Smartphones not up to scratch: official

Quality, functionality and customer service way below par

Research among business Smartphone user focus groups has shown that many have concerns about quality, functionality and customer service.

Mobile software specialist Intuwave's investigation found that inadequately tested devices, product returns and services simply not working were key factors in IT managers' lack of confidence in Smartphone technology. Indeed, just 40 per cent rated such devices as a business tool.

Intuwave veep Andrew Wyatt, explained: "These are not just ‘nice to haves’: inadequately tested devices lead to product returns or - worst case scenario - product recalls that are costly and embarrassing while poorly set up phones are a key reason why operator support costs are set to escalate.

"Smartphones are growing in complexity and taking on many of the functions traditionally associated with the PC, so the industry needs a way of applying mature, automated testing procedures and the remote ‘diagnose and fix’ tools associated with the PC world to mobile devices. If this isn’t achieved, then the entire industry will simply haemorrhage money as Smartphones are adopted in greater numbers."

Key problems encountered by members of the focus group included core data services - such as MMS - not working properly, the complexity of setting up services and poor quality of support. One HR manager commented: "Feedback has been mixed; as a tool Smartphones are very useful but the set-up has caused more than a few headaches."

Clearly, operators must shape up if they are to maximise profit from business users - their most profitable and least price-sensitive market segment.

Wyatt concludes: "If services don’t work out of the box as they should then people simply won’t use them. Addressing testing and customer and service issues will therefore not only cut costs but increase revenues." ®

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