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March 3, 2010

Smartphone users disappointed with devices

'Honeymoon over' says Fanfare

By Steve Evans

New research from testing services company Fanfare has revealed that most smartphone users are unhappy with handset and application performance.

Despite huge sales of Apple’s iPhone, BlackBerrys, HTC devices and many others, as well a billions of app downloads, users are disappointed with the services they are recieving.

Over half of those quizzed (57%) claimed to be disappointed with the performance of their smartphone, with the main criticisms concerning streaming media, web browsers and social networking applications, suggesting that users are struggling with the slow Internet speeds offered by mobile broadband providers.

This corresponds with a survey by Broadband Genie that found most mobile broadband speeds are falling way below advertised top speeds. The survey found that the average user experience was just 0.87Mbps – only 24% of the top-end speed offered by mobile firms.

When experiencing problems with their smartphones, users do not know where to turn. Over half (55%) cannot tell whether individual problems stem from the handset or the mobile network. As a result, 53% instinctively blame the smartphone manufacturer whenever an issue arises, the survey said.

Fanfare also found that unhappy smartphone owners are likely to vent their frustrations on social networking sites (58%) or to friends and family (57%). The purchasing decisions of 76% are influenced by criticisms from friends and family, and 64% listen to criticisms received via social media, which has repercussions for sales figures.

Fanfare claims these results signal an end to the honeymoon period for smartphones and mobile applications, as consumers are no longer happy to place fashion over functionality.

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“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, but by collaborating over testing, the phone makers, networks and application builders can give customers a better experience and reduce the chance of customer churn,” said David Gehringer, vice president of marketing at Fanfare.


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