Poetry Relies on Figurative Language Largely Because It
We Americans pay a hefty piece of our monthly upkeep–$eighty, on average–for the convenience (and fun) of owning a smartphone. In total, U.Southward. consumers volition spend $four.8 billion on smartphones and wireless services (voice and data messaging) in 2010, according to market research firm In-Stat.
With all that money being spent on mobile technology, you lot’d wait an affluence of critical research and analysis indicating which products and services work well for the money, and which don’t. But little data exists. That’s why PCWorld
initiated this survey, request owners of all kinds of smartphones to chronicle for their real-world experiences with buying, using, and troubleshooting the devices.
Maybe the primal finding of our survey is that smartphone owners have plenty of complaints, yet seem to willing to tolerate many of the shortcomings of their wireless service providers as well as the manufacturers of the phones. The survey asked the opinions of some 3500 smartphone owners during the month of October2009, and the results revealed mediocre or poor reliablity and ease of apply in a number of major smartphone brands, and poor problem resolution and network service from some major wireless service providers. Surprisingly, however, smartphone owners registered noticably low levels of dissatisfaction nigh these deficiencies.
Note: The per centum numbers contained in our survey results carry a margin of fault of iii.3 per centum unless otherwise indicated.
Who’due south Hot, and Who’s Non
The Apple tree iPhone, at to the lowest degree for now, is still the hottest and best-loved smartphone in utilise out. The carrier that sells and connects the device, AT&T, is, well, not so beloved. Verizon and Dart are the all-time-liked wireless carriers in the eyes of the smartphone users nosotros surveyed. (Notation:
Click on the thumbnail graphic to run across the full-size image.)
The idea of pairing the best device with the best (compatible) network–Verizon–has been the subject field of much speculation and debate over the past year, but Verizon’southward recent anti-iPhone advertising and the release of its “iPhone killer” Droid make that wedlock less likely.
The expert news is that both networks and devices are changing and then fast that Apple tree’south lockup with AT&T may non seem then important a yr from at present. Ameliorate devices running on faster networks are likely to enter the market in the coming months and years, especially if new competitors similar the cablevision companies, WiMax providers, and dark horses like Google begin selling smartphones and wireless service.
Tech Support: Many Problems Go Unresolved
Smartphones are complex devices, and becoming more so. This increases users’ reliance on service providers (and in some cases, handset manufacturers) to help keep the gadgets–little PCs, really–running and working properly. (Note:
Click on the chart image to run into our survey results on user satisfaction with technical support. And see “What Technical Support Ways” beneath this section for more than information on our measures of satisfaction in this surface area.)
Service providers are usually the first lines of support, shifting support issues over to the manufacturer of the phone but in astringent cases. Service providers end up handling users’ problems about 66 percent of the time, while smartphone manufacturers handle the trouble only about 21 per centum of the time, and electronics retailers practise then only 1 percent of the fourth dimension (the remaining 12 percent said “other” or “don’t know”).
Technical support must exist judged on how well, and how fast, it helps users troubleshoot problems as they arise. The combined back up systems (Web, telephone, and in-store) of service providers and manufacturers fail to fully resolve smartphone technical breakdowns in a surprisingly high per centum of cases. Of the smartphone owners who reported having had to call tech back up, 17 percent say their trouble was never resolved, while some other 21 percent say their problem was only “somewhat” (partly) resolved.
One carrier performed fifty-fifty worse than that: 19 percentage of the Sprint customers who answered our survey said their problem was never resolved, while another 28 percent said their problem was only partly resolved.
Nevertheless, smartphone users report moderate satisfaction with the technical support they’ve received. On a 7-point scale (with 1 existence “extremely dissatisfied” and 7 being “extremely satisfied”), readers ranked the 4 major service providers–AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, and Verizon–in the low five region, pregnant they were “somewhat satisfied” with service provider tech support services. Specifically, Verizon and T-Mobile each scored 5.4 out of 7; Sprint and AT&T each scored 5.2.
What the Measurements Hateful
The post-obit describes the criteria we used in our survey to measure out service providers’ technical back up.
Average telephone concur fourth dimension:
Based on the average time smartphone owners waited on hold to speak to a telephone support representative.
Phone service rating:
Based on a cumulative score derived from smartphone owners’ ratings of several aspects of their experience in phoning the company’s technical support service. Among the factors considered were whether the data was easy to understand, and whether the back up representative spoke clearly and knowledgeably.
Problem was never resolved:
Based on the percent of survey respondents who said the problem remained after they contacted technical support.
In-person service rating:
Based on a cumulative score derived from phone owners’ ratings of several aspects of technical support received at a service provider’s retail location. Amongst the factors considered were the ease of getting a representative’due south attention in the store, and the knowledge, fairness, and attitude of the rep.
