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Android Smartphones Come With $10 Hidden Service Charge

Even though Android handsets are driving the price of affordable smartphones down, there is a hidden cost associated with installing Android on cheaper smartphones according to research carried out by WDS.

The total cost of repairs associated with Android handsets reached as much as $2 billion, expenses sustained entirely by mobile phone carriers worldwide because hardware failures were found to be prevalent on Android handsets.

The reason is that many Android handsets unfortunately do not use the same sort of strict quality control as Apple's iPhone handsets or RIM's Blackberry smartphones.

Tim Deluca-Smith, Vice President of Marketing at WDS, said "While this price point sounds very attractive, when you look at a total cost of ownership it's a different story".

With Android grabbing an even bigger share of the smartphone market, the total cost of repairing Android handsets is set to rocket, especially as they expand their user base by pushing feature phones out of the frame.

Deluca-smith said that the average cost of returning a device to an operator was £80 (roughly $125), a cost that included service costs, transport fees or the cost of replacing the device completely.

Based on WDS' estimates, that would be equivalent to around 16 million Android phones being serviced. Google's Larry Page said that there are around 190m Android devices in use, which would put the return rate at more than 8.5 per cent (as WDS's figure excludes unlocked handsets) or an average cost of servicing of $10, which incidentally is roughly twice what HTC is reportedly paying to Microsoft per Android Handset.

Désiré Athow

Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.