Android’s Dirty Secret: Some phones’ return rate is 30-40% as confused consumers want real iPhones

“There’s a dirty little secret about Android devices that most manufacturers are facing: the return rate on some Android devices is between 30 and 40 percent, in comparison to the iPhone 4′s 1.7% return rate,” John Biggs reports forTechCrunch.

“[Samsung’s] Galaxy S II sold 3 million in 55 days, a strong showing,” Biggs reports. “However, on the ground, many return rates are approaching 40% said a person familiar with handset sales for multiple manufacturers.”

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“Why? For the ‘average’ phone user, Android is a maze,” Biggs reports. “Anecdotally, I’ve heard of multiple examples of folks who bought an Android phone in order to ‘Think Different’ and came away disappointed when faced with the glaring differences between Android and a friend’s iPhone or Blackberry.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: If you don’t have an iPhone, well, you don’t have an iPhone.

[Thanks to MacDailyNews Reader “Fred Mertz” for the heads up.]

73 Comments

      1. You both have a point. Yet, it is true some sort of a stronger base/source for the claim is necessary (I’m not Android fan or defender); it’s become a useless overused cliche “people familiar with the” in reports, rumors or whatever, that has to be rid of.

        As for the claim, I use to say things fall by its own weight…. With or without secrets.

    1. I am also wary of people who use phrases such as “on the ground” in their reporting. Where else would this be? In the air? On the water? Just like “going forward,” the most useless currently fashionable phrase. Utterly unnecessary in most if not every instance.

        1. Uh, you mean “going backward”? Come up with a sentence where “going forward” is actually needed (other than the obvious ones, such as “the car was going forward”) and you will win a copy of Windows Vista autographed by Ballmer and Gates.

            1. So you’re better off not knowing what you’re saying? Really?
              Hey BillyJack, if you ever have to sign a contract, better have a responsible adult go over it for you first. You’re likely to overlook some hellacious clause because you didn’t bother understanding the grammar.
              And yes, that does happen. Frequently.

            2. I think BillyJack is sufficiently in possession of his senses to differentiate looser language used in a blog than one used in a legal document which no doubt needs to be tighter. Besides if a legal document depends solely on grammar to carry a particular meaning of a clause to the exclusion of all else then it’s not a very well crafted document. 

  1. From my circle of friends and relatives, the number is more like 50%.

    They think Android is “just like iPhone,” just as they used to think Windows was “just like Mac.” Slowly they learn.

    At least half the people I know who got an Android phone returned it for an iPhone within 30 days.

    I talked to a staffer at the Verizon Wireless store and he said “a lot” of people return Android phones. He said, “They’re a big headache compared to iPhone.”

      1. I got my wife an iPhone thinking it’d get me some nookie, but the exact opposite occurred. She spent so much time on the iPhone I west left to fiddle the iBone in my pants.

  2. I absolutely refuse to get mired in Android fragmentation when someone has a problem with their new SmartPhone.

    If it is Apple I know the answer to almost any question, and can teach you how to use it.

    If it is Android, you bought it, you live with it.

    Life is too short to figure all all the weird permutations of Android and their resulting pain. I will show you that hundreds, if not thousands have the same Android problem. I will show you how to use Bing! or Yahoo to find a solution but I will not even read the results, nor explain them.

    You are on your own, unless you dump Andy’s Dung for an Apple iPhone.

    Many do just that, and switch to an iPhone at that point.

    1. Playing with Android is like figuring out that 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle your aunt from Wisconsin gave you. There are random pieces scattered everywhere and if you have the patience, they’ll all fit together eventually but you’d have had two myocardial infarctions in the meantime.

  3. My first thought was this… if the return rate that high, are some phones being ‘activated’ twice, give how high googles ‘activations per day’ are.

    As in, Person A buys a phone, activates, returns and is rest, Person B buys the returned phone, activates etc…

  4. MDN’s posting Apple’s ad says it all. Consumers who buy an Android should do their homework before purchasing one; or pay mention more of Apple’s ad and act on it.

  5. I’ve experienced this first hand. I had an iPhone 4 and didn’t really like the design, so I sold it and got the HTC Inspire 4G. This is a nice phone, but Android apps are terrible. After two weeks I sold it and went back to an iPhone. Unfortunately, I couldn’t afford to get another iPhone 4, so I got an iPhone 3GS. A great phone, but I do miss the better screen, camera, and speed on the iPhone 4.

