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Android Cellphones Hardware

Android Phones More Prone To Hardware Problems 220

Posted by Soulskill
from the that-button-doesn't-work-on-mine-either dept.
adeelarshad82 writes "A nearly year-long study conducted by WDS on 600,000 support calls has found that Android phones are more susceptible to hardware faults than other types of devices. '14 percent of all technical support calls for Android devices could be traced to a hardware fault, versus 3.7 percent for RIM BlackBerry, 8 percent for iPhones and 9 percent for Windows Phone 7 devices.' WDS attributed the gap in hardware faults to the disparity in OEMs that manufacture Android devices."
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Android Phones More Prone To Hardware Problems

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  • by GooberToo (74388) on Friday June 24, 2011 @10:22AM (#36555182)

    Android runs on the full gambit of available phone devices. That means on the low end, crappy hardware is there by design. Crappy hardware, by design, driven by cost considerations, are going to have less reliable hardware and less QA.

    Basically the story says, "Shit happens. Sometimes free market economics create products which are far from ideal." Is anyone really surprised. Next story. I mean, that's really all that needs to be said. Duh.

    • by Anonymous Coward on Friday June 24, 2011 @10:43AM (#36555596)

      Android runs on the full gambit of available phone devices.

      I hate to do this, but please, use the phrase correctly. The word in bold should be "gamut", [wikipedia.org] as in "the full gamut".

      Examples [wordhippo.com]

      (What is a partial gambit? [wikipedia.org] You offer your bishop but your opponent hasn't captured it yet?)

    • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Friday June 24, 2011 @10:44AM (#36555602) Journal
      I suspect that it may be slightly more than low end, crappy hardware:

      Some(by no means all, sadly) of the cheap dumbphones are both cheap and nigh-immortal, because nobody gives a damn what CPU they are using or how many UberMarks they get on some benchmarking suit that wouldn't fit in the onboard storage anyway. This means that, while they certainly don't use fancy parts, they are polished and solid designs.

      The Android low end is extra unfortunate because it suffers from cheapskate-itis and much of the hardware gets churned and replaced by a different design all the time.
    • by dzfoo (772245)

      The "full gambit"? I guess Android does require a sacrifice in order to gain an advantage.

              -dZ.

    • by Wovel (964431)

      So you agree that Android's platform Marketshare is meaningless.

    • HTC - Makes Android and WinPhones on basically the same hardware ... I suspect that the failure rate is comparable

      iPhone is one manufacturer - Apple - they do not differentiate between hardware and software errors

      Blackberry - again one manufacturer who does not differentiate

      Who exactly are they getting these figures?

      • by GooberToo (74388)

        Not all hardware is used across all OSs. Many hardware packages are only available, for example, on Windows or Android, exclusively. Furthermore, look at some of the low end devices from Motorola. Some of them have been real stinkers. IIRC, HTC made a odd here and there too. And, there are lots of other players. In Asia, there are players you've likely never heard of. Quality is typically absolutely shitty and I wouldn't be surprised if those numbers were tossed in to dramatically bulk up shits rates for An

      • by mldi (1598123)

        HTC - Makes Android and WinPhones on basically the same hardware ... I suspect that the failure rate is comparable

        iPhone is one manufacturer - Apple - they do not differentiate between hardware and software errors

        Blackberry - again one manufacturer who does not differentiate

        Who exactly are they getting these figures?

        Yep, and those numbers are fine and dandy and all, but completely meaningless unless you're reporting on each manufacturer, not the OS that runs on them. It's like saying Milk is less healthy than Soda because more people out there are lactose intolerant.

    • by node 3 (115640)

      Just to be clear, because you tried to hide it in a lot of hand-waving:

      Android phones are more prone to failure than other phones like iPhones and BlackBerries.

      I especially like how you tried to make this out to be a good (or at least, deliberate) thing! And you blame this on the "free market". Yes, the exact same "free market" that brings you iPhones and BlackBerries, which fared better.

      I mean, really! Apple and RIM are both free to make shitty hardware, but they choose not to. That's "by design" too, and

  • Commodity phones (Score:2, Insightful)

    by vawwyakr (1992390)
    Android is used on the cheapest smart phones so they use the cheapest parts....to you know...make them cheap.
    • by fermion (181285)
      There are some android phones that are going to be designed to meet a price point rather than maximum quality. Like MS computers by mass market manufacturers like Dell, customers are going to tolerate a lack of high quality due to the low price. This is also a winning deal for the manufacturers as tech support is no longer hugely expensive.

