Retailers: Mobile software bugs on the rise

Consumers are reporting a dramatic increase in mobile software problems, to the point that retailers now expect new smartphones and touchscreen devices to suffer from bugs, according to a report published by MobileToday. While manufacturers and operators say they are working more closely to anticipate software performance issues ahead of a handset launch, some retailers counter that bugs are so widespread they are now weary of carrying brand-new devices, preferring to sit tight a few weeks before stocking them. One Carphone Warehouse staffer says consumers share employee concerns: "People now ask us if we think it is better to wait."

The MobileToday report speculates the root of the problem lies in the disconnect between the manufacturer's software and the operator's settings and services, noting that issues typically begin to surface in the time between the device's launch and its arrival in stores, which corresponds with the period when network software is applied to devices. As a result, some handset makers are now streamlining the software they add to a device--according to an employee in a Nokia refurbishment company, "Minimal software is put on by the manufacturer as it has to go hand-in-hand with the networks."

Another major concern: Competitive pressures. Manufacturers want to bring their cutting-edge phones to market in advance of their rivals, and operators want to be the first on the block to offer the latest devices. "The biggest issue is when they (networks) rush it out too early," said a senior manufacturer buyer. Although some question whether it's possible to anticipate every potential pitfall regardless of the preparation time involved, a manufacturer source disagrees, countering "Of course you can test for every eventuality. It depends on how much time and money they are willing to give."

For more on the mobile software debate:
- read this Mobile Today article

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