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Over Half of Smartphone Users Are Disappointed With Handset and Apps

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System and device testing company, Fanfare, has announced the results of a survey into end user perspectives on smartphone performance. The research shows that 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 (53%) are likely to blame individual handset manufacturers for problems and 58% would not hesitate to publicise their dissatisfaction first via social media.

According to the survey, over half of respondents (57%) are disappointed with the overall performance of their smartphone. Streaming media, web browsers and social networking applications are causing the most problems for smartphone users. Nearly a third (29%) experience 'continual' problems with newly acquired applications, and 64% of respondents have required some form of software patching to fix issues on their smartphone.

Smartphone owners are also most likely to vocalise their dissatisfaction through social networking sites (58%) and to friends and family (57%). At the same time, the purchasing decisions of 76% are influenced by criticisms from friends and family, and 64% will take heed of criticisms received via social media.

Overall the results point towards an end to the 'honeymoon period' for smartphones and mobile applications. As the market has matured, consumers are no longer happy to accept quality issues as a consequence of choosing a new, innovative or multi-functional handset, instead judging their mobile phones on how they perform on a day-to-day basis.

"Apps have become the driving force behind the mobile industry," said David Gehringer, vice president of marketing at Fanfare. "The Apple App Store and Android Market have served up billions of app downloads, giving smartphone owners the ability to use their phones in new and exciting ways. 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, 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."

The research also found that 29% of respondents claimed to encounter problems 'all the time', and they are more than willing to share negative experiences with others. The majority (58%) go straight to social networks to vent their concerns, while 57% will convey negative sentiment to friends and family. In terms of the consequent affect that this is having on consumer purchasing, 76% will take heed of smartphone criticisms from friends and family and 64% will acknowledge sentiments read on social networking websites.

"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. Unless more rigorous testing procedures are put in place, smartphone manufacturers are going to risk more of an impact on their bottom line."

Looking ahead, three quarters of respondents (74%) believed that handsets will become less reliable and that this is unacceptable. The vast majority (88%) said that they are happy to wait until handsets have proven reliability before purchasing - suggesting consumers are becoming more cautious as a result of negative experiences.

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Tags: android market