Saturday, April 9, 2011

Excuse me, while I reboot my mobile phone

A few weeks ago, I found myself in the unenviable position of trying to explain to my technophobe husband why his relatively new iPhone had "crashed." Let me just say it wasn't fun, and I got to hear about his frustration for the better part of the next hour. Blah, blah, blah.

Anyway, this is something that is going to have more, I fear, as phones get smarter. And he certainly isn't the only person feeling this way, according to a recent survey by technology and management consulting firm Accenture. That survey of more than 2,000 consumers found that reliability is an increasingly important characteristic for "smart" devices. What's more, they apparently are willing to pay more for that reliability. A couple of data points:

  • 39 percent reported frustration with crashing (or freezing) devices
  • The younger the respondent, the less patience they have with unreliability -- 49 percent of those between 18 and 24 years of age reported frustration
  • 53 percent of the respondents said (if they could), they would advice engineers to keep device design simpler; 43 percent said they would be better off with more limited devices
  • 51 percent of respondents said they would pay more for gadgets that were smart enough to do more things automatically and autonomously; 17 percent said they would pay up to 10 percent more

This trend is worth noting, because sales of smartphones continue to escalate. For example, in February 2011, technology market researcher Gartner published data predicting that sales of smartphones in the United States would reach 95 million units this year – with U.S. consumers more likely to buy a smartphone than most other electronic gadgets.

So, the whole issue of whether or not a network is dropping your calls may become sort of moot, as mobile phones start to look more like personal computers -- did your phone crash because of device instablity or the wireless network? Or both? Be forewarned.