Overall service rating:
Based on a cumulative score derived from smartphone owners’ responses to a serial of questions that focused on 11 specific aspects of their experience with the visitor’s service department.
To admission tech support, smartphone owners experiencing issues unremarkably elect to call (as opposed to using Web-based or in-store back up). And in general, smartphone users say they’re satisfied with the quality of the phone support they get from service providers.
We asked users to charge per unit the support departments on the quality of the data given, on the reps’ communication skills and problem-solving abilities, and on other criteria. Smartphone customers from all iv major carriers responded uniformly, and rather positively. Sprint customers gave its tech support an overall score of 5.6 out of 7, while AT&T, T-Mobile, and Verizon customers graded those companies’ tech back up a 5.vii out of vii.
Our report shows that, in 43 percent of cases, smartphone support issues are resolved through phone support lonely, and, in well-nigh 50 per centum of cases, after contact with just ane phone rep.
All the same, many of our survey takers expressed frustration. “Information technology took too long to solve the problem,” says Sprint Palm Pre user Javier D. Margo Jr. “I spent five hours continuously either chatting online or speaking directly, frequently to 2 different reps (i from Sprint, one from Palm) at the aforementioned time.”
“If they don’t know the answer or how to solve the problem, [they should] take the person’due south number, find the solution to the result, then call the person dorsum,” suggests one AT&T customer who asked that his name not be used. “That way,” he continues, “the customer doesn’t accept to wait through transfers and holds while somebody goes to ask somebody else.”
Sprint, Verizon Do Better on Hold Times
First impressions count, and frequently the showtime gustation of service provider back up that smartphone owners receive is the length of time they have to look on hold to speak to a rep.
We saw some existent differences in the hold times reported past customers of the four major wireless service providers. Dart and Verizon seemed to excel here; their customers reported average hold times of just 4.iv minutes and four.7 minutes, respectively. Meanwhile, AT&T and T-Mobile customers told us they waited on concord an average of 6.5 minutes and half-dozen.6 minutes, respectively.
Smartphone owners as a whole take mixed opinions about the acceptability of concord times. About 49 percent of our survey takers said hold times were completely acceptable, while 33 percent called them somewhat acceptable, and about eighteen percent considered them unacceptable.
In-Store Support: You May Have to Wait
Smartphone users are a bit more satisfied with the tech support they receive in service provider stores, compared with phone or online support. For 15 percent of smartphone issues, a visit to an AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, or Verizon shop provided a resolution to the outcome.
When asked about the attitude, cognition, problem-solving skills, and timeliness of in-store reps, subscribers graded staffers in AT&T and Verizon stores adequately well at 5.seven and 5.three, respectively, on our seven-point scale.
Our results propose that Sprint and Verizon may not have enough staff in stores to aid customers rapidly. Xxx-five percent of Sprint customers felt that they were kept waiting in the store too long before getting attending. About 28 percent of Verizon customers complained of long in-store wait times.
Next: Network Service
Sprint, Verizon Networks Are Best Liked
Without the networks that connect handsets to the Internet, smartphones are lilliputian better than paperweights. This network connectedness is where service providers make nearly of their profit, and client perceptions of the performance of those networks is hugely important to service providers. (Click on the chart epitome to see our survey results on users’ satisfaction with providers’ network service.)
Big wireless companies make thou claims like “America’south fastest” and “the nation’s well-nigh dependable,” based largely on their own research, and that provided past paid tertiary parties. Since commissioned studies can lead to biased results, we turned to real-world wireless customers to learn about the value of the major wireless services. Specifically nosotros asked smartphone owners to class the speed and reliability of their Internet connection, and the quality of their vocalisation calls.
We institute that among the large iv carriers, Sprint’due south customers are happiest overall with the performance of their network. In particular, Sprint customers like the speed and reliability with which the Sprint network connects them to the Internet. More than 70 percent of Sprint’southward customers said that they were “very satisfied” or “extremely satisfied” with the speed of their smartphone’s cyberspace connection. Sprint scored even better on the reliability of its network when connecting: Almost 80 pct of Sprint subscribers in the survey said that they were highly satisfied.
Verizon won the twenty-four hours on pure vocalisation-call quality, with almost 85 percent of its subscribers saying they were highly satisfied with the sound and connection quality of calls. Dart came in a close 2nd, with almost 85 per centum of its subscribers maxim they were either very or extremely satisfied with the quality of voice service.
The AT&Tand T-Mobile networks didn’t fair too badly in our survey either. Both scored well, betwixt the 70th and 80th percentiles (forth with Sprint and Verizon) in terms of overall satisfaction with network service.
AT&T and T-Mobile did stumble in a couple of central areas, however. Only 59 percent of T-Mobile subscribers described themselves as highly satisfied with the speed of their wireless Internet connection. T-Mobile’s competitors all scored higher up the 65th percentile in this surface area.
AT&T fared poorly on voice-call quality. Though 74 percent of the company’s subscribers in our survey said they were completely satisfied with call quality, AT&T’southward competitors each scored well above the 80th percentile on this measurement.
Some anecdotal testify suggests that AT&T’s voice network functioning is highly variable from coverage area to coverage area, and even from fourth dimension to fourth dimension, as in the example provided by AT&T subscriber and iPhone user Tammy Zink:
“A yr ago, when I first got the phone, I was worried nearly AT&T’s reputation, but AT&T’s call service was fabled–no dropped calls, swell reception all the time. All the same, in past six months, almost every telephone call is dropped, and reception is lousy. I at present cringe when the telephone rings or I have to make an important telephone call.”
Over the past two years, smartphones, and the iPhone in detail, take caused wireless Internet usage to rocket upwards. To better accommodate the need, AT&T and other providers have been “tuning” their networks. Equally network resources are shifted to bolster one service, even so, another service may endure–in this case, voice service.
The findings of a new survey by Consumer Reports
seem to agree with our results. Consumer Reports
asked subscribers of the major wireless providers in 26 cities for their thoughts about their jail cell phone service, and constitute that AT&T subscribers were the “least satisfied” of all in xix of those cities.
AT&T had the same general reaction to Consumer Reports’
findings as it did to ours, maxim neither study paints a truthful picture of U.S. wireless users’ experience.
AT&T points to its own third-party research showing that its network is not simply the fastest in the The states, but is also among the all-time regarding dropped calls. “In i of the most common measures of reliability–dropped calls–AT&T’s national performance is within ii-tenths of i per centum of the highest score among major providers, with only 1.32 percent of calls dropped nationally,” says AT&T spokesperson Jenny Bridges in an electronic mail to PCWorld.
She adds: “That translates to a difference of less than two calls out of grand.”
So far, AT&T has suffered well-nigh from the network-taxing furnishings of escalating information service usage, but it may exist Verizon’s plough in 2010. With the release of its impressive Droid phone (and others), Verizon might find its wireless customers demanding unprecedented amounts of Web connectivity.
Adjacent: Ease of Utilise
Ease of Use: Comparing Apples to Lemons?
According to our survey takers, Apple’s iPhone remains in a league of its own when it comes to ease of apply. Office of the vast appeal of the device is its pattern–inside and out. Aesthetically pleasing, the iPhone’southward user interface looks uncomplicated and intuitive, helping owners access its many functions. (Click on the chart image to come across our survey results on the ease of use of smartphones from various major manufacturers.)
We asked smartphone owners ten questions about the ease of use their handsets, including how satisfied they were with the ease of using nine of the about important functions–things like browsing the Net, syncing data, sharing files, taking pictures, and playing music and video.
The iPhone scored college than its peers in all merely one of those areas (users gave the iPhone but an “average” score on the quality of the photos and videos it shoots). When asked about their overall satisfaction with their telephone’s ease of use, 82 percent of iPhone owners said they were “very” or “extremely” satisfied with their device.
Apple Will Exist Challenged
Merely this state of affairs won’t terminal. A new wave of Google Android-powered phones, such as Verizon’s Droid, volition almost certainly rival the iPhone in ease of employ. At the fourth dimension of our survey, nevertheless, the new Android phones were non in use in high enough numbers to affect our results. Next year’s survey will likely tell a different story.
“According to the feedback I’ve gotten from companies that design user interfaces for smartphones, the consensus is that the iPhone interface has gotten a niggling dated,” IDG mobile device applied science analyst Will Stofega says.
With Android, Stofega adds, Google “has done a very squeamish job on its interface, and I wait it to exist very popular, depending on how it’south implemented.”
And Android phones won’t exist the only ones gunning for Apple’s ease-of-use throne in the coming months. Stofega points out that Nokia is pushing hard to develop its own Symbian operating system to meet and surpass the ease-of-utilize standard that the iPhone prepare. New phones using this updated and touchscreen-friendly operating organization should begin appearing during 2010.
But today, Apple merely dominates its competitors in design. Apple’s closest rival in this expanse was Nokia, which earned just one college-than-boilerplate score–that for the ease of use of the cameras in its smartphones. Nokia placed second in “overall reliability,” but with a paltry 59 percentage of owners reporting high satisfaction with ease of employ.
Among those fairing almost poorly with survey takers in ease of use were HTC, Motorola, RIM (BlackBerry), and Samsung. Asked about the overall ease of use of their devices, 55 percent of BlackBerry users were completely satisfied, while just 45 percent of HTC owners, 43 percent of Samsung users, and 42 percent of Motorola phone users were completely satisfied.
Samsung owners gave their phones worse than boilerplate marks in all ease-of-utilize categories save 2–both having to do with the video cameras in the phones. (Samsung chose not to release whatsoever comments on the results of our survey.)
