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!


    • I agree completely with Andrew.  If it’s a hardware issue, what does the OS have to do with it?  Granted most Android devices are now using the latest and greatest, but that doesn’t mean Gingerbread is any more “flakey” than Froyo, or iOS, or…

      • That’s a point that I tried to make in the article. There are so many different Android devices out there that it’s unfair to group them all by OS. If the study had broken up the results by manufacturer, I’m sure we’d see different results. Just because a device runs Android, doesn’t mean it’ll break easily.

  1. My (and my wife’s) Blackberry Storm was a piece of junk compared to my Droid X.  My Moto Droid X and my wife’s HTC Droid Incredible are great.

    There are a thousand reasons why I will never buy another Blackberry again, but the days I had to get into the phone’s internals to fix them (it was hers first, and mine a few days later) sealed the deal that we would not buy another Blackberry.  The icing on the top was the piss-poor app selection (which I understand was partly due to the difficulty developing for that platform).

  2. that is true about releasing phones about every other week or so. I think they are moving too fast for its own good. all releases are the same weather its aosp or sense just a different look of the phone and name. maybe couple more ghz here and there on phones but there isnt anything new about any of them.

  3. There are multiple levels of Android devices that it is not a fair comparison to group them by os. I’m sure the low end android handsets are more problematic than a blackberry or iphone, entry level android handsets start around $100 while blackberries start arpund $400 and iphones start around $500. Not really a fair comparison.

  4. There are multiple levels of Android devices that it is not a fair comparison to group them by os. I’m sure the low end android handsets are more problematic than a blackberry or iphone, entry level android handsets start around $100 while blackberries start arpund $400 and iphones start around $500. Not really a fair comparison.

  5. In Android evolution I would say it is in its Cambrian stage, so much diversity so quickly and all at once.  I feel this will begin to taper off and streamline when all the “what works” added with the “what is desired” come together. But as evolution lives up to its namesake by then a new OS maybe making ago at it.  So I agree with this article and see it as an inevitable process.

  6. I find it funny that the report pegged Blackberry so low in repairs, I sell cellphones and blackberries are the most common phone i see coming back due to hardware issues, then the iphone and last up is android. Making the Quality Assurance is just better here in Canada, who knows

  7. There are also issues that don’t get called in. All of my friends that have iPhones just buy new ones when something breaks because they’re too expensive to fix. Meanwhile me and my Android friends get ours repaired until it’s time to upgrade and get a steep discount.

    So in reality they’re just analyzing the number of people who get theirs repaired, not the number that need repairing.

  8. People should justflip the report around and report Android has a lower rate of software errors. The percentage is kinda meaningless. Maybe Android has 10 calls and the iPhone has 20000.

  9. Lol,the “people” who did the study compared android with……Blackberry…lol funny they where probably hired by R I M to publish the study lol blackberry is on the opposite end of the spectrum they are growing stale and haven’t changed much still 2007 for them and since when is progress a bad thing? With so many different manufacturers pushing against each other for competition(android) its no wonder they are coming out with so many new phones…its not a bad thing and the main flagship phones usually are good for a yearish..before they are replaced…as for the G2 lol well let’s just forget that ever happend lol…I’m sure some women liked it but its not that great…now or when it came out.So…competition drives progress ………unless you live in a vacume or have one person manufacturing your phones Apple/ ENJOY IT! Quadcore processor anyone?

    • the G2 was not only liked by women, the G2 was, and still is top of the line in terms of high powered android phones and is one of only 3 4G phones on tmobile…