Android Smartphones Suffer From Highest Failure Rates


I’ve always thought it funny when Android fanboy’s compare the sales and market share of every Android device to a single Apple device. But factoring every single Android device on the market might not always skew results in Android’s favor. Take this recent survey for example.

A British telecom consulting firm, WDS, tracked around 600,000 support calls over a 12 month period and found that 14% of support calls dealing with Android handsets dealt specifically with hardware issues. By contrast, Windows Phone 7 had a 9% failure rate followed by 8% for the iPhone and only 3.7% for Blackberry’s. Talk to just about any Android user and they will be able to tell you of at least 1 (or more) cases where they had to deal with a hardware defect on one of their Android devices. 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. 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?

Do you guys feel like the openness of Android is helping or hurting the user experience? Especially when considering the amount of devices released with sub-par/junkie hardware? Which device manufacturer do you stand behind as having above standard materials and overall hardware/build quality?

[Via ConsumerAffairs]

Chris Chavez
I've been obsessed with consumer technology for about as long as I can remember, be it video games, photography, or mobile devices. If you can plug it in, I have to own it. Preparing for the day when Android finally becomes self-aware and I get to welcome our new robot overlords.

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  1. My impression from talking to people who work for a major Android manufacturer is that Android has significantly reduced the time they have to bring a phone to market. With this very short time window and intense pressure to stay current with the operating system, they don’t have as much time for quality control and testing.  It’s a business decision, but quality has suffered as a result.

    1. Maybe, but I think it because android users care more about their phone and want it to be perfect. I personally returned my phone twice, once because there was dust under the screen and another time because the screen meh.

  2. I Work For A Verizon Store And I Can’t Tell You How Many People Complain About Phones.. It’s Not Android… It’s People.. People Don’t Know How To Use Their Phones And Then Blame The Phones

    1. This x 1000. All you have to do is browse forums, carrier, cell phone facebook pages, read the complaints and see that a majority of the time it’s because someone never took the time to learn how to use their phone.

      Just out of curiousity, I wonder how many of those “hardware” complaints are from people who rooted their phones and screwed them up. 

      1. Thats true. Ive even had iphone users coming up to me asking how to use certain functions on their phone, and one of them didnt even know there was such a thing called facetime, so i facepalmed after that. And strangely enough, iphone users never blame their iphones if they dont know how to use it, but end up blaming every other phone for not being user friendly the minute they feel lost using it.

      2. “Just out of curiousity, I wonder how many of those “hardware” complaints are from people who rooted their phones and screwed them up.” +1000!

        1. Probably the majority…

      3. There’s nothing wrong with rooting, if you know what you’re doing.

        1. I never said there was, reread what I wrote. The key is knowing what you’re doing, and there are far more people who “think” they know what they’re doing than actually do. don’t be so defensive.

    2. I’m an Android user as a disclaimer.  But apparently you’re not reading the article.  Yes, people complain about every device.   But apparently Android has a larger % of people complain than Apple and Microsoft.

      14% is still pretty small though, relatively speaking.

      1. This is listing how many actually complain. I cannot even begin to tell you how many smashed and broken iPhones I’ve seen. Not just broken because they are too stupid to take care of a phone (I dated a spoiled brat who broke three of them in a six month period and her dad kept buying her new ones) but also about just in general hardware failures.

        A lot of the people who buy iPhones don’t end up calling in because they think they will not be offered a repair. As far as Microsoft goes, let’s just wait for a hardware incident. (anyone remember the rrod?)

        1. funny thing is  my  1st gen xbox 360 still hasnt rrod’d but my halo reach 360S died 3 weeks ago -.- 

        2. Nice spin

    3. Lol Whenever someone purchases an android phone in your store tell them to checkout these forums so they can get basics. XDA might be a little too much for them XD

      1. Absolutely not!  They can get the basic of operation by watching the included videos.  If they want to do more with their phones, they’ll know where to look if they know what they’re doing.  If they don’t know what they’re doing, they have no business rooting and ROMing them.  

        Point them here and a bunch of rooting fanboys will be telling them they’re nobody unless they root because it can solve all their problems, help their sex life, prevent global warming and cure cancer all the while while providing free kittens to cute little kids for photo ops.  And they they follow this “advice”, screw up their phones because they’re clueless and blame the hardware.  

