Does Android have a Problem with Broken Phones


Out of all the tremendous upsides to the Android phones, there’s a potential downside to Google’s mobile OS (operating system) and its rapid growth. This downside is the wireless operators being cost billions for their repairs to Android phones.

WDS,, or Wireless Dat Service, a wireless services firm, found failures in the hardware are significantly more common on devices running Android than either the Blackberry (RIM) or the iPhone (Apple). Breakdowns in the hardware on phones running Android are costing wireless carriers approximately $2 billion annually as they’re struggling to contain the rapid growth issues that are stemming from the Android OS.

RIM and Apple have been able to directly gain a measure of control by manufacturing the mobile phones that are powered by their operating systems and all of the components that get used in their production. Dissimilarly, Android is a software that’s open source and it is able to be installed on a whole host of devices and from various manufacturers.

Android gets an advantage from its widespread availability, something that’s helped with the device launches powered by the Android operating system and into the competitive smartphone markets #1 spot. Earlier in the year, Google made the announcement that more than 500,000 Android devices are being activated each day.

That being said, not every single one of these devices manufactured is at the top of the line. Having the capability to install the Android operating system on even the lower cost and tiered mobile phones is something that’s helped Google to gain an attraction with both consumers and manufacturers in order to gain dominance in the smartphone market platforms. However, this is something that can also be contributory to a much higher instance of problems with hardware.

Over 600,000 technical calls to support were analyzed by WDS, calls that were handled by their worldwide team. This analysis is something that revealed 14% of the calls were regarding hardware related Android device issues, with only:

  • 11% – Windows Phones
  • 7% – Apple iOS
  • 6% – RIM Blackberry

Android and the open nature of its software is something that means there are a whole host of mobile devices that are running different Android OS versions within the marketplace at any one given moment. This is something that means there is no guarantee that they’re getting updated with the latest software, or actually that they’re even able to be updated at all.

Within this fragmentation there’s a problem for Google that’s an ongoing one, which has lead Google to forge mobile partnerships with some of the major handset carriers and manufacturers. This has been done in an attempt at ensuring Android product consistency.

This is something that will only be able to work should the hardware allow for it, which brings to light the WDS study and the problems that it uncovered. Consumers who have inferior and older smartphones that attempt upgrading to the newest Android version are going to potentially reduce their hardware to a useless state. This problem is something that leads to thousands of carrier calls, which then results in billions in repairs and returns.

WDS did state that they didn’t find any Android platform problems themselves. The openness of the Android OS has facilitated the ecosystem to growth of extraordinary size, and at an extraordinary rate. The massive amount of success is something that’s proven to be quite challenging.

Android has had a continued fragmentation battle as well as they fight to retain their dominance in the market, however, if broken Android devices cause consumers to get too frustrated Google may just find them combating a far worse problem in addition, customer churn.

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