      What is going to be interesting to see is if the MS Windows Mobile phones continue to be more reliable than Android phones if and when the MS Windows phones begin to s

  • by tdyer (1399659) on Friday June 24, 2011 @10:24AM (#36555212)
    Is that 96.4% of all rim support calls are for the terrible software.
    • That's actually what I was thinking, too. Of course, I'm pretty much programmed to look at any presented statistics as cynically as possible.

      "So what you're saying could be that Android phones have better software, requiring fewer support calls so that legitimate hardware problems make up a larger percentage?"

      NB: Not an Android fanboy. Not even really an Android fan with all the scumware-friendliness and recent CM's submission to it re: private data spoofing.

  • Garbage headline (Score:5, Insightful)

    by cabraverde (648652) on Friday June 24, 2011 @10:24AM (#36555216)

    WDS did not disclose how many support calls in general technicians fielded for each platform

    So without saying that android phones are more or less reliable in general, what they are really saying is:

    Android phones less prone to software problems.

    • by Woy (606550)
      Precisely.
    • Mod up Parent! If that's not insightful, hell if I know what is!

      • by hey! (33014) on Friday June 24, 2011 @10:47AM (#36555658) Homepage Journal

        Mod up Parent! If that's not insightful, hell if I know what is!

        Not to disagree about GP post's insightfulness, but I am concerned about your difficulty in being able identifying insightful ideas without its aid. Let me toss a few out:

        • the laws of thermodyamics
        • the biggest homophobes are the people most insecure about their own sexuality
        • the origin of various species by the operation of natural selection upon random genetic variations
        • George Lucas should have quit making Star Wars movies after "Return of the Jedi". Maybe before.
    • Errrrnttt. Nice try. You are correct that the article is committing a statistical error, but so are you. Technical support calls range the gamut from questions, software problems, hardware problems, user errors, help on setup and installation, etc. And you can't lump all the nonhardware issues into "problems strictly with the software" per se because a question could be as simple as "how do I install this" but could be more intricate like asking value added questions about how to best set up wifi or wha

  • In other news (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Chrisq (894406) on Friday June 24, 2011 @10:25AM (#36555244)

    14 percent of all technical support calls for Android devices could be traced to a hardware fault, versus 3.7 percent for RIM BlackBerry, 8 percent for iPhones and 9 percent for Windows Phone 7 devices.'

    In other news: '86% of all technical support calls for Android devices could be traced to a software issue, versus 96.3 percent for RIM BlackBerry, 92 percent for iPhones and 91 percent for Windows Phone 7 devices.'

    Shows how bad Android is doesn't it....

    • Could it mean there were more "real" problems with Android vs. more "I'm a dumbass and can't RTFM" problems with other platforms?

      • by Chrisq (894406)
        True, and actually I wouldn't be surprised if a system that is run on budget hardware (as well as some quality phones) does have more hardware issues than the iPhone for example
      • by ArsonSmith (13997)

        I take it to mean that Android manufactures are more willing to replace a faulty phone than iPhone or rim. They are just better at convincing you that your phone is fine and working as expected, "just hold it different to get better reception"

    • Re:In other news (Score:4, Informative)

      by rbrausse (1319883) on Friday June 24, 2011 @10:30AM (#36555352)

      the author explains his study a little bit [pcmag.com] in TFAcomments.

      the focus of the study was something like "how many support calls will end in an (expansive) hardware replacement".

      • by owlstead (636356)

        Sheesh, I wouldn't put any Slashdot team in a spelling contest. Or are you suggesting that broken phones will be replaced by 12" pads?

  • Ok, look I'm an iphone user. Love it. Have the original and waiting to get the next one. But I'm not putting too much into this little survey.

    I need to see the manufacturer listed here before I believe this is any more than propoganda. If it turns out that each manuf. has about the same average fault rate, then ok, there's a problem. But if it turns out that HTC comes out to 2% and Moto is at 25% then I'd say that it's not the OS, but the manuf. that's the problem.

    And then going further, how does a man

    • by jmpeax (936370)

      But if it turns out that HTC comes out to 2% and Moto is at 25% then I'd say that it's not the OS, but the manuf. that's the problem.

      How could it be the OS? This is about hardware faults, and in fact has nothing to do with Android.

      • by alta (1263)

        It wouldn't be the OS causing hardware failures. The article is implying that in all cases android phones have more hardware failures. WE know they are not caused by the OS, but the unwashed masses don't.

      • by nabsltd (1313397)

        How could it be the OS? This is about hardware faults, and in fact has nothing to do with Android.

        Because a "hardware fault" might be caused by the drivers in the OS.

        In other words, if one of the radios in the phone stops working, how can the tech know for sure if the hardware failed or the software is having problems talking to the hardware because the driver has a fault?

    • by Wovel (964431)

      All Android stories should be done by model since the compatibility matrix is so complex. The problem is, then Android is not "winning". Considering Android as a single thing is almost always absurd, this story is not really any more absurd then lumping all these same varied devices with 3 different versions of the OS into one pile and calling it Market share.

    • by biglig2 (89374)

      I'm a rabid Apple fanboi and a temporary Android user - because I needed a cheap non-subsidised smartphone to buy me time between my 3GS dying and the 4s/5 coming out.

      Now, if you want a *cheap* first hand smartphone, then it's a straight choice, Symbian or Android, and Android wins, I'm afraid. (I've owned and loved many symbian smartphones but not any that Nokia made!)

      So, a quick trip to Argos and I have a ZTE Blade - the things are dirt cheap and effortless to root and install stock android on and the har

  • Misleading (Score:5, Insightful)

    by jonescb (1888008) on Friday June 24, 2011 @10:27AM (#36555286)

    Keep in mind that this is 14% of _support calls_. Using the same logic as the summary, you could say that Android phones have fewer software issues than other phones because only 86% of calls are related to software. That is assuming there isn't a third option in support calls.

    The article even states this, they don't have shipment numbers for devices so they don't have data for the phones that don't require support. Their sample is only phones that people are having problems with in the first place.

    • by vawwyakr (1992390)
      Excellent point, without a better metric including installed base, number of calls and then break down of call types then the numbers are ultimately meaningless.
    • by Inda (580031)
      The missus had a problem with her HTC Wildfire. One of the apps was 'broken'. She made a support call, which was a complete waste of time because they fixed nothing.

      I googled the problem and found it was a network issue that solved itself (in our eyes) the following morning.

      Hardware? Software? Network?
  • I would be curious to know if the numbers break down along any other useful lines:

    For instance, are all the phones(regardless of OS and smart/dumb status) manufactured by a given OEM comparable in reliability? How about all phones by company that designed them? or Smart vs. dumb devices? Are 'flagship' devices more or less reliable than random carrier-branded contract fodder?

    Unless android has some magical hardware-killing powers, it seems very unlikely that the OS itself has anything to do with it; b
  • Nearly year long ? (Score:4, Interesting)

    by Pop69 (700500) <[billy] [at] [benarty.co.uk]> on Friday June 24, 2011 @10:28AM (#36555298) Homepage
    I thought WP7 devices had only been available for about 6 months ?
  • by Tx (96709)

    "A nearly year-long study conducted by WDS on 600,000 support calls has found that some phones are more susceptible to hardware faults than other phones."

    FTFY. If you take the flamebait out of it, that's all it's saying. Android phones are manufactured by a large number of manufacturers, and some of them are a bit cheap and nasty.

  • by andymadigan (792996) <amadigan.gmail@com> on Friday June 24, 2011 @10:30AM (#36555346)
    TFA deson't make any sense. The ratio of technical support that ends up being hardware tells us nothing about the hardware fault rate. It could simply be that people are less likely to have other problems with the phone, or that the users are more technical on average and more likely to be able to solve a non-hardware problem on their own.

    For instance, let's say:

    Device A: 2 million sold, 1 million support calls, 100K hardware calls

    Device B: 4 million sold, 1 million support calls, 150K hardware calls

    Device A: "10%"
    Device B: "15%"

    But really, the failure rate for A would be 5% whereas the rate for B would be 3.75%.

    In short, the article's author is an idiot.
    • by nabsltd (1313397)

      But really, the failure rate for A would be 5% whereas the rate for B would be 3.75%. In short, the article's author is an idiot.