        It’s like the exclusive restaurant menu: if you have to ask (how), you can’t afford (to do) it.

    4.  Amen to that!

    5. I second that and also work for Verizon Wireless

    6. Go F*** yourself.  This coming from a trained rip off artist… You shouldn’t have to ‘learn’ you’re phone.  They should be rediculously easy to use.  Maybe if Verizon didnt load bloatware onto their phones, people wouldnt get confused when theyre phone overheats and shuts off…

      1. what an idiotic comment!!  “you should have to learn your phone”??
        OMG….what a tool!

    7. But wouldn’t this fact also affect iphone users too, therefore giving each type of phone the same handicap for these stats?

  3. My whole family uses android phones, i have plenty of friends who use andrioid phones – all from different brands. Ive never heard a single one saying they had problems with it. Only the SGS users with the GPS and lag issue, but thats a known problem samsung screwed up.

    1. yea i had one of those lemon SGS, the gps is so bad that google maps live wallpaper wasnt an option… i wonder who disabled that though. but yea i havent heard any other problems about other brands.

  4. Of the phones that have problems, Android phones have more hardware trouble.  This says nothing about the percentage of android phones that have hardware problems…

    1. Good point.  It could actually represent superiority in other aspects of the user experience, thus shifting the complaint contribution to being dominated by “hardware” issues.

    2. Exactly. You could just as correctly conclude from the statistics provided here that Android OS has a lower percentage of issues than other mobile OS’s (86% versus 92% for iPhones). That is to say not correct at all…

  5. The article really didn’t offers any real info. That percentage is from the support calls but we don’t have the numbers of what percentage of android or iphone users  does need to make those calls. They also don’t tell how much support calls were made for each platform in total. 
    Even we can change the title and put something like “iPhone Smartphones Suffer From Highest Software Failure Rate”, using the same incomplete info. 

    1. Don’t forget the BlackBerries and their failures. A while ago I was working at a call center for AT&T click to chat (worst job ever) and a BlackBerry rep came to show off the top of the line BlackBerry Bold… well out of the 10 phones in his case 2 wouldn’t turn on and one wouldn’t even connect to the  cell towers. I can state from this that BlackBerry has a 30% failure rate. But that doesn’t represent every BlackBerry out there and neither does this article represent every Android, iPhone and BlackBerry. It is quite skewed.

  6. First of all: aren’t you an Android Fanboy? (I would hope you were, writing for Phandroid). Secondly. It is totally fair to compare all of the Android handsets to the one iPhone. Most of the time we are comparing the OS market share, and the fact the Steve Jobs only allows one handset to be made is his choice. He could make others, but his need to control everything is taking priority. When comparing hardware though, I think we should boil it down to manufacturers to see who is making quality hardware.

    1. Please stop with the common sense!! I could already see the smoke around Chris’s head as he tries to wrap his limited logic around what you just said.

      1. Don’t get me wrong. I think Chris is a great guy, this article just makes him seem like he’s looking in from the outside.

      2. That’s one fine comment sir!

    2. Amen! This article is freaking ridiculous! What a joker. Go write for Crapple. I can’t even hardly find the words to comment on such a ridiculous post from someone who supposedly writing for Android. Go back to Android elementary school, and remember why the world of Android is so freaking great! Sounds like Steve Jobs sent you a text message on your InferiorPhone informing you that their he sent you a shipment of Haterade for your ignorance-based, Android hating pleasure. You should send this post into an SteveFanBoy blog/company and see if they will give you a job. I’m sure with writing like this they would give you a job. I was excited when you came on board with this site, but with writing crap like this I could care a less. Is this some type of joke or test or something? I hope so. And who the heck let you get by with writing this junk??? This is pure garbage. Pure. Garbage.  

  7. And probably about 10% of those 14% are user-related issues. I know tons of people with iPhones that have had to have them replaced for one reason or another. Even the iPHone 3g I owned for a year had headphone and volume issues to the point that it became unusable.  So this report IMO is worthless.  On the inside all these phones are similar (iPhones / Androids). They are all are made primarily in China/Korea.

  8. when i brick my phone through rooting, i called verizon and told them my phone cant turn on haha add that to failure rate :)

  9. Or is it just that the software is so much better that there are much less software related issues?

    Lies, damn lies and statistics…

  10. My cousin has a DROID X and bashes it every day, I mean bashes Android OS every day, but it is her incompetence that is the issue. She is on Facebook daily complaining, but when I replied to ask if she ever room the phone back to Verizon to get checked, she shlaid she didn’t have to because when her contract is up, she is getting an iPhone. I wished her luck.

    But this is the thought of any user who thinks technology should know what they want and work for them. I know that Android has its issues, but so does Apple and all the others.

    1. Shouldn’t have gone with Motorola.

      1. I’ll take just about any Motorola phone over an Apple. Just sayin…

        1. Hahaha point taken ^_^

  11. @twitter-88873640:disqus , I was thinking the same thing. They don’t really filter out people who were attempting to root their phone or otherwise do things that would void their warranties. I think that adds to the failure rate.

  12. How many iPhone users just go directly to the Apple store or contact Apple instead of calling their provider?  A single data point that doesn’t mean anything.

    1. This is a very good point, I think Apple consumers are trained in only dealing with Apple.

      I knew someone who took their iphone to the Apple store as the ringer was quiet.  It turns out they left some of the protective plastic on which was covering the speaker.

      1. That makes me sad for the human race.

      2. what the hell? -_________________-

    2. Not to mention, most likely, iPhone users see defects as “features”…  Like the death grip.  It’s a “feature”.

    3. There aren’t that many apple stores though, unless you’re in a major city and in a nice area you’re not close to an apple store. And why can’t people call up samsung or htc? Or can you call google for support? No, that means they offer poor customer service.

      1. What is it now. 600k android activations per day and still Google has no CS?
        illustrates just how much Google gives a shit about its users.

        1. 500K. Although, let’s be honest, Ruben was probably only tweeting that to stem the tide of articles about Android’s market share dropping recently. I’d be careful using activations or market share to build a case that Google’s lack of customer service doesn’t matter.

      2. Ah but for an apple fan visiting the apple store is like a muslim doing a pilgrimage to Mecca, no distance is too far.  Also, to be fair the iphone users I do know who have had an issue (and there are plenty) have all had their iphones replaced very quickly when it’s been a fault.  Google’s weak point is with their support and reliance on third parties (therefore the network providers) who are terrible at dealing with hardware issues.  So long as you’re locked into a contract they really couldn’t careless.

    4. That’s a valid point, but you could turn that argument around and say Apple provides better customer service by giving its buyers a convenient place to bring problems instead of dealing with someone over the phone. I don’t see that as much of a defense and just begs the question of why Verizon or Google or someone in the Android-sphere doesn’t provide a better way to get help.

  13. Damn, Chavez…. This is one of 2 consecutive articles bagging on Android users. Who pissed in your cheerios?

  14. my Android experience. First phone Motorola backflip horrible hardware underpowered lots of problems. Second Galaxy S, no problems with hardware at all. I have rooted and tried over twenty different version of custom Rom and still works. Last and best HTC INSPIRE. HTC is the king of Android phones. Once you try one you will not go back to any other brand. Peace.

  15. obviously the iphone is going to have less problems i mean they have been using the same software for the past 4 years with very minimal change. I mean every android os change is a huge change and takes more to get the hardware/software to work with it. IOS only now changes include things that have been in android for awhile

  16. HTC and Motorola in my opinion have best hardware.  I just wish their cameras were better.  I was playing with phones today at BB and the Samsung Focus (WP7) has the best phone camera I have ever seen.  I actually got mad for a second.

  17. Unlike iOS, Android comes in more than 1 smartphone a year. It does not need to be fair. You want a dedicated keyboard-check. You want a screen bigger than 3.5″? Check. You want a device that can access amazing data speeds? LTE check. Etc, etc. This is why Android is number 1 in WORLD WIDE MARKET SHARE. Not just selling well here or that country. Android is in more hands than iOS is. One device a year cannot defeat an army. Is it fair? Lifes not fair. People have a choice. And the majority pick phones that have Android on it.

