drives x3 more support traffic over its lifetime, has an above-average return rate or damages the customer experience in a way that increases the likelihood of the consumer churning.
“Lower cost Android product absolutely has a place in developing the wider smartphone market and ‘democratizing mobile data’. However you take it for granted that the great Android experience a consumer has on one device brand will be replicated on another, the ecosystem is just too fragmented. This means that operators must carefully balance their requirements and mitigate likely support requests through improved testing procedures, retail practices and self-care tools,” finishes Rich.
The study took place between June 2010-May 2011 and covered 600,000 technical support calls taken by WDS across Europe, North America, South Africa and Australia.
WDS provides managed services dedicated to optimizing the mobile customer experience. The company works with more than 100 of the industry’s best known brands, helping them to develop, launch and manage mobile products and services.
Android Devices Hardware Study by WDS