Are Most Smartphones Poorly Designed?
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Early adoption has a certain risk. But in most cases, being an early adopter of technology isn't always a bad thing. Tech toys are usually designed relatively well out of the box. They might have some software glitches and we might see some imperfections, but many of us have had few issues with new technology, so we choose to keep buying it when it's released, rather than wait.
But smartphones haven't followed suit.
Quite the contrary, they have followed a pattern over the past few years that might eventually make some shy away from early adoption. From the iPhone to the Palm Pre, each of the "next-gen" smartphones have caused some trouble for early adopters.
According to a recent report, the Palm Pre is one of the biggest culprits. Some owners have been forced to return their Palm Pre three to four times just to get one that works properly. Others have complained that the Pre has a gap between the two halves of the phone, the screen isn't secure enough, some devices are shipping with dead pixels, and the phone is powering off whenever they open the sliding screen.
Palm has stayed relatively silent on the issue, opting instead to manufacture more devices. It might be a strategy that will work for a while, but if it continues and the Pre keeps gaining popularity, Palm will be forced to admit its mistakes.
But then again, why should it? When Apple released the iPhone 3GS, it experienced activation issues, causing some to go without a phone for a weekend. When the first-gen iPhone was released, it too experienced hardware issues that caused many to bring it back for a new one. The same can be said for the iPhone 3G, the BlackBerry Storm, and even the T-Mobile G1. All were affected by varying degrees of failures.
So, what's the deal? Why is this happening?
Undoubtedly, it's based in an issue that all these companies are facing: the need to manufacture products to meet demand. When supply is low, but demand is high, production is coveted over quality. When that happens, more errors will arise. In turn, more customers will have problems.
Realizing that, it's important that we all consider this before we buy highly coveted products the day they're released.
Early adoption is great, but it carries some serious risks that many of us choose to ignore. And it has been the worst in the smartphone space.
Oddly, that has yet to cause problems for companies releasing smartphones. Apple is enjoying strong demand for its iPhone 3GS. Palm is still selling quiet a few Palm Pre devices. And although it's been sitting in the shadows of recent releases, the T-Mobile G1 is still the best touchscreen smartphone available for that carrier.
So, perhaps hardware issues don't really matter in the smartphone space. Users are happy with their touchscreen devices, they want more of them, and in most cases, they're willing to stand in line just to get their hands on them.
Defects or not, smartphones are getting a pass.
That's unfortunate. Defects should never be ignored -- they should be penalized. But in the smartphone space, it's quite the opposite. And as long as that goes on, the more issues that will arise. And the more likely it is that we will be forced to deal with defective products.