  18. Obviously there are way more android driven devices I say no shit its the fastest growing os

  19. I have a DROID X with OTA gingerbread, but I still get random reboots. I dunno if its the OS or the hardware but I don’t like it. Fragmentation is a huge problem with android. Manufacturers need to focus on each phone, Taylor android to every specific difference between phones, because in all reality not all phone hardware is created equal. It would be nice to have an OS that will mesh perfectly with any hardware setup, and that’s why the manufacturers are jumping aboard the android band wagon, thinking they found their easy ticket out of custom tailored OS. I think another 2 years of this bull dung and we will finally have smooth sailing. This is where APPLE shines: presentation. Something the android peeps need to work on.

  20. So far, I like HTC the most.  Their hardware is by far the highest quality.  Unfortunately, I don’t think they are the most advanced.  Samsung seems to have some of the most advanced specs, but their phones always feel like cheap plastic to me.  Not to mention their inability to actually update their phones.  HTC rocks in that department.  Of course, if they don’t figure out how to root the EVO 3D, I’ll have to pass.

    1. Yeah I can’t get over how samsung builds their phones..but I Wish I could throw that samsung amoled screen on my EVO3D

    2. They use 16-bit displays… That is why I don’t use HTC.

    3. Are you kiddin me? There are way more updates,from samsung comparing to htc. Loads more.

      And the build quality is super fine.
      Please don’t talk if you havent used a galaxy s (ii) phone! I was a htc user for a long period but tired of their decision to put the cheapest hardware in their phones.

  21. Hell, I figured it would be much higher when you factor in how many piece of ish Android Phones exist

  22. The big percentage of Android failures are clueless people who use one click root methods and then screw up their phone doing something stupid one way or another.

    1. Not sure where that statistic comes from…

  23. Android sells more phones. 

    iPhones are taken to the Apple store not the carrier. 

    There is no story here…

  24. My HTC myTouch 3g lasted 23 months.. never called customer service even once.. it was still working fine when the SIM was put into the Sensation.. Of course I have had a similar experience with my Internet connection.. In 7 years, I called customer support once when I moved to switch the service to the new address.. I think some people are just “technology sad sacks” who have nothing but problems.. kind of like how some people have green thumbs and others can’t grow weeds.. So you throw things out like rooting, and your bound to have I lot of people who “think they can” who are going to have problems… Although it may make Android look bad, I have to wonder at the percentage of these calls that are from people who came from these “other” platforms because “now it’s cool” who are nothing but lame brains who bite off more than they can chew in trying to do these “cool things” that they read about.

  25. Why don’t they count the number of iPhone users that need help with setting their e-mail up?

  26. I’m going to be honest with you guys, I am an advanced tech supervisor at a wireless provider and part of my position is to analyze customers issues, how they’re addressed, call backs, etc. I am going to agree, far and away Android are the devices we exchange the most. Many people believe the hardware issues are just on the low end junky devices, but I will say the high end devices run into just as many issues. Android is great and trust me, I am a user as well myself; but the competing operating systems have a much higher success rate when it comes to being able to resolve the customers stated reason for calling. Not to mention RIM, Microsoft, and Apple offer superior support channels for us to further assist customers under circumstances outside of our intended scope of support.

  27. Fanboys should have paid more attention during Arithmetic and English class. 14% of the hardware found on devices running android failed for some reason or another. This means the operating system is not optimized.

  28. lol i read this post in my rss reader and thought it was from tipb , wth phandroid!

  29. Lies, damned li
    es and statistics.

    Android has best software as only 86%(100-16) of support calls were to report a software issue.
    iOs by comparison has well over 90% of support calls being about software problems.

    Perhaps its not the most intuitive UI after all…

  30. Granted I’ve only had HTC devices and only two of them a magic and dhe, but I’ve had no hardware problems. Contrast that worth my previous experience with palm handsets which I had problems worth every one

  31. I have never encountered a hardware issue with my Sony X10. Even after I fell into a lake with the phone in my pocket – it survived that with no loss. Neither G1 had an issue in the hardware department. Nook Color though has flimsy buttons and Volume Up hasn’t been working well from the very beginning. But we were talking about smartphones, right?

  32. Google
    iphone +cracked screen
    About 14,800,000 results

  33. I had 2 inc1’s, both bricked once each in a year. Replaced with Inc2, will be going back to iPhone whenever the next on is released. It’s been fun on Android, but it’s not for me.

  34. I agree with most of the comments about it being the user not the device, there a lot of people jumping on the android bandwagon.  Android is IMO for the more advanced users, its kind of like owning a classic 1969 Camaro, if you do not know how to take care of it you will have issues so just go out and buy a Honda Civic and leave the muscle cars to the people who know how to make them work unless you have a ton of extra cash to get it fixed.  The same goes for Android, I am for everyone owning a smartphone but c’mon.  I have a lot of friends that have purchased android phones after seeing mine and they all hit me up for support because their carriers don’t have a clue. I have owned the Droid and now own a Droid X and have only been using android for almost a couple years.  I don’t claim to be an expert but I have never had to call Verizon for anything.  I do my research in these forums and tell people all the time to check these forums out (they never do)  but they just call me.  If you don’t want to learn get a fruity device, if you want to see what kind of power android can unleash then check out Android but be warned that if you are not willing to learn how to use your device you might have issues.

    Before I got my first android device I had LG and Nokia phones and I was calling Verizon at least 2-3 times every 6 months and had several devices replaced.

  35. If iPhones could reliably make phone calls, maybe the users could get through to the carrier to register their complaints.   It’s hard to complain when your complaint call keeps getting dropped.

  36. HTC is outstanding in build quality.

  37. Plus after these stats, only a very few number of android phones can get the good new apps like hulu netflix or other video game apps business apps etc, so even if you bought a $200 android phone you can still have both bad hardware and severely limited software selection. Android has promise, but the early adopters are really getting screwed and robbed. 

  38. Without more numbers, this is meaningless.  If only 1% of Android users call for support, but 2% of iPhone users call for support, then you’re really looking at 0.14% of Android users having hardware issues, versus 0.16% for iPhone, so it can easily go either way.

  39. That’s because Iphoners are too stupid to know when something is wrong with their phone.

  40. How can Blackberry have only 8% hardware complaints?  The three I owned never worked right and I was always complaining.

    My Android is far from perfect but the only time I’ve called in the last 8 months was setting up the phone.

    1. Because the statistics are completely misrepresented. Read the article again.

  41. i work for verizon and most of our complaint are for blackberry

  42. I’m on my 5th Droid 1. First 2 had a loose 3.5mm headphone jack that caused audio to go in and out (hardware). Third had an issue with ghosting software (non-hardware). Fourth had an issue with the headphone jack (hardware). Now I’m on my fifth and the 3.5mm headphone jack is loose in addition to the right side of the touchscreen being non responsive (both hardware). Although since I was under warranty with the other phones, they were replaced by Verizon with minimal hassle. This one is out of warranty so I have to wait it out. I used to love my Motorola Q for the insane durability and build quality, but I’m beginning to question. BTW, I haven’t dropped any of the phones in any significant way. 

  43. This drives me nuts.

    So basically you’re saying that because windows 7 is on an HP PC that 97% of users complain about windows 7. This tells me you have no idea how software interacts with hardware. Windows 7 Has nothing to do with HP similar to how android has nothing to do with HTC. They’re separate entities.

    If a computer dies and it has linux on it does linux suck now? This logic is pure ignorance and the lack of understanding of how things work. 

    Yes you have to learn how to use a smart phone because it’s a mini computer in your pocket. Similar to how you have to learn windows or linux to use it correctly.

    Apple only has one type of hardware to program for while android has multiple hardware devices to program for. Android allows freedom of choice but the downside is it also has more bugs to work out because there is a wide range of hardware to program for.

    Similar to windows 7. Windows 7 works on multiple types of hardware based on the x86 instruction set. Android is designed for multiple types of processors. You can’t possibly understand the complexity of programming for multiple types of hardware so yes bugs do happen. Apple doesn’t have this problem because they have 1 laptop, 1 desktop, and 1 iphone to program for. Your choices are limited also.

    When windows 7 is on junky hardware do you blame the computer or the OS?

    Android is an operating system not a phone similar to windows 7 is an operating system and not a computer.

    Please learn to distinguish the two as they are different. 

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