Thursday, December 3, 2009

Mobile consumers becoming guinea pigs for manufacturers

UK: Despite its popularity after it initially launched, owners of the Sony Ericsson Satio have experienced numerous problems with the handset and, after blogging about the subject, the UK’s leading mobile phone price comparison website is questioning whether too many consumers are being used as guinea pigs by the manufacturers.

After blogging about the technical problems with the initially popular Sony Ericsson Satio, have been inundated with numerous comments from unhappy owners of the handset, which has raised concerns that too many manufacturers are releasing new mobile phones to meet seasonal deadlines before they are properly tested.

During the first week in November, noticed a number of negative reviews on the site for the Satio, which prompted them to publish a blog post on the subject. Since it went live, the blog thread has been one of the site’s most active to date, attracting more comments than any other. The founders felt there was a need to highlight these issues for consumers, even though it meant they may lose out on sales, which is perhaps why its competitors appeared to remain silent. ceased any marketing activity for the Satio until consumer’s concerns were acknowledged by Sony Ericsson and shortly after it was announced that Phones4u and Carphone Warehouse had removed the smartphone from their stores temporarily.

Whilst the site is still receiving negative reviews for the handset and users await a software update from Sony Ericsson, concerns have been raised about manufacturers releasing mobile phones too quickly, in a bid to meet marketing and seasonal deadlines.

Many mobile phone manufacturers can now send consumers updates in the same way that users receive updates on computers to fix technical problems, which has left many customers concerned that companies are leaving issues unresolved until after handsets are released for purchase, with the attitude that they can fix the problem at a later date.

Neil McHugh, co-founder of, commented on the rise in
issues with mobile handsets failing after release: “The Sony Ericsson Satio has been a big talking point on our website, but for all the wrong reasons. It’s great that consumers can receive software updates after purchase, however it is unacceptable for the product not to be capable of its core functions and features at the point of purchase."

He continued: “In situations such as this it would appear that consumers are used as guinea pigs, to run tests, diagnose faults and report issues. Sony Ericsson will no doubt resolve the problems with a software update for the Satio very soon, I just wonder how the brand may have suffered in consumers mindsets through all this. This is really unfortunate, especially for Sony Ericsson, I think this has definitely highlighted the need for better testing within the mobile phone industry.”

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