Research from Forrester predicts that 66 percent of the world’s population will own mobile devices by 2022, with the number of global smartphone subscribers expected to reach 3.8 billion by that time. These numbers indicate just how pervasive mobile devices have become in today’s digitally driven environment – they are assets to both consumers and the mobile carriers and device manufacturers that sell them. But performance has become the holy grail by which the customer experience is measured.
Every quarter, we analyze internal data collected from millions of iOS and Android mobile devices that were brought into mobile carriers and device manufacturers for diagnostics testing in North America, Europe and Asia. The data provides further insight into how devices performed (and failed) across the iOS and Android operating systems, along with the performance issues that plagued each operating system in key parts of the world, crashing apps rates and more interesting stats.
Our Q2 2017 State of Mobile Device Performance and Health report reveals that Android devices struggled to keep pace with the performance of iPhones, rooting Android devices is more common than iOS jailbreaking and apps crash five times more often on iPhones than Android devices.
As we are at Mobile World Congress Americas this week discussing all things mobile, we wanted to drill deeper into some of the key trends uncovered in the latest report.
Trend #1: Android Devices Struggle to Keep Pace with the Performance of iPhones
In Q2 2017, the failure rate worldwide for Android devices was 25 percent. While this isn’t necessarily high, it’s important to note that it’s more than double the failure rate worldwide of iOS devices in the same period. Our data also indicates that the failure rate for Android devices was highest in Europe, at 32 percent, followed by Asia (28 percent) and North America (24 percent). If more Android devices were sold in these regions, it could result in more of these devices being brought into wireless carriers and device manufacturers when performance lags or fails altogether.
In the race to dominate market share, meanwhile, Samsung has worked hard to cement itself as the world’s number one smartphone manufacturer. However, our diagnostics data reveals that Samsung is one of the top Android manufacturers with the highest failure rates. In fact, the failure rate for Samsung devices overall was 61 percent in Q2 2017, followed by LG (11 percent), Sony (6 percent), ZTE (5 percent), Sharp (3 percent) and Kyocera (2 percent).
More specifically, the Samsung Galaxy S7 had one of the highest failure rates of Android smartphone models in Q2 2017 at 6 percent. This is the same smartphone that has been plagued by performance issues, most notably with the battery exploding in some cases. Other less catastrophic issues that have been reported by Samsung Galaxy S7 users include Wi-Fi disconnecting, the camera crashing and short battery life, to name a few. Despite some of its issues, the smartphone manufacturer has rallied back with the recent launches of its Samsung Galaxy S8 and Note 8 models.
Trend #2: Rooting Android Devices Is More Common Than iOS Jailbreaking
As much as mobile users are beholden to their devices, they want more control over the user experience and don’t want to be limited to the look and feel, functionality and apps permitted by their device’s operating system. What’s emerged is a trend known as jailbreaking (iPhones) and rooting (Android devices).
By rooting their devices, Android users don’t have to wait around for manufacturers and carriers to offer updates to the operating system. Meanwhile, iOS jailbreaking lets users download apps from anywhere (not just the Apple App Store), customize the phone’s look and feel with themes and icons, modify the device’s stock functionality and add new types of functionality.
According to our Q2 2017 State of Mobile data, rooting Android devices is more common than iOS jailbreaking. More specifically, 0.3 percent of the devices tested on the Blancco Mobile Diagnostics solution in Q2 2017 were rooted. In specific geographic regions, the rooting rate varied – 0.2 percent in North America, 0.5 percent in Europe and 3 percent in Asia. While these are not significantly high percentages, they are still relatively higher than the percentages of iOS devices that were jailbroken in the same period.
For instance, the jailbreaking rate for iOS devices worldwide was 0.08 percent. In other regions, however, the iOS jailbreaking rate was even lower – 0.07 percent in North America, 0.3 percent in Asia and 0 percent in Europe. This indicates that Android users may want to take more control of their mobile experience and customize their phone’s look and feel in North America than in Asia and Europe.
But rooting isn’t all it’s cracked up to be. It could end up bricking the device. This means a user’s device won’t turn on. If the ‘bricking’ occurs because a user caused it (by rooting it), there will be an additional charge to get it fixed. No user will want that – and it could have a negative impact on their customer experience and long-term loyalty with mobile carriers and device manufacturers.
And jailbreaking iOS devices isn’t a perfect scenario either. One of the biggest disadvantages is that jailbreaking leaves iPhones more susceptible to malware attacks because it completely removes the walls that Apple built into both iOS and the iTunes App Store. In 2015, a piece of malware, known as KeyRaider, infected 225,000 iPhones. More specifically, the malware stole the 225,000 iOS users’ iTunes login credentials. This specific malware hid in packages of code that offered ‘tweaks’ to the iPhone’s operating system and was designed to intercept their iTunes log-in details and send them to a remote server. It was reported that the 225,000 hacked accounts all belonged to people who jailbroke their iPhones so apps could be installed that aren’t approved by Apple’s app store.
Trend #3: Apps Crash Five Times More Often on iPhones Than Android Devices
As our data reveals, the crashing app rate on iPhones in Q2 2017 was 54 percent. In contrast, Android devices had a much lower crashing app rate of just 10 percent in the same period.
The high rate of crashing iOS apps could be influenced by the growth in app downloads. According to the latest data from App Annie, global app downloads reached nearly 25 billion downloads across iOS and Google Play in Q2 2017. Consumer spend year-over-year with iOS and Google Play has grown 35 percent and 30 percent, respectively.
It’s also interesting to see that the iOS app crashing rate has increased from 50 percent in the previous quarter (Q1 2017) to 54 percent in Q2 2017. However, the crash rate for Android apps has gone down considerably, from 18 percent in Q1 2017 to 10 percent in Q2 2017.