      Then, too, there's the people who just walk into the store with the broken hardware because they know it is broken ("it doesn't turn on"), so that also would skew the results. But, the biggest skew of all is the fact that only support calls were part of the survey.

      Having run a help desk, I can definitely say that the brighter people don't contact support until it is the last resort, while other people might call for every little thing that is different from their normal experience, except that they won't r

  • WDS did not disclose how many support calls in general technicians fielded for each platform.

    And let us read down a little more before I comment...

    "In this study we have not been able to measure PTC for two reasons," Deluca-Smith said via email. "We would require shipment volumes from all of the carriers/OEMs that were part of the 600,000 calls sampled. Many do not share this information with us. [Second,] We sample only calls we take at our contact centers (principally based in the U.S. and Europe); end-u

  • by Dunega (901960)
    Hey look, Slashdot is shitting on Android again. What a freaking surprise.
    • by jo_ham (604554)

      Slashdot shits on everything. If it's not Apple's turn, as it usually is, it seems to be Android.

  • From TFA:

    The study, conducted by WDS, found that 14 percent of all technical support calls for Android devices could be traced to a hardware fault, versus 3.7 percent for RIM BlackBerry, 8 percent for iPhones and 9 percent for Windows Phone 7 devices.

    WDS did not disclose how many support calls in g
    eneral technicians fielded for each platform.

    And there you have it. If the platforms had, say, the same amount of hardware trouble calls as non-Android platforms but a far lower number of software trouble calls y

  • My Casio Commando is a ruggedized (water,shock,vibration,salt spray) resistant Android phone...

    I wouldn't expect a hw fault with it. It's hw failure rate should be pretty low.......
    Other companies also produce ruggedized android phones.

    Did the other phones they discuss have ruggedized versions available?

    -- Sam

  • Trolled again! (Score:2, Insightful)

    by MogNuts (97512)

    Hey Slashdotters, looks like we've been trolled again! After that story that just was released about Android having supposedly crappier apps a couple days ago. This is just garbage. And for the past few months, I can't seem to mod these stories down.

    I think the Apple schills/PR machine is turning on their control of the tech media even more (releasing thinly veiled "news stories"), because they can't realize they can win on features/openness/technical merit. I mean geez, they knock android, but don't even m

  • by whisper_jeff (680366) on Friday June 24, 2011 @10:43AM (#36555584)
    I'm an Apple fanboy but even I can see through my Apple coloured glasses and recognize that this is entirely slanted. Comparing phones made by Apple (one manufacturer) and RIM (one manufacturer) to Android phones (how many manufacturers?...) is entirely unfair. I'd like to see how HTC does. How about Samsung. Compare manufacturers to manufacturers. Apples to apples, if you pardon the pun. The might as well compare Apple's and RIM's phones to American automobiles for all the value the information provides...
    • by jo_ham (604554)

      Well, like I mentioned earlier (although the study is statistically flawed), Android users love to flaunt their dominant marketshare by lumping all Android handsets together to make the number large, so they can't really complain when that same set of phones is taken as the data set for "so what's the failure rate?".

    • by toriver (11308)

      Why? When Android fans push their collective market share compared to Apple and RIM, they scoff when it is pointed out there is not one Android phone but a multitude. (As in: Each of those manufacturers compete with the others, a sale of an Xperia Play does not help Samsung one bit.) So if "Android" is supposed to be treated as one platform THEN, the Android fans should accept that Android is treated as one platform NOW.

  • I have to call bullshit on this article. 14% of technical support calls were related to hardware faults, but it says nothing of the per capita rates of technical service calls. I find it far more likely that either a) android is far more easy to deal with issues yourself or b) used by a more technical user base. Either of these situations would result in less calls related to software issues, which would make the % of support calls that are hardware related go up significantly. Until they release inform

    • I have to call bullshit on this article.

      ...and stop right there. There isn't enough information in that article to draw any conclusions.

  • by cecom (698048)

    I love my Nexus One, but I have to say the statistics are probably true. I have to reboot it a couple of times per week - the touch screen stops working, or the screen just turns black when I am receiving or making a call. Sometimes I have to resort to removing the battery. A co-worker with a Nexus One is having similar problems, so it is not that my specific device is defective.

