Report: Android smartphones plagued by high failure rate
A recently published survey claims Android smartphones suffer from a relatively high failure rate, at least compared to Apple, Microsoft and RIM.
According to British telecom consulting firm WDS, 14% of approximately 60,000 support calls over a 12-month period were related to Android hardware issues.
In contrast, Windows Phone 7 accounted for 9% of support calls, Apple's iPhone for 8%, while RIM's BlackBerry weighed in at an impressive 3.7%.
WDS rep Craig Rich explained that "hardware faults" varied between Android handset OEMs, with certain brands showing a "propensity" towards display failures, keypad/button malfunctions and various battery issues.
"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 $100," said Rich.
"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."
As James R. Hood of Consumer Affairs notes, other major platforms all maintain "tight control" over their hardware, while Google's Android, as a semi open-source platform, does not.
"[For example], Windows Phone 7 licensed to only five manufacturers while both the iPhone and Blackberry have just one manufacturer each.
"In fact, both Apple and Blackberry-maker RIM manufacture their own phones and thus control every step of the design and manufacturing process."
Phandroid's Chris Chavez expressed similar sentiments and acknowledged that "just about any" Android user has been forced to deal with a hardware defect on at least one device.
"It kind of comes with the turf. The sheer scope of Android manufacturers from all around the world is no doubt playing in a role in these failure rates and fanboys will no doubt make this a point.
"[Of course], what would be interesting to see is the amount of support calls dealing with specific OEM's. But same goes when comparing any kind of Android market share to the iPhone - I always like to see how one specific device is selling when compared the Apple's handset. Fair is fair, right?"