The iPhone is twice as reliable as the Blackberry after one year of ownership, a new study by SquareTrade finds. SquareTrade, which sells extra warranties for cell phones and other devices, looked at the failure rates of 15,000 phones covered under its plans. The malfunction rate for iPhones after one year is 5.6 percent, compared to 11.2 percent for the Blackberry and 16.2 percent for the Treo.
The study projects that the failure rate for the iPhone after two years will be between 9.2 and 11.3 percent, compared to actual two-year failure rates of 14.3 percent for BlackBerries and 21.0 percent for Treos.
Surprisingly, battery problems is less of an issue for the iPhone than for the other two brands. Less than 0.5 percent of iPhone malfunctions are due to the battery dying, compared to about one percent for the BlackBerry and iPhone. The iPhone also has fewer call quality problems than the other two. The biggest problem for all three phones are malfunctions involving the touch screen or keyboard. For the iPhone in particular, this is an area that needs work. According to the study, “one third of all reported iPhone problems were screen-related.” Many of these were dead spots in the older 2G phones, but the 3G phones have their own screen issues.
The most likely cause of an iPhone’s demise, however, is an accident. A full 12 percent of iPhone failures are because the owner dropped it, spilled coffee on it, or otherwise stopped treating it like the delicate computer that it is. That compares to a 9 percent failure rate due to accidents for all other phones, and is twice as high as the failure rate due to defects.
The study is embedded below: