Here’s why studies on Android vs iPhone don’t work

Chris Burns - Nov 3, 2011
Here’s why studies on Android vs iPhone don’t work

This week a study has been done by a wireless service firm by the name of WDS and published by Reuters to offer up the idea that Android repair costs far outweigh their mass appeal due to their wide variety of shapes and sizes. On the other end of the conversation, they put the iPhone on a pedestal, saying that because there are only a few different types of iPhone on the market today, repair costs are low, this giving them a distinct advantage on the carriers they’re with. Let’s have a peek at what they’re saying and yes indeed, tear them apart if they’re wrong.

The story goes like this: WDS data is showing that “costly hardware failures” are more common on Android devices than on their Apple and RIM opponents. WDS also says that BlackBerry and iPhone devices have “strict control over the components used in their devices,” this therefor meaning, I suppose, that Android devices are, on the whole, poorly made. Rueter’s goes on to say, at this point in their article, that “cheaper Android models, costing as little as $100 to make, have helped Android emerge as the dominant platform in smartphones” noting that there’s a range of vendors out there with Samsung Electronics Co Ltd on one end and “no-brand Asian vendors” on the other.

Image above via Android Community.

Tim Deluca-Smith, Vice President of Marketing at WDS, goes so far as to say

“While this price point sounds very attractive, when you look at a total cost of ownership its a different story. … At the moment, Android is a bit of the Wild West.” – Deluca-Smith

This fellow Deluca-Smith noted in the study with WDS that a device will cost an operator (that’s you) an average of 80 British pounds in service costs, replacement costs, or transport fees — through its lifespan, we must assume, this point not made clear. The study, incase you were wondering, was done with 600,000 technical support calls taken by WDS across North America, South Africa, Europe, and Australia.

But they’ve forgotten to mention, first, the most important point: Apple has their own technical support service. Apple has a network of support that’s promoted as much as the iPhone itself — then here’s the breakdown by WDS: “14% of technical support calls on Android relate to hardware, versus 11% for Windows Phone, 7% for iOS and 6% for BlackBerry OS.” You’ll notice that Windows Phone is nearly as high on the list as Android but that the study itself is titled “Controlling the Android.”

Here’s my question to you, ladies and gentlemen: do you think the results would be the same if they’d broken down the Android OS down to manufacturers, a thing they should certainly have done since the study is on hardware rather than software?

Deluca-Smith adds the following snippet of information on the subject to make sure you understand that their findings are going to be spun one way or another depending on the bias of the blog:

“One thing we must be absolutely clear on is that our analysis does not find any inherent fault with the Android platform. Its openness has enabled the ecosystem to grow to a phenomenal size, at a phenomenal rate, and it’s this success that is proving challenging.” – Deluca-Smith

What do you think?

The original study can be found at WDS if you’d like to take it apart further and come back here and chat about it.

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