    As much as I hate Apple, my wife's IPhone 3GS hasn't had any problems whatsoever and she's had it for longer.

    • by asnelt (1837090)
      Well, I am also using a Nexus One and I don't have any of the problems you mentioned (running CyanogenMod). So you probably have a software problem...
    • by vawwyakr (1992390)
      Oh yeah well my wife's iPhone bricked itself for no apparent reason so now we are statistically even again.
    • by Urza9814 (883915)

      Meh. I switched from Apple products to Android after every single Apple product I had recently (iPod touch, 2 iPod nanos, iPod classic) all stopped working in about a year. My iPod nanos would also tend to reboot without warning and for no reason a couple times a week. My Archos 5 with Android hasn't had a single problem since the day I bought it, other than ones I've caused (leaving it in the pocket of the hoodie I used as a pillow and cracking the touch screen -- but even that was a $20 fix)

    • by nabsltd (1313397)

      the screen just turns black when I am receiving or making a call

      I believe it's supposed to do that, but only when you hold it up to your head. So, you could be doing something that confuses the sensors. I know that if I put too much of my hand over the screen while on a call, the screen will go black on my HTC Thunderbolt. Hitting "Home" solves that for me, as once the phone app doesn't have the focus, it won't black the screen.

      • by cecom (698048)

        It isn't that, I think. The phone is ringing, but the screen remains black so there is no way to answer. Often I have another problem - it can't hang up; just locks up there and only removing the battery fixes it.

        In a strange way it is by far the best phone I have ever had, and by far the most unreliable one :-)

  • When you include Yugos, Trabants, and Ladas, foreign cars have much worse reliability than Ford.

    I really hate it when the media writes dumbassed articles like this. "Let's compare phones made by 30 different companies with a phone made by 1 company and see if there are quality variations." Abject stupidity.

    • by Wovel (964431)

      But it is ok to compare sales on those terms, even though 18 months of Android "winning" has still not brought even 1/20th of the iOS revenue to Android developers? The gap is still growing, not narrowing.

        I agree it is not fair or relevant to compare devices from 30 manufactures on a wide variety of OS versions to one or two devices from one manufacture. It is always a meaningless comparison.

      • In a comparison of operating systems, it's fair to compare sales of one operating system to another. In a comparison of phone design and build quality, it's stupid to compare phones using one operating system to phones using another. Compare phones by brand, not by type (unless you're willing to admit that Toyota is crap because Yugo made hatchbacks too). The operating system has absolutely nothing to do with the design and build quality of the physical hardware.

  • More manufacturers, more handset models, more components = more faults.
  • Windows phone 7?? A year?

    Try since November 8, 2010, for the USA.

    7 months or so. Not even close to 'nearly a year.'

  • Android's API includes a number of functions for causing various hardware malfunctions. They are designed for use by the carriers. The carriers occasionally invoke them in order to increase their sales. Apple & RIM lock their phones down. The carriers can't mess with them, so they don't accrue these benefits. Sound good?
  • Apple camp nervous and running amok. Unable to comprehend 12% vs. 50% market share* and how it relates to service calls.

    [*] - http://www.pcworld.com/article/226339/android_market_share_growth_accelerating_nielsen_finds.html [pcworld.com]

  • A fundamentally broken metric: "percent of all technical support calls".
    A completely incorrect interpretation of that metric: "Android Phones More Prone To Hardware Problems".

    If you want to argue that "Android Phones More Prone To Hardware Problems", then you need to know the number phones of each type that have hardware failures, and total phones of each type (or possibly total usage hours of each) -- and neither of those are known or estimated here. Other possible explanations for higher "percent of all t

  • So just 18 Windows Phone 7 devices were affected versus, what, thousands of Android devices? That's pretty good for Microsoft!

  • Anyone can sell an Android phone so there is a lot of shit out there.
  • I didn't read TFA (because I don't care about phones), but I don't need to do it to tell that the news title in /. is stupid. Having the stats of 14% of problems being due to hardware doesn't tell the global failure rate. So, let's say we have 0.00001% of failure rate with android phones, and 1% with others, with still 14% of problems being due to hardware on the Android platform, that doesn't make Android more susceptible for hardware issue, does it? So, either the linked article is stupid, either the summ

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