Motorola users expressed frustration with the ease of setting up their phones, syncing data with computers, browsing the Internet, and locating and playing dorsum music and video. Motorola phones also received below-average marks on the sound and video quality they produce on playback.
Common complaints among all users included difficult -to-utilize keyboards, tedious-to-reply touchscreens, impuissant file direction, hard-to-utilise cameras, poor sound quality, and difficult or slow syncing. Others complained of user interfaces that are hard to customize, cameras that accept pictures when non asked to, operating systems that don’t multitask, and browsers that won’t play Flash content.
Reliability: Operating Systems Fail the Most
The more technology you pack into a device, the more things can break. And smartphones must exist the poster child for carrying a dizzying number of bells and whistles inside the shell–microphones, speakers, touchscreens, cameras, an operating organization, applications, an accelerometer, compasses . . . the list goes on. (Click on the chart prototype to see our survey results on device reliability from major manufacturers.)
With all that stuff in there, you would expect high rates of component and software failures. And y’all would be correct. In our survey, 31 percent of smartphone owners reported one or more significant problems with their device before information technology was 2 years former.
And readers told the states that when something fails in a smartphone, in about 35 pct of cases it’due south the operating organization.
“My biggest complaint is that the response is ho-hum and the interface is clunky!” says Dart HTC Impact Pro user John Abercrombie. “Also, sometimes it ‘locks up’ the Bone and the merely style out is to remove and reinsert the bombardment.”
Sprint customer and Palm Treo user Duane Calvin says his phone’s Bone “now reboots itself several times a day; I accept no idea when information technology has shut down.”
Of the major smartphone brands, HTC and LG phones had college rates of Os failure than their peers. Of HTC owners who reported a problem, 44 percentage said the culprit was the operating system software. Thirty-nine percent of problems with LG devices could be blamed on the OS.
Later the Bone, breakdowns in miscellaneous features such every bit BlueTooth connections or GPS radios and compasses were the cause of 24 percent of problems, surveyed smartphone owners said.
These failures, survey takers told us, were especially prevalent in HTC and Samsung smartphones. In HTC devices, a feature failure was the problem in 29 percentage of cases; in Samsung phones, in 30 per centum of total problems reported. Meanwhile, owners of Apple, LG and Palm phones reported lower-than-average numbers of feature breakdowns.
Battery issues accounted for about 11 percentage of reported problems. But HTC, LG, and Samsung had significantly higher incidences of battery issues than the average of all handset manufacturers. Apple tree and Palm owners reported marginally less bombardment problem.
Nosotros too asked near severe issues that rendered phones incommunicable to use. Among all those who reported problems (regardless of the type of phone they use), nearly 13 percent said their problem was “severe” plenty to flatline the phone.
LG owners reported fewer astringent problems. LG phones adult just as many problems equally other phones, but only viii percent of those issues rendered the phone incommunicable to utilize. Palm users reported a higher incidence of severe issues, at 19 percent–or six points above the average.
Withal, 64 per centum of smartphone owners say they are “very” or “extremely” satisfied with the reliability of their devices.
Seventy-four percent of iPhone users said they were highly satisfied overall with the reliability of their phone–the highest score of whatever smartphone. Samsung owners, meanwhile, reported the lowest rates of overall satisfaction, at but 55 percent.
For Now, They’re Still New Toys
Smartphones are a relatively new technology. The first iPhone, for example, hitting the market merely a few years agone–on June 29, 2007, to exist exact. The devices, and the networks that connect them, have certainly improved since then. Merely every bit our survey results show, in many ways, they’re nevertheless a work in progress.
Users report high numbers of technical breakdowns in their devices, a poor tape of completely fixing those problems by tech support departments, difficult-to-employ phones, and deadening and/or unreliable wireless network coverage. Withal, as our survey as well shows, satisfaction levels remain strangely loftier amid users in those same areas.
Why is that? It may be that consumers are notwithstanding a bit dazzled by the allways-on, connect-anywhere engineering science that smartphones are. So dazzled, perchance, that they’re willing to overlook a few basic shortcomings in the devices, also every bit in the companies that make, sell, and back up them–even equally users pay a high premium every calendar month to own 1.
IDC’south Will Stofega offers the classic example of this. The iPhone’s Os does not permit y’all to cutting and paste text or images–from an online news commodity to an e-post, for example. This, of class, would never be tolerated in another type of computer. Are iPhone users caught in Steve Jobs’ “reality distortion field”? Possibly so. Only our survey suggests that that distortion field isn’t the sole property of just one smartphone maker, but, maybe, of all of them.
In short, smartphone owners should expect more. Hither’s hoping that, as smartphones become less novel, expectations volition rising–and consumers will begin to see the same reliability and service levels that they routinely demand from other devices.
Poetry Relies on Figurative Language Largely Because It