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Hardware Running Android Fails More Than iPhone, BlackBerry Hardware 357

hazytodd writes "Repairs to Android smartphones cost wireless carriers $2 billion per year according to a new year-long WDS study that tracked 600,000 support calls around the globe. Android's popularity and the introduction of a number of low-cost smartphones has put a strain on the wireless business model, WDS noted in its report. 'Deployment by more than 25 OEMs and lower-cost product coming to market is leading to higher than average rates of hardware failures and, in turn, return and repair costs.'"
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Hardware Running Android Fails More Than iPhone, BlackBerry Hardware

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 04, 2011 @03:33PM (#37951156)

    Do they just spontaneously combust, or are people abusing a piece of electronics until they break? My G1 is still working and it's taken a beating, but I upgraded long ago.

    While on the flip side, I dropped my first gen iPhone into a puddle of water and it broke immediately.

    • by txoof ( 553270 ) on Friday November 04, 2011 @03:45PM (#37951288) Homepage

      I bought a Nexus One from Google and had to return it to an HTC service center twice in the first year of ownership. The main board needed to be replaced the first time. The second time I had to return it for a bad power switch. Apparently when the service center installed the board, a faulty switch was used, or they crimped the ribbon. Either way, it's bad QC on the board, the switch and the labor.

      I really like my N1 and I find FY to be a pretty snappy OS, but I'm not supper impressed with the longevity of the devices. There are no plans to roll the next major OS version for the N1 which doesn't speak too highly of Google or HTC's expectations of longevity. The iPhone line [] on the other hand has all the products on the latest version of the OS even if every phone doesn't support the latest and greatest features. It would be nice to see a greater commitment to lasting hardware from Google and the various phone makers. I expect a mobile to last around 3 years of normal use; perhaps I'm being too optimistic in the current age of accelerated obsoleteness.

      • by 246o1 ( 914193 )

        The iPhone line on the other hand has all the products on the latest version of the OS even if every phone doesn't support the latest and greatest features. It would be nice to see a greater commitment to lasting hardware from Google and the various phone makers. I expect a mobile to last around 3 years of normal use; perhaps I'm being too optimistic in the current age of accelerated obsoleteness.

        That's a reasonable expectation, but not a true statement about the iPhone line. My family has iPhones, still on the original contract, which didn't handle the rollout of iOS 4 very well and are never going to get iOS5.

        On the other hand, Apple has always been good to me about replacing defective hardware fairly quickly, but with mobile OS development still happening very rapidly (read: demanding more resources as we try to cram 30 years of desktop development into our handsets), it's no surprise that long-t

      • by Jeng ( 926980 )

        The iPhone line [] on the other hand has all the products on the latest version of the OS even if every phone doesn't support the latest and greatest features.

        That link is a little bit misleading. []

        The original IPhone is only supported up to IOS 3.1.3

        The IPhone 3G is only supported up to IOS 4.2.1

        • by BagOBones ( 574735 ) on Friday November 04, 2011 @04:33PM (#37951896)

          Correct, however the minimum you can take from the correct data is that Apple has support EACH model with OS updates for up to 3 years, your typical longest cellular contract, and each device launch with its latest available OS.

          Android phones regularly launch with software 1 version behind and support drops as early as 6 months after launch.

      • Interesting, I never had a problem with my Nexus One. I only switched phones about a month ago when I got a Nexus S for the NFC support (I'm a developer writing an app against that functionality). I gave my NexOne to my wife who uses it to great success. My one-year old daughter even got it and chewed on it a bunch (very little cosmetic damage, but enough drool got inside to trip the moisture sensor - the trackball glows red). A night in a rice bowl later, and it's still going strong.

        The closest thing I

      • by jcombel ( 1557059 ) on Friday November 04, 2011 @04:42PM (#37952018)

        The iPhone line on the other hand has all the products on the latest version of the OS even if every phone doesn't support the latest and greatest features

        i don't feel like this is a super valid comparison, unless you mention that the iPhone ran like horseshit on iOS 2 onward, and the iPhone 3G always ran poorly. now my wife's 3GS runs like butt on iOS 5. further, all the products are not on the latest version of the OS: the iPhone caps out at version iOS 3, and the 3G caps out at version 4. history suggests that iOS5 is the last straw for the 3GS.

        if, perhaps, you mean that all the iPhones currently for sale are on the latest OS, i would point out that all the Nexus phones currently for sale are on the latest OS, and that will be true when ICS is released, also.

        a more accurate comparison of HTC and Google's upgrade path to iOS:
        the original iPhone used the current OS until it didn't get iOS 4, so from 2007-06 to 2010-06, three years, half of which it ran poorly. you have no options for upgrading for new features even if you wanted to.
        the iPhone 3G used the current OS until it didn't get iOS 5, so from 2008-06 to 2011-10, three years and some change, all of which it ran poorly. you have no options for upgrading for new features even if you wanted to.
        the Nexus One is using the current Android phone OS until it doesn't get ICS, so from 2010-01 to ~2011-11 or 12, just under two years, all of which ran excellently. you will have the option of installing custom ROMs with ICS features if you choose to.

        anecdotal, my nexus one also had the defective power button, but since it had previously been dropped onto the highway from my motorcycle (whoops), it was in too ugly a condition for me to send back to the manu for a repair: i figured repair center drones would return it to me as user abuse, and that they'd be right to do so. since i have the option of rooting the phone and installing a custom ROM, i did so and use an app to power down the phone, and the volume buttons to wake it up.

        considering it survived a 75mph bounce and skid on the highway (i had to file down burrs on the metal face), i forgave HTC for the eventual failure of the power button. it is my first HTC phone, but they've sold me on their build quality. my first-gen iPhone was had an unusable crack on the screen that needed replacing after a three-foot drop, and once i repaired that, i found that the impact had also killed the battery, as it wouldn't last longer than half an hour idle, or a few minutes in call.

        HTC's build quality despite my abuse, and their vow to not stop hobbyists from rooting Android phones has guaranteed that my next phone will be an HTC again; probably their first ICS phone that supports NFC. my wife's next phone was looking to be an Apple, but now she's frustrated with how poorly it has been performing this last month so we'll see.

        last thing, i don't agree with Synerg1y's take, "Ya but u can do more on any build of android than any ios build so the comparison isn't really that fair." while the capabilities of the OS are pretty similar, the fine details is pretty objective: i definitely respect that some people (my wife) just want a simple, option-less phone that also connects to the internet. what i mean is, the feature set does not need be mentioned in the same conversation as build quality (though build quality perhaps need be mentioned in the conversation about feature set).

      • by DrgnDancer ( 137700 ) on Friday November 04, 2011 @04:57PM (#37952234) Homepage

        Honestly the headline is downright misleading and the summary is almost as bad. I read this article yesterday, and they're not saying that Android phones are inherently worse than iOS or BB devices. The difference is that while iPhones are all produced by Apple (or at least under direct contract for Apple) and Blackberries are all produced by RIM, Android phones come from a number of manufacturers. Some are good phones of good quality (Most of HTC and Motorola's stuff along with several other "main" brands), others are produced on a shoe string by no-name manufacturers and given away free with a contract. On average Android phones fail more often, but the article doesn't really go into a like for like comparison. It seems likely that Droids, Heroes, and Transformers fail at a rate comparable to iPhones.

        The no name Android white boxes are the problem. They fail at a much higher rate than either iDevices, BBs, or their higher quality Android cousins and drag down the averages. They're costing the carriers a lot, because they were "free" to the consumer to begin with, and they have to be replaced quite often. Frankly I'm not feeling too bad for the carriers. They use cheap ass rap to lure people in to sign contracts, it's their problem that the crap predictably breaks and costs them money to replace. A nice phone flame war is always fun, but the title and summary of this otherwise interesting article are complete flamebait.

