Some 44.8 per cent said they occasionally encounter problems with new apps, while 28.8 per cent said they continually did - 73.6 per cent in total.
A little more than 62 per cent of respondents said firmware updates had sorted out their difficulties, so it's no surprise that 87.8 per cent of smartphone users said they don't rush out to buy new models but prefer to wait to be sure any glitches have been ironed out. The figures above suggest they don't wait long enough, perhaps.
The surveyed smartphone owners have problems will connected applications. Streaming media, web browsers and social networking tools topped the list of problem apps well above any other.
Yet the respondents more readily blame the handset's manufacturer rather than carriers. Some 53.6 per cent of respondents blame the company that made their phone. Just under ten per cent said they blame the network provider, and 15.2 per cent said they apportion blame according to what the problem is, effectively increasing both of the above percentages.
When it comes to identifying the source of the problem - phone or network - 54.4 per cent said they couldn't tell. But 21.6 per cent said they could, to which we should add the 14.4 per cent who said it depends on the problem - 36 per cent all up.
Most respondents - 60.8 per cent - said they would have to be continually experiencing problems before they would change networks. Some 17.6 per cent said they'd switch if they occasionally had trouble with their phones, 13.6 per cent if the woes occurred rarely, and eight per cent would change if they experience just one problem.
Only 19.8 per cent of folk said they didn't tell others about their dissatisfaction with smartphone performance. The rest complain to friends, family and social network connections. Some even write to the papers.
Unsurprisingly, they all take note when others tell them about troublesome telephones.
They're a pessimistic group too: 90 per cent of respondents said they expect the next generation of handsets to be less reliable that the current array. Vendors, take note. ®
Branding and money
Vodafone and Orange at least still do the branding thing on handsets. At least *that's* what they say. What they mean is that they put a load of chargeable services somewhere where you can set them off accidentally (e.g. in the days before reasonable data plans, Orange used to put the web browser next to the SMS on their toolbar).
One thing you can say, though, they /never/ make the phone more usable and they almost always decimate the performance.
I've had this argument with the sales/support people numerous times:
If it's /my/ handset that I am buying off you, then I want it unbranded and unlocked.
If it's *your* handset that I'm renting off you, then I want proper hardware maintenance and replacement just like I would with anything else I rent.
Not that any of them understand, though.
Next gen less reliable... maybe not?
At the moment, especially in the ACTUAL smartphone world, we have some new platforms emerging (and I'm including the iPhone here really) - we've got quite a bit of embedded linux coming through (Maemo, Android) and the stripped back OSX on the iPhones has some unixy bits at its' heart.
These OSs come from a long line of OS cores stretching way way WAY back to when a single monolithic machine used to service hundreds of people who interacted through dumb terminals, sharing CPU time and resources with everybody else. I studied IT just at the tail end of this era, just before the Uni I was at replaced the VAX systems we were using with clusters of the latest Sun workstations.
Crucially, the Unix OS core these huge machines used to run persisted. This case-hardened core is now in these smartphones, so although the stuff on top will probably remain a little flaky in some OSs, the core should be relatively solid.
"Feature Phone" OSs had the problem that their OS core wasn't up to the task: Symbian's issue was that Series 60 was frankly shite (although my UIQ handsets were pretty bad for crashes as well).
As for blackberry? Well, I've used a Pearl, and frankly it's the clunkiest horror I've come across, but I couldn't comment on the stability of the platform as I couldn't bear to use it for more than 5 minutes... yuk.
I think smartphones will actuall get pretty reliable - and this is coming from a mobile phone software test engineer of 7 years industry experience, where I saw Feature Phone OS platforms stretched to their capacity in terms of what they were being asked to do.
Perhaps what we finally have here is a convergence of hardware and software: hardware fast enough to run full blown OSs, and software which can finally be in your hand and survive to perform some complex and useful computing tasks.
I think this is a good time - but maybe not for existing manufacturers: who wants another smartphone every 12 months? If the hardware is surviving, and the OS is patched with updates issued (e.g. Apple) to get you the latest version (minus new H/W features of course) then maybe we'll look to keep our handsets much longer, so less profit there.
We live in interesting times. And yes, it does feel like Apple kicked the shit out of the encumbents and forced them to do something... esp Nokia, who still haven't formed a coherent strategy. Oh, and SE, who appear to be falling off the edge of the world.
"not willing to switch carriers."
I was willing to switch in a heart beat !
From (expire contract period) Orange to Vodaphone, who had the handset I wanted (N900). Surly anyone else would do the same; you almost certainly go to a better deal by moving too, in those circumstances.
Of course, Orange came out with the N900 a few weeks later, but they'd kept it secret from their sales and disconnections staff as well as the 'coming soon' web site, so their fault !