Study Finds High Failure Rates for Android, iOS Devices

Today's topics include a Blancco Technology Group report that found that Android and iOS devices are susceptible to failure, the news that the FCC and FTC are reviewing the effectiveness of the mobile device update process, word that Lenovo plans to release two new Moto X smartphones soon and an ABI Research study that outlines the pros and cons of smartphone refurbishment.

For the second quarter in a row, there were far more device failures in Android phones than iOS phones, according to Blancco Technology Group's Q1 2016 State of Mobile Device Performance and Health report.

Samsung topped the list of Android manufacturers with the highest rate of device failures worldwide, while the Samsung Galaxy S6 and iPhone 6 experienced the highest failure rates for Android and iOS models.

Crashing apps were diagnosed on 74 percent of Android devices tested and a significant portion of the top 10 Android crashing apps in the first quarter of the year were security-related, including Lookout, 360 Security, CM Security and AVG AntiVirus.

The report also found device failure rates were significantly higher in Asia than in North America and Europe.

The Federal Communications Commission and the Federal Trade Commission announced separately on May 9 that they are beginning reviews into how mobile service carriers and device makers handle security updates to determine if regulations need to be created to better protect consumers and business users from security threats that take advantage of old, unpatched computer code.

To investigate the complex security update environment, the FTC issued orders to eight mobile device makers—Apple, BlackBerry, Google, HTC America, LG Electronics USA, Microsoft, Motorola Mobility and Samsung Electronics America—"requiring them to provide the agency with information about how they issue security updates to address vulnerabilities in smartphones, tablets and other mobile devices."

Two new Moto X Android smartphone models, featuring replaceable, detachable modules that let users swap out components to gain features for different needs, are on their way from Lenovo's Moto division, according to recent rumors.

The upcoming all-metal Moto X handsets, which are being called the Vector Thin and the Vertex, both will reportedly include 5.5-inch AMOLED displays, but will differ in many other specifications, wrote Evan Blass, based on an interview with an unnamed source who is familiar with the phones.

David McQueen, an analyst with ABI Research, recently concluded that the global smartphone business could face new challenges from increased sales of cheaper, refurbished phones over the next five years, adding to the challenges device makers face to increasing their sales.

McQueen also suggested that as refurbished phone sales grow, that will ultimately cause some problems—as well as some potential benefits—for phone vendors. The eventual outcome depends largely on where those refurbished phones are sold, according to McQueen.

If they are sold in the United States, they could take away sales revenue from the flagship phones of vendors like Apple, Samsung and LG.

But if these handsets are sold in developing nations such as India, where flagship phones are too costly for most buyers, refurbished phones could help those vendors still generate money from content, apps and services, which would be a positive, said McQueen.

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