Study: BlackBerry has twice the failure rate of iPhone

Study: BlackBerry has twice the failure rate of iPhone

Summary: Apple's iPhone has half the failure rate of RIM's BlackBerry in the first year of use, a study carried out by a mobile-phone warranty firm has found.

Apple's iPhone has half the failure rate of RIM's BlackBerry in the first year of use, a study carried out by a mobile-phone warranty firm has found.

The SquareTrade study

Figures from the analyst firm Canalysys, released last week, showed Apple has now overtaken RIM in the global smartphone sales stakes.

SquareTrade had to project their figures for the iPhone's failure rate over a two-year period, as the handset has not been available for that long — nonetheless, that rate came in at between nine to 11 percent. The equivalent failure rate for BlackBerry handsets was 14.3 percent, with the Treo coming in at 21 percent.

Breaking the figures down, the most prominent malfunctions for iPhone users appear to be touchscreen-related, accounting for a third of all reported issues with that handset. However, 12 percent of iPhone users reported accidental damage to their handsets within the first year of use — the average for other handsets is nine percent.

"It's likely that any iPhone owner can guess the reason iPhone accidents are so common," the authors wrote. "After two minutes of handling an iPhone, it's impossible to escape noticing that the handsets are incredibly slippery. The form doesn't help, either. The dimensions make for a difficult grip, especially for those with small hands. These two factors conspire to make the iPhone more accident prone than just about any other handset model we've seen."

The report's authors also noted that fewer than half-a-percent of iPhone owners reported battery problems after a year of use, compared with around one percent for BlackBerry and Treo users.

SquareTrade's study did not take into account software issues handled directly by the retailer or fixed by firmware updates.

ZDNet UK has requested comment on SquareTrade's report from both RIM and Apple, but had not received it at the time of writing.

Topics: Hardware, Apple, iPhone, Mobility, BlackBerry

David Meyer

About David Meyer

David Meyer is a freelance technology journalist. He fell into journalism when he realised his musical career wouldn't pay the bills. David's main focus is on communications, as well as internet technologies, regulation and mobile devices.

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  • Is the study a little ambiguous?

    [i]SquareTrade randomly selected 6,678 BlackBerry, 5,651 Treo, and 4,902 iPhone handsets[/i]

    With a higher sampling, you recieve more precise data. Should not the selected phones for the study have been at the same amount?

    Plus, "The Blackberry" could be one of several models, with one particular model having a much higher failure rate as opposed to the other models that may actually be lower then the iPhone.

    It is like saying the Ford Focus has a much smaller failure rate then Chrysler.
    • Useless.

      What is the margin of error of such study?. 10%, 20% or even higher?.
    • Getting more data points

      Might not help much, assuming they used a statistically sound sample. Once you go past 1000 samples you don't get much better.

      The fact that they ignore problems taken care of at the Retail store bothers me more, though. Why aren't those counted as problems? I'd say that would definitely skew the results.
  • How is it double?

    Perhaps I am reading it wrong, but how is it double?

    11% versus 14.3% isn't double
    • That's for 2 years..

      The 11%/14.3% figures were the cumulative total when projected over 2 years. The "twice the failure rate" presumably comes from whatever the figures were for just the first year (they aren't mentioned specifically in this article)
      • The first year failure rates...

        are specifically discussed in the study. Follow the link.
    • Introducing the iFail

      The newest trick in journalism isn't to actually comprehend the statistics, but to make them up as we go along.

      iFail @ Math
      iFail @ Comprehension
      iFail @ Writing

      You to can learn how to be a ZDnet editor and use the iFail
    • Try reading the article..

      and follow the link to the study.
    • Double = battery?

      Perhaps they meant the battery rate.

      In these ad-paid internet days, the truth of headlines is meaningless. It's getting people to click that's important.
  • RE: Study: BlackBerry has twice the failure rate of iPhone

    Many corporate Blackberry users fraudulently "fail" their devices in order to get upgraded handsets or to replace fully-working handsets that just have a lot of cosmetic wear and tear. I have seen this frequently in three different organizations...
    JC Gator
    • Exactly. Need to compare Apples to apples

      Pun intended.

      They should be comparing consumer purchased and company purchased separately. People dont intentionally introduce failures to get upgrades if they have to pay for them out of their own pocket.

      This is like the studies that find higher failures of birth control in women who want children than those who dont or already have all they want.
      Johnny Vegas
  • RE: Study: BlackBerry has twice the failure rate of iPhone

    Apple has learned from the mistakes of others. What was their failure rate this year?
  • RE: Study: BlackBerry has twice the failure rate of iPhone

    I never could get into BlackBerry, and I've bought phones three times the past 6 years. I finally ended up with this newest iPhone 3g and I think I've dropped it exactly once... I wouldda thought it was made by Timex the way it "takes a licking and keeps on ticking"...only in this day and age most people would worry if they heard a cell phone ticking!!!! eh oh!
  • RE: Study: BlackBerry has twice the failure rate of iPhone

    That was probably all of the data in the failure claims database with more data being available for the older models. Statistically I would say they have pretty large data sets to pull data from, certainly as large as any I used in University level stats courses. With this large a sample their margin of error is probably in the under 2% range.

    While there are multiple models of Blackberry and Treo available there is only one modle of iPhone available. Multiple models would smooth out the data from bad models so it is pitting the one Apple product, good or bad, against the averaged out industry trends. In that case I would say the iPhone is doing pretty well.
  • Fail & SquareTrade

    "SquareTrade had to project". Um, no they didn't. They could have simply used the time frame available, and if that was too short a time, then obviously the study shouldn't have taken place until data was available.
  • RE: Study: BlackBerry has twice the failure rate of iPhone

    erm... I may only have a minor in math, but when a title says the blackberry fails 2x the iphone, I done expect 9-11% and 14%. Last time I checked, 9*2=18, which is significant larger than 14%. Either the people who make these claims should stop sucking the crack off the dicks of the iphone people, or Steve Jobs should be idited for bribing ZDnet, cause for SURE this is not objective journalism, and i don't care how many people get pissed off,


    End of story bitches.
  • RE: Study: BlackBerry has twice the failure rate of iPhone

    I have strong, albeit anecdotal, evidence that a large number of "failures" of the BlackBerry Pearl were a result of (1) too little device memory [arguably a poor design decision but not a product defect] and (2) usage errors by the owner that caused memory to become too full.

    Kelly Carter
  • RE: Study: BlackBerry has twice the failure rate of iPhone

    i agree,i use a blackberry pearl 8100 (11 months old)
    and sometimes the phone hangs and also the phone back
    cover has a major problem it just doesn't hold after a
    few months,And yes the warranty is also expensive.
  • RE: Study: BlackBerry has twice the failure rate of iPhone

    Uh, before you rant, try reading the study which is a link in
    article ... double is the one year ACTUAL failure rate. The
    numbers you are using are from the intro which they clearly
    state are projected NOT ACTUAL rates.
  • RE: Study: BlackBerry has twice the failure rate of iPhone

    I am glad to see that iPhone sales have surpassed
    Blackberry. It's a much better device overall (maybe not
    better for typing yet), and it has made the mobile
    experience so much more than phone and email. RIM has
    clearly recognized this and they rushed the copycat Storm
    to market (before it was ready) in a validation of Apple's
    success. I'm not at all a fan of one company owning the
    market as I think that lessens competition and weakens
    product innovation, so I hope that RIM gets it right with
    Version 2 or that Microsoft comes out with something
    compelling to raise the bar again. Also, of course I can't
    wait to see what iPhone V3 has in store for us ... :-)