End of honeymoon for smartphones, claims end-user study

As smartphones become more affordable and uptake increases, operators and handset vendors might need to bolster their customer service resources if a new study into end-user experiences is believed.

According to the system and device testing company, Fanfare, smartphone owners are regularly experiencing problems such as application glitches, compatibility issues, crashing and freezing, yet are unclear as to whether these can be attributed to the handset, network or individual applications. More than half the respondents were likely to blame individual handset manufacturers for problems and 58 per cent would not hesitate to publicise their dissatisfaction first via social media.

Fanfare claims that the results point towards an end to the honeymoon period for smartphones and mobile applications. "Apps have become the driving force behind the mobile industry," said David Gehringer, VP of marketing at Fanfare. "But now that the novelty is wearing off, users want their applications to be more reliable. This research shows that the average smartphone user doesn't know the cause of technical problems, but half will instinctively blame their handset manufacturer--most likely switching brand when the opportunity arises. The reality is that it is very hard to tell who is at fault for the glitches that smartphone users are experiencing."

"Social media buzz has a huge impact on the success of products and services and, unfortunately for smartphone brands, they are suffering online," continued Gehringer. "Historically, time to market was the driving force behind development, but we've seen the consequences when products are rushed out--if a handset falters or fails, it only takes a few tweets or a couple of blog posts for a PR disaster to escalate out of control."

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