Techcrunch published a rather sensationalist report a couple days back, claiming to reveal “Android’s dirty secret“. Apparently, they “learned” that the return rate on some Android devices ranges between 30% to 40%, compared to a mere 1.7% return rate for the iPhone 4, even after the whole Antennagate fiasco.
Well, the guys at BGR did some quick math, and arrived at a logical conclusion – Techcrunch’s story was basically bullshit.
Most Android device manufacturers are already being hunted by Apple for patent infringement. To add to that, they are also being milked by Microsoft to the tune of billions in patent licensing fees, which is hell bent on making Android its cash cow.
If the return rates for most Android devices were actually around 30% – 40%, most of the manufacturers would have filed for bankruptcy already. The margins on most Android devices are already quite low, compared to Apple’s iPhone margins. Handset returns cost manufacturers a lot of money. Combined with the other problems, a 40% rate of return could wipe out their entire profits. There is no way manufacturers would continue to make Android smartphones if this were the case.
While the return rates may be high for some devices, they are definitely in the low single digits according to BGR’s source. I’m much more inclined to believe that, rather than Techcrunch’s ridiculous report.
In other news, Android is completely rocking the U.S. smartphone market, with a 39% market share. Very improbable, if it had a 40% return rate, don’t you think?
Note: Though they did mention ‘some Android phones’, their title seems to imply that the 30% – 40% return rate was across the board.