September 18, 2014

Is Andy Breaking Down?

Before I begin, I’d like to stress that this is an opinion piece, and doesn’t necessarily reflect the views of AndroidGuys. I’m just a grumpy 17-year-old voicing my thoughts. Now then, according to a recent study by WDS (isn’t it funny that it’s always a company we’ve never heard of that does these studies?), Android phones are four times more likely to have hardware issues than Blackberry devices. The study, which took place over the course of a year, was essentially a breakdown of over 600,000 technical support calls (mind you, this is all in the U.K., not the States), and it determined that Android devices have the highest rate of hardware issues.

Reportedly, of all the calls for Android devices, 14% were hardware-specific problems. As we dig deeper into the study, we find that Windows Phone 7 had a 9% hardware issue rate with its calls, followed by the iPhone with an 8% rate, with RIM and the Blackberry pulling up the rear at just 3.7%. So that’s where they got the “four times more likely” comparison. Now, why does Android have such a higher rate of hardware issues? The answer is plain and simple: device diversity.

Sturdy and reliable hardware is one of the reasons RIM has made it this far

You see, the reason that Blackberry has the lowest hardware issue rate is exceedingly obvious: RIM controls what goes (and what doesn’t go) into their devices. They design them, manufacture them, and put them through rigorous tests to make sure they can hold up to heavy usage over time. Hence the reason we don’t see hundreds of different Blackberrys released every 6 months.

The same goes for Microsoft and WP7, and it especially applies to Apple and the iPhone. In contrast, Android has dozens upon dozens of different devices, made by dozens of different manufacturers, each with varying hardware standards.

Furthermore, Android as an OS is rapidly evolving, much quicker than the other three operating systems in the study, and devices are being pumped out left and right to keep up with the quickly changing landscape. At the rate manufacturers are moving just to get their latest devices on the shelves, they may be sacrificing durability for the opportunity to be the first to sell a quad-core, Ice Cream Sandwich device with a 5.2-inch display.

Granted, this is what makes Android what it is today. Competition for the sake of progress is always great, and it’s the main reason that Android has grown so rapidly over the last 2-3 years. But when looking at recent devices, I’ve noticed something that’s a bit troubling. Phones are being cranked out left and right by the manufacturers, all trying to keep up with the latest version of Android and the latest processors and so on. But they may be pushing these phones out too quickly.

For a quick example, let’s look at the G1, the original Android device. It lasted a hearty 2 years before being discontinued by T-Mobile. Its successor, the G2, which was a superior device in every sense of the word, lasted roughly 9 months before being discontinued. At this rate, there will be too many Android phones for companies to market and sell at once. New and amazing devices are being released almost every other week, but with most carriers requiring a 2-year contract, we’ll be drowning in unpurchased Android phones before long.

The carriers are discovering and inventing new and exciting things to do with Android, and it’s almost as if they’re rushing to show off what they’ve done. But the problem is that they’re discovering and showing off new things faster than consumers can buy them.

So, since I know you’re tired of me using the word “devices”, with all that being said, do you think Android is moving too fast for its own good? Or am I just yammering on like a crazy person? Be sure to leave a comment below, or on our Facebook Wall! We look forward to hearing from you!

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