    1. Drew, I jus spent over an hour this morning with a nice young man who is doing the same thing except he still has the Andy Dung Inspire 4G. He wants to get rid of the Andy Dung in the worse way and back into an iPhone.

      I feel sorry for him, but all I could do was email him some suggested links to try on his own.

      It surprised me at the time as that the Inspire 4G was the latest and greatest Andy Dung not too long ago.

      1. I ended up getting a refurb 3GS from AT&T for $209.00. I was able to get a discount for time in contract. The iPhone 4 refurb would have cost me another $200.00 discounted. I just didn’t have the cash. Oh well, when I am able to upgrade again, I’ll get the iPhone 5 and lesson learned.

      1. Haha, everyone is a comedian. No, I don’t. I didn’t like the design because of the same reasons others complain about it: The glass back is very breakable, the front glass is very breakable, and despite what people convince themselves is the case, the signal does indeed attenuate when you hold your hand in the well-known spot. The phone looks beautiful, but I actually like to use my smart phone, not just sit it on the desk and look at it. The 3 GS, while clearly not as powerful, allows me to do that. That being said, I do miss certain aspects of the iPhone 4 and if I could have afforded it, I would have gotten another.

  6. I think a key point here is that iPhone 4 (a design that was released more than one year ago at this point) is still doing great against any competition. Now, imagine what happens in about one or two months, when “iPhone 5” is released. Even if the only change is an A5 instead of A4 (plus iOS 5), it is going to be unstoppable…

    1. No, don’t say that. A 4″ screen would be nice. 4.5″? That would be a slam dunk in my opinion. Put the rest of the Android crowd in the shade. Plus I don’t think it’ll be just a refresh of the iPhone 4. If it were, with the same exterior but different innards, why wait till September to release it? They could have slapped on the A5 processor in next to no time and shoved it out the door in May.

      1. @ B’s left nut, you really need to get over your old PC ways of assessing an upgrade by a bigger/larger spec. I frankly don’t want a monster screen on my phone. That is what my iPad is for. An iPhone needs to be a phone first and fit easily in one’s pocket. I think Jonathan Ives and the design team @ Apple understand this balance. I would be shocked if Apple made their screens much bigger than than they already are.

        1. Apple can probably squeeze a 4″ display with the same aspect ratio as the current 3.5″ display on the iPhone 4. The limiting factor is the width of the phone – there is plenty of room at the top and bottom.

          1. That would be sensible and probably require a software button instead of the physical button we have today. I’m sure Steve would love that minimalist design. I just can’t believe Apple would placate to the Android hardware designs that have these monstrous screens (think HTC EVO or Samdung Infuse) that make your phone practically impossible to fit into one’s pocket.

      2. At 4.5″ it’d be more of a Star Trek PADD than an iPhone, for 4″ would be sweeeet!

        However, this will stay on the background compared to the *other* card they’ll play really soon. I expect them to release a contract-free not-overpoweringly-awesome version of the iPhone (perhaps with altered 3GS hardware?) that’ll take Apple’s humiliating tablet lead on top of Android to the smartphone market.

      3. Since the “Retina Display” is only one generation old, I don’t think it is going to change this time. In fact, I don’t think the screen will change at all until iPhone’s OS has true resolution independence. What that means, in practical terms, is that the user can adjust GUI elements smoothly, to any size (within a reasonable range).

        At that point, native screen resolution becomes irrelevant. And a slightly larger (or slightly smaller) iPhone screen will NOT cause “fragmentation” (due to native resolution being slightly different than the current standard). The OS and apps will be designed to accommodate the user’s preferences for how large things appear on screen, and adjust smoothly. And any iPhone that is at least an iPhone 4 (with A4 and Retina Display) will be able to to handle it. That means support for iPhone 3gs will have to end; selling it as “new” ($49 special) for another year means supporting it with iOS (at least partially) for another two years.

        The current iOS (and the next version) is absolutely dependent on native resolution of the screen. That’s why Apple is NOT going to make a small adjustment to screen size, like going from 3.5″ to 4″. That would mean changing the screen resolution (fragmentation), or spreading out the same number of pixels out onto a larger screen (worthless, larger, heavier, more power hungry, and “less Retina”). Apple is too smart to do either of those things…

        And Apple is certainly not going to make the overall size of iPhone any larger. A larger screen is an Android phone maker’s excuse (disguised as a “feature”) for not being able to miniaturize as expertly as Apple. 🙂

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