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SquareTrade Research: Treo Not as Reliable as iPhone in 1st Year

Mon Nov 10, 2008 - 6:06 PM EST - By Jennifer Chappell


Palm Infocenter is reporting on a study just released by SquareTrade. The study is regarding warranty reliability reports in cell phone failure rates for more than 15,000 new phones covered by SquareTrade Care Plans.

After reading the PIC article, I headed over to read the full SquareTrade report. The report says that SquareTrade analyzed cell phone failure rates for more than 15,000 new phones covered by SquareTrade Care Plans and found iPhones had substantially fewer failures than BlackBerry and Treo phones within the first year of ownership.

From reading through the report, it looks like they took customer reported data over the past two years and tracked failures due to accidental damage. They tracked the accidental damages separately from malfunctions caused by normal usage. SquareTrade has primarily focused on malfunctions in order to evaluate the manufactured quality of the phones.

The study is centered around the iPhone, BlackBerry and Treo. SquareTrade found after one year of handset use, a 5.6% malfunction rate reported on iPhones, which was significantly lower than BlackBerry (11.9%) and Treos (16.2%). They projected that the iPhone would have fewer malfunctions over the 2 year minimum lifetime of a phone. SquareTrade also looked at the different types of problems reported for the iPhone like call quality and touch screen issues.

Turns out that the biggest malfunction problems with the iPhone were with the touchscreen. One third of all reported iPhone problems were screen-related. The study says that iPhone users are more than twice as likely to experience a failure with their iPhone due to accidental damage than through a handset malfunction. We all know how slippery the iPhone is, so just imagine how many people have dropped their iPhones and broken them.

From looking at the chart below, it seems that the Treo came out with the highest rankings in having problems in the 1st year. I do see a couple of times that the BlackBerry was ranked higher for problems regarding Bluetooth/Accessories and Antenna/Hardware/Casing. And the Treo was lower ranked for problems in Bluetooth/Accesories than both the iPhone and the BlackBerry. Hmmm... looks like the Treo had the most problems with Touchpad/Screen/Keyboard issues with Software/Features coming in second. All three phones had more problems in the Touchpad/Screen/Keyboard area.

Most of the report centered around the iPhone and I never saw any specific Treo or BlackBerry models mentioned.

I haven't had a single problem with my Treo Pro yet. I've never had a problem with my Treo 750 either. I never had any problem with my iPhone when I had it, and my husband hasn't had any problems with his. I don't own a BlackBerry device so I can't comment on that.

You can read the full SquareTrade report (.pdf) here.

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