        • The no name Android white boxes are the problem. They fail at a much higher rate than either iDevices, BBs, or their higher quality Android cousins and drag down the averages. They're costing the carriers a lot, because they were "free" to the consumer to begin with, and they have to be replaced quite often. Frankly I'm not feeling too bad for the carriers. They use cheap ass rap to lure people in to sign contracts, it's their problem that the crap predictably breaks and costs them money to replace. A nice phone flame war is always fun, but the title and summary of this otherwise interesting article are complete flamebait.

          It's not flamebait at all. Android advocates are always counting every single Android phone against the iPhone when looking at marketshare. And I would bet that cheap Android phones make up more than half of Android's mobile market share.

          So if the "cheap-ass crap" phones running Android are counted against iPhone numbers, then too bad if they're also dragging the overall Android hardware failure rate up. You can't have it both ways.

    • by skids ( 119237 )

      I'm trying to think of what app might be causing more android users to accidentally drop their phones.

    • Re: (Score:2, Interesting)

      by NoobixCube ( 1133473 )

      In my experience working in a phone shop, peopoe just tolerated more from their beloved Apple-emblazoned brick than they would of Android devices. I had people returning perfectly good (and to my eye perfectly healthy and fast) Android phones for being a bit slow. They'd also claim the reception was bad on the Galaxy S and that "a friend with an iPhone gets better reception". Right, Galaxy S tested best on the network for network speed and reception, waste of another courier bag sending that one away. P

    • Yep, that's right, your anecdote carries far more weight than properly researched stats.

  • It couldn't be someone who has an axe to grind on Android phones, no?

    • by 140Mandak262Jamuna ( 970587 ) on Friday November 04, 2011 @03:41PM (#37951246) Journal

      It couldn't be someone who has an axe to grind on Android phones, no?

      The axe-grinding app is awesommer in iPhone than in android. Why, just last week for Halloween I needed to grind an axe to do some serial killing for more realistic blood spatters. The Android could not even get a two bars on the 3G network. Before it could even find and down load an app, iPhone had an axe grinding app going at full tilt. It was a close call, whether to use the iGrind to grind the axe or directly use iGrind itself on the victim. Anyway iGrind rules!

      There is an app for it.

    • by h4rr4r ( 612664 ) on Friday November 04, 2011 @03:45PM (#37951282)

      Or more likely many of the Android phones are poorly made. ZTE, LG, and every other no name chinese flyby night has an android phone. No surprise they break a lot.

      Add to that they are often free with contact and you get these poorly made phones ending up in the abusive little hands of children.

      • by sensei moreh ( 868829 ) on Friday November 04, 2011 @03:59PM (#37951504)
        You do know that LG is Korean, don't you?
        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          Indeed I do. They claim it means "Life's Good", but it really stands for "Lucky Goldstar" the old company name. They still make garbage low end phones.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        LG isn't a "no name chinese flyby night" company, it's a major player in almost every electronics category and Samsung's primary competitor - not to mention it's Korean. I have used a few different Android phones made from LG and my primary handset is an LG Revolution. They made good hardware. Also name me a single phone - or piece of electronics for that matter - that isn't manufactured by some Chinese company most people haven't heard of, including the iPhone. Oh you can't? Shut the fuck up.

        • by h4rr4r ( 612664 )

          I never suggested they were Chinese, I mentioned them because they make low end phones and midrange phones like the one you have. Samsung, HTC and Moto are the ones making high end phones, while LG is making single cpu phones using last years hardware.

    • It couldn't be someone who has an axe to grind on Android phones, no?

      Contrary to troll belief, that is an excellent question; TFA states that the study was done by "WDS" - however, it never specifies what "WDS" stands for.

      A Google search [] yields no useful result.

      • Seems I'm better at the google search game!!!!

        From TFA: "WDS vice president of Marketing Tim Deluca-Smith said"

        That makes it easy to google up the company, WDS Global: []

        Heck, link to their original press release: []

        If not in the mood to go into the link, here is their company description:

        Since 1995, WDS has been dedicated to helping both service providers and end-users get the most from their wireless products and services. Today, by optimizing the entire process of launching and managing wireless products and services, the company enlightens its customers with the knowledge and efficiency needed to deliver the best possible user experience.

        To us, the wireless user experience is more than just the latest touchscreen or user interface; it's an appreciation of the device, network, service and the journey that the end-user passes through as they interact with their service provider.

        By focusing attention away from 'managing' user experience problems and towards resolving the cause of an issue, and by sharing business critical intelligence through a common platform, WDS achieves the continued savings and improvements that naturally lower the support burden and improve end-user profitability. It's this ability to help customers identify preventable issues, improve future products and services and build long-term, profitable relationships with end-users that means many of the world's most recognizable mobile brands now trust the outsourcing of their user experience to WDS.

    • I'm guessing it is a result of the large adoption of Android. I'm guessing for every high grade device, there are probably three or four crappy ones out there. Probably more are hitting the market every day. It's definitely not a reflection of the quality of the os but rather the quality of manufacturers trying to vomit out anything android branded for a quick buck.
    • Funny that a study like this would come out at the same time as Apple's battery problems were exposed. Finding out who sponsored the study could be significant.

    • by S.O.B. ( 136083 )

      It couldn't be someone who has an axe to grind on Android phones, no?

      Who would use an Android phone to grind an axe?

    • No, it's someone who doesn't understand the difference between hardware and operating system.

      Of course Android has more repairs than Apple or Blackberry. Everyone and his dog can make an Android device. Only Apple and RIM can make the iPhone and Blackberry. So assuming that Apple and RIM maintain high hardware quality standards (manufacturing, not design - to differentiate between quality-of-build and the antenna debacle) then it's a given that an open OS is going to end up getting installed on cheap pieces

    • It couldn't be someone who has an axe to grind on Android phones, no?

      Why would you think that? The findings don't seem to be that negative on Android (despite the negative spin being given in many outlets.) I mean, even the part quoted in TFS notes that the higher failure rates on Android phones are due to the fact that there are more low-cost Android phones available.

      Its not really surprising that the failure rate across all devices of an OS that is available on lower-end devices as well as high-end device

    • It couldn't be someone who has an axe to grind on Android phones, no?

      Gee, why would a polarizing story like that make it to Slashdot? Hmmmmmmmmm

    • Not necessarily. Google can't be faulted for the myriad of shitty handsets on the market. It's up to the device manufacturers to properly design and test their device.

      Everyone I've ever known that has bought an Android phone has been happy with it. In my not-scientific-in-any-way observations, it's pretty much on par with those satisfied with their iPhone. I'll admit, though, that nobody I know buys the el-cheapo crap when they upgrade, it's skewed more towards Droid, Galaxy, etc. I'm still rolling wit

    • How dare they.
      They are saying a Linux based and a Google Product is having more issues then a Closed source Evil Companies.

      I mean you can re-bring up the argument that Linux isn't any more secure and reliable then windows, Windows just got a bad rap because it more widely used. Thus more of a target towards Malware. and the fact that there are drivers made for Cheap ass hardware for the more popular OS can cause a lot of extra stability problems.

      Nah... Somehow attaching a text file stating that it falls un

    • Yeah. It couldn't possibly be that in their race to gain market share and push out the latest and greatest iPhone killer with slightly better specs & performance, the phone manufacturers are using cheaper hardware, and spending less time testing & QC'ing the hardware and software in an effort to maintain a reasonable (i.e., sustainable) profit margin, and thus are producing hardware that is slightly more likely to break or malfunction.

      That would just be inconceivable.

      If you dig into the stats, you'

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday November 04, 2011 @03:35PM (#37951180)

    Cheap stuff breaks, who knew?

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Cheap stuff breaks. Overpriced stuff is held wrong. Therein lies the difference.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        iPhones are overpriced? I paid $300 for an Android phone with only 1 GB built in storage. I could have purchased an iPhone for $200 (my cell phone plan is much cheaper than one with any provider who carries iPhones, which saves me money in the long-run). If you look at just the cost of the phone and not the plan (because you'll have to pay for plans with Android-based phones too), iPhones are very reasonably priced ($0, $99, or $200+).
  • What do you expect? (Score:5, Interesting)

    by ArhcAngel ( 247594 ) on Friday November 04, 2011 @03:35PM (#37951186)
    You lower a product price to impulse buy territory but then lock the buyer into a two year contract. I know dozens of people who will brick their phone on purpose in hopes they'll get upgraded. Especially those that get the handset insurance.
    • by bmo ( 77928 )

      I have a friend who does this.

      When he gets tired of his phone, he starts slamming it against the shop floor (concrete) until it breaks.

      He feels entitled to one because he pays the insurance and it means an updated phone.

      Customers fight back against being nickel-and-dimed.


  • Bogus study (Score:5, Insightful)

    by moozh84 ( 919301 ) on Friday November 04, 2011 @03:37PM (#37951198)

    What a garbage article.

    An Android phone is not the same as an Apple or Blackberry phone. Google just makes the software. Apple and Blackberry make their own hardware.

    Therefore you can't really say "Android phones have a high rate of defect". More accurately, you could say "Low-end no-name brand Android phones for that cost under $100 have a high rate of defect". High-end Samsung or HTC Android phones are just as good as their Apple or Blackberry counterparts.

    Low-end phones have existed forever, and they've always had more technical issues. They just never had a high-end operating system. Since Android is free you can get it on even the cheaper phones. This is a good thing because it allows cheaper phones to have top-of-the-line software on a budget price.

    It's no wonder that if you search for the study all you find is links to this and similar articles about this bogus study, but no references to the company or the studies themselves. Obviously a paid interest study.

    • I won't argue with your premise - but for some anicdotal comment: I don't know a single person who has a Samsung Galaxy phone (old version or new) that hasn't had to replace it at least once for DOA type problems (died out of the box or within 2 months). I know one who had to replace it three times.

      • Had mine a year and a half, no problems. Only a few of the many people I've talked to with them have had major hardware problems, no more than any other decent phone. Perhaps you have uncareful friends? :P
      • I've had my SGS2 for about half a year now, and while it feels a bit light, thin and cheap, it has held up pretty well.

        Two youtube vids:

        First, battery cover, which is paper thin, and very many are afraid to break somehow when they get the phone: []

        Second is a drop test (vs iPhone 4S), where the light plastic seem to hold up pretty well: []

        So.. This far, the only problem I've had is that the power button doesn't bounce back as much

      • My Samsung Galaxy S (Vibrant on T-Mobile) has been the toughest phone I own. I even managed to drop it in a pool, let it dry out and it is still working today. The gorilla glass on this phone is amazing. It lives in my pocket with no screen protect and with change, pens and sometimes keys and doesn't have any noticeable scratches. About the only thing that bothers me is that the GPS is crap, but that isn't high on my list of priorities. I will definitely go with the SGS II or the SGS 3 if that is out b

      • I don't know a single person who has a Samsung Galaxy phone

        I call bullshit, I think you know exactly one person with a Galaxy. I say this because the few people I have known with one have never had a problem, nor have I really heard of too many problems with the Galaxy specifically. Of course, you don't have to take my word for it, I know you won't anyway.

        I suspect the bigger problem a lot of people have with Android is that it isn't made by Apple and called iOS...

    • An Android phone is not the same as an Apple or Blackberry phone. Google just makes the software. Apple and Blackberry make their own hardware.

      By the same token how many of the BSoDs blamed on Microsoft was really Microsoft's fault and how many were due to crappy hardware bought to save money? (Lest some one accuse me of a being a microsoft shill, my anti-MS credentials [] (Sep 2007) have been well established. )

    • by txoof ( 553270 )

      Google doesn't make the hardware, but they certainly endorse some of it. In particular, the Nexus line. One would think that Google would choose to endorse only the best those manufacturers have to offer. It certainly doesn't do them any good to endorse crap. My N1 hasn't been too stellar so far having broken twice in the first year. While HTC did a pretty speedy job at replacing it, I wasn't super impressed with a device that craps out in less than a year of gentle ownership.

    • It's like saying that PC hardware running Linux breaks more often.

    • Re:Bogus study (Score:4, Informative)

      by Tharsman ( 1364603 ) on Friday November 04, 2011 @04:03PM (#37951546)

      There is one problem with that: Google certifies every single Android phone.

      They have the ability to prevent manufacturers from releasing disposable garbage, but instead they just certify it as long as the maker does not dare remove google tracking services.

      So, although the manufacturer of the specific phones should be listed, Google is the one that opens the door for manufacturers to create and sell said garbage.

      • Fair enough.

        However, 'garbage' is somewhat subjective. Some people prefer to pay top dollar for something that is robust and will last. Others prefer to pay less and get something less robust and more prone to failure. There are extreme cases (lemons that have no right to be sold), but even in a rational well-informed market, there is a place for 'inferior' products. For instance, for people who know they will replace their handset very frequently (for other reasons), it may make more economic sense to b
      • you misunderstand 'certification'. The certification is more about whether the OS will work, not at all about the hardware and how often if fails. You don't even have to get your device certified - you only do so if you want to use the 'android' brand name. otherwise just take the source code and go for it. []
      • by Namarrgon ( 105036 ) on Friday November 04, 2011 @07:14PM (#37953378) Homepage

        Seriously, I recently bought a new Huawei U8300 for $29, no contract. Not as a phone (though it works fine), but as a dirt-cheap, networked GPS & IP camera that'll run any Android app - for $29. How awesome is that?

        This is the advantage of real diversity (that you want to block) - there is something for everyone. Thank Christ Google saved us from Jobsian monoculture.

    • I agree. I'm a huge iOS fanboy but this is just unfair. By their logic WinMo 6 also has a higher failure rate just because ZTE, Huawei, etc shipped crummy WinMo devices.

      Besides, RIM and Apple should be compared to HTC, Moto, etc. Not google.

    • An Android phone is not the same as an Apple or Blackberry phone. Google just makes the software. Apple and Blackberry make their own hardware. Therefore you can't really say "Android phones have a high rate of defect".

      So that means an end to the stories and claims and general nerd mirth about how 'Android phones are now the largest market segment'?

    • by fermion ( 181285 )
      Which is of course why Apple and RIM control their own hardware. If you let commodity manufacturers create product, then the product inevitably is going to be inferior. Furthermore customers are going to receive an inferior customer experience as everyone blames everyone else for problems.

      For instance Google is not even going to take responsibility for bad software. This i worse than MS blaming everyone on the hardware people, and the hardware people blaming everything on MS. With apple if the softwar

  • by BStroms ( 1875462 ) on Friday November 04, 2011 @03:38PM (#37951208)
    Sadly, even skimming the article I didn't see any data by manufacturer of android devices or, even better, by individual model. That information would have been quite useful.
  • A wide variety of manufacturers will tend to include some of lower quality.

    Buyer beware, or just pay extra and get the Apple. (Apple hardware ain't perfect either.)

  • Oh great, here come the AC trolls...and the resulting flame war.
  • cheaper devices (designed cheaper) with otherwise similar performance specs fail more often.

    What would be interesting would be how high-end android devices from brands with a brand image compare to the iphone.

  • >Repairs to Android smartphones cost wireless carriers $2 billion per year

    Since when did wireless carriers repair smartphones? They just send them back in gross to the hardware maker for a refund on the next batch. $2 billion seems really high for mailing costs.

  • Hardware running android? Isn't that a rather broad category? I mean Apple and RIM make their own hardware so comparing them makes sense. But comparing two hardware companies to a dozen or more companies that all use the same software? That seems like a rather useless statistic. Name brands vs generic brands, was there ever any doubt?

  • Does reading about a vast army of cheaply produced, fault-prone commodity hardware from multiple OEM vendors running an OS from a single software vendor competing against Apple's solely owned and closed product line give anyone else a sense of deja vu?

    ... I wonder how it will turn out.

  • It's PC vs Mac all over again. PCs dominated because they were much cheaper than Macs. PCs failed more than Macs because they were much cheaper than Macs. PCs drove the massification of personal computing because they were much cheaper than Macs. The same dynamic will occur with Android and iDevices.
  • I heard hardware running Windows has a higher rate of failure than that of Apple machines. Point being, yeah.. android is a commodity OS, so why tie it to a story about hardware from a range of manufacturers who very likely offer a range of phones all of which run the same OS. In the days of eMachines and the like was Windows the focus of faulty hardware manufacturers?
  • Yay another flamebait article!

    The article states that since low end "smartphones" are being installed with Android it is costing carriers more in warranty and repair costs. It has nothing to do with the Android platform and is more of a side effect where the cheap manufacturers elected to go with Android over another OS.
  • by pecosdave ( 536896 ) * on Friday November 04, 2011 @04:12PM (#37951676) Homepage Journal

    If all you offer is one model at a time (Apple, no capacity differences don't truly count as a different model - radio differences may) it's really easy to make a tried and true hardened product. That being said Apple has been screwing up it's one product last couple of generations, granted not in a way that can't be handled.

    Blackberry OS products, though more diverse than Apple's product line, are still very narrow in offerings.

    Anyone who can slap together a few components can make an Android phone.

    Android is truly a buyers market. It is up the the buyer to do all the research required to buy an Android device. Sticking with a few vendors is usually a safe way to do it. Sure you can probably find a really cheap phone from China from a manufacturer you've never heard of that looks like an iPhone, runs Android, and advertises 1,000 features, but you know deep down in your heart you probably should go with something by HTC instead. The difference between the compared groups is that Android, being free, allows the last guy to exist. In a true unencumbered market you're always going to have your sleeze bag bottom of the barrel stuff, then you're going to have your sexy Cadillac stuff. My EVO is over a year old and I don't see myself giving it up for a different model for at least six months, probably more, however if I were to have bought the budget "free" phone from any carrier at the same time, Android or not, there's a pretty good chance I would be growing tired of it by now, if it still worked at all.

    This is no different than the way I always buy Wrangler Carpenter pants for work even though I could just as easily go to a discount store and buy random generic brands. I've done the latter, and sometimes I've gotten really good pants that last, and sometimes I got trash. Apple only sells the "Wrangler" product and wont allow anyone else to produce the equivalent. Blackberry only allows the Wrangler and a couple of others like Levi and Carhart. Android says "Make em all!".

    These findings don't detract from Android. In my book it actually uplifts Android. What if all I wanted was a cheap but descent phone, not for making phone calls but for my kid to play Angry Birds on and listen to her Chipmunk albums? Chances are she's going to drop anything I get her in the toilet eventually so quality isn't the highest priority. I can get a bargain basement Android phone that doesn't break the bank. With Apple I have to mortgage her bicycle and LPS collection to buy an iPhone and lets face it, Blackberry isn't the best choice for Angry Birds. (Truth is I gave my kid my old iPhone 3G, but I seriously considered getting her an Android phone from instead)

    Articles like this that intentionally overlook the obvious are mostly FUD.

  • This one is simple, guys. Google will sell an Android license to anyone. Apple and RIM make their own hardware. They have a stake in the reputation of their company. Consumers are smart enough to realize that a Google phone failing is not Google's fault, it's the fault of the manufacturer of the hardware. It's giving the manufacturer's a bad name, not Google.

    There's plenty of junky Android phones with junky hardware on the market. That being said, there's some bleeding edge Android phones out there wi

  • My brother in law when through four or so Motorola Droids before finally giving up. I suspect that when your first unit fails, the ones the carriers replace it with are refurbs, leading to a common death spiral. (He may have went with a refurb to start with, to save $$) Yes, he switched to an iPhone, and it has worked ever since.

    Also, if you lump all Android phones into the same category, there's some real garbage in there. It's unfair to categorize a device from Samsung or Motorola with something from Firs

    • My brother in law when through

      This phonetic typo and visual typo is quite interesting. Many pronounce "went" without the 't' and the somehow the brain directs the fingers to type "when" because the user is thinking "wen". Many of my typos go to the other end. I have seen my finger type 2 when I meant Z or 0 when I mean O, even g when I meant 9. As we start typing faster and faster something is happening when typing becomes half-reflexive. Looks like the brain imagines a shape and directs the finger to the key that will produce that sh

  • Generally speaking, when your market share increases, so do the amount of devices you have in service. The more devices you have in service, the higher the percentage of failed devices. It's math, not magic. [] []

  • I don't know how it costs them anything since people buy a new phone with the cost of their phone insurance every two years.

    Ever tried to get a Verizon rep to admit that there was something wrong with your Fascinate? All they have to do is say "there's nothing wrong" and hang up on you. They know you're not going to take them to court.
  • The volume of calls and number of devices is needed for those numbers to mean anything.

    Sure a higher percentage of Android calls involve hardware issues. That could be the case if:

    1. The hardware does fail more.
    2. The hardware fails less but there are also even fewer calls about software issues.

  • Android phones can be had brand new for as little as $59 USD unsubsidized [] (no contracts etc). That's not a one-off, either. Of course there is going to be a slightly higher rate of failure when compared to $500+ devices.
    There are expensive android devices out there as well but the article does not differentiate.
  • by Caerdwyn ( 829058 ) on Friday November 04, 2011 @04:48PM (#37952114) Journal

    This is what happens when you compete on the basis of cost.

    When it comes right down to it, there's not a lot to differentiate one Android phone from another. It's becoming a commodity market, and a phone buyer would be satisfied with any of several options. What would make someone choose one phone over another? Leaving out the fucktards who reflexively hate on Apple just because Apple doesn't place virgin tech-nerds on a pedestal, someone will choose one phone over another based upon:

    • Price
    • Specific features
    • Carrier

    That's about all there is.

    If you have two phones with similar features, and one is cheaper than the other, you buy the cheaper phone. If you, the seller, want to not go out of business by losing money on every sale you have to reduce your cost of goods. Therefore, your build quality will suffer, and you end up with the situation the article describes.

    If you have two phones with the same price, you'll buy the one with a better feature set. If you're packing more features into the same sale price, you're spending less on each feature. Therefore, to meet the price point, you're sacrificing quality. Once again, you end up with the described situation.

    If you're choosing based upon carrier, and you're not buying the phone outright (i.e. you have a contract and a subsidized phone price) you have a limited selection. Since the carrier wants to maximize profit on a phone, they'll offer the models with the lowest wholesale cost. To meet that lower cost, the phone makers will cut corners. And... surprise, reliability suffers.

    Therefore, as long as the phones are pretty much interchangeable from the user's point of view, price will loom large... and the price-race to the bottom will dominate everything else. Phone manufacturers aren't charities; they have to show a profit to stay in business. Therefore to meet lower prices, cost cutting must occur. This is what it means to exist in a commodity market with paper-thin margins, and to operate in a market where people are willing to buy crap.

    Premium Android phones are just fine. The problem is that there are a lot of non-premium Android phones, and they get lumped in with the Nexus and Droid product lines. There's a bunch of no-name crap out there that is being pushed solely on the basis of the Android name, and it's ruining things for everybody involved.

    Does everyone understand now why Apple doesn't participate in the market segments dominated by commodity items? Does everybody understand now why cheap Android phones break? Does everybody understand now why cheap Android phones exist at all? If you want quality, you MUST open your wallet. It costs money to make a good phone, and therefore it costs money to buy a good phone. Complaining at the top of your lungs doesn't make a good phone cheaper or a cheap phone better.

"I don't believe in sweeping social change being manifested by one person, unless he has an atomic weapon." -- Howard Chaykin