Android device returns and repairs are costing the world's operators up to $2 billion (€1.4 billion) per year, managed services firm WDS claims.
Global technical calls handled by the UK-based firm show that Android smartphones are more prone to hardware failure than rival products, resulting in many being returned to stores for repair or replacement – a more pricey option for operators than correcting software faults.
Of the 600,000 calls analysed, 14% related to Android hardware problems compared to 11% for Microsoft Windows Phones, 7% Apple, and RIM’s 6%.
“Android features heavily in almost all operators’ smartphone strategies. It’s clear from the evidence in this study that if they are to maximize their investment they must better manage how they bring Android products into their network, retail them and support them,” Tim Deluca-Smith, WDS’ marketing vice president, says.
Ways operators can improve management of Android smartphones include beefing up device testing to identify potential hardware weaknesses before handsets hit stores, and educating consumers with a view to minimizing technical support calls.
Deluca-Smith notes there is no inherent problem with Android devices. Instead, the open nature of the platform results in different implementations, which causes operator’s headaches. “Many operators are treating Android as a standard implementation with a consistent customer experience. This of course isn’t the case.
“This means that the way in which Android devices are retailed and supported must consider factors such as the hardware build and quality of components.”