Droid X Screen Problems Nipped in Bud

Verizon Droid X by Motorola

The Verizon Droid X by Motorola

Even as Apple suffers the continuing pains of its iPhone 4 “Antennagate” brouhaha, it appears at least one competing device is now facing problems of its own: Motorola and Verizon on Tuesday acknowledged faulty screens on some Droid X handsets and offered affected consumers a free replacement device.

“We are aware of a very small number of Droid X units that have experienced a flickering or banding display,” Motorola spokesperson Juli Burda told TechNewsWorld. “The exposure of devices is limited to less than one-tenth of a percent.”

Motorola has already resolved the issue, Burda said, and it continues to ship the product.

“Any consumer who experiences a flickering or banding display should contact Motorola’s customer support center or Verizon Wireless for a replacement,” she added.

Those experiencing issues “will have their phones replaced in a timely manner,” Verizon Wireless spokesperson Marquett Smith told TechNewsWorld.

‘Most Will Be Pleased’

The Android-based Droid X just hit the stores last week after considerable fanfare, particularly given the iPhone 4’s ongoing problems.

Many affected users apparently found the device worked fine at first, and then problems began to crop up, according to reports, in some cases rendering the display useless. At least one user posted a YouTube video demonstrating the problem.

Whereas Apple has suffered sharp criticism for taking too long to respond to the iPhone 4’s antenna issues, the quick response from Motorola and Verizon should come as a pleasant surprise, Alex Spektor, a wireless analyst with Strategy Analytics, told TechNewsWorld.

“For those consumers who are suffering from the problem, it can certainly be a frustrating experience, but I think most will be pleased with Verizon’s almost immediate offer to replace the device,” Spektor explained.

Of course, the alacrity of that response is not too surprising, given that the device is not only still under warranty but within the 30-day return period, he noted. “It would make sense for Verizon to keep those consumers as happy as possible.”

‘The Best Way to Do It’

Indeed, the companies’ response has been “very good,” agreed Chris Hazelton, research director for mobile and wireless with the 451 Group.

“In today’s terms, with all the other issues out there, they reacted very swiftly,” Hazelton told TechNewsWorld.

“I’m not comparing this with the iPhone’s antenna issues, but the fact that Motorola and Verizon acknowledged the problem right away and reacted with a solution — that’s the best way to do it,” he added. “Acknowledge it, disclose how big the impact is, and offer a resolution.”

‘There Will Be Devices in the Channel’

Though there were reports as early as last weekend that the Droid X had already sold out online, there are typically always devices in the channel that can be accessed for priority needs such as this replacement program, Hazelton pointed out.

“With the retail channel control that Motorola and Verizon have, there will be devices in the channel that they can prioritize and that may be easily accessible,” he explained.

Although this particular problem affects just a very small proportion of buyers, it still “speaks to the pressure that smartphone vendors are under right now to get their devices to market on time,” Spektor noted.

“There’s a lot of competition for Motorola from Samsung, Apple and HTC,” he concluded. “As we’ve seen with the iPhone antenna issue, and as we’ve seen with component shortages for other vendors, there’s a lot of pressure to get these devices onto the market as quickly as possible in order to remain competitive.”

4 Comments

  • "Nipped in the bud", usually connotes "fixed or corrected"

    A statement was made that you can return your device that is under warranty for another device.

    So evidently Toyota can say "we will fix your car" and all their problems are "Nipped in the bud"?

    Great logic.

    If Motorola knows that the problem is limited to

    <1/10 of 1% (one in a thousand), they must of known

    that the problem existed before the product was put on the market.

  • Jobs had a lousy press conference just like his lousy demo of iPhone4. Apple is in a hurry to achieve record profits; who can blame them for glossing over this one? Much easier to recognize the revenue and discount the cases than sell less phones with proper antenna. Holding off on a launch of new product version may slow sales. Who can blame Apple? We all do, because we hold our heroes to greater accountability! Droid won’t let us down. They never have. Go buy a Droid everyone and you’ll see what I mean.

  • Although Motorola and Verizon might have reacted quickly to earn praises, I don’t think their situation was the same with Apple’s antenna-gate.

    iPhone 4 was more of a design issue, but still delivered a product as intended with high quality. Droid’s problem, from what I can understand reading this report, is a complete manufacturing defect. This is not even something that requires special reaction or the media giving praises comparing with Apple’s antenna-gate. Apple could say "it’s a design; don’t like it, don’t buy it", but in this Droid case, that cannot be said!

    BTW, if the iPhone had any defect like this, you just walk straight to the Genius Bar and get a free replacement along with a nice chat at the counter. It’s always been like this; doesn’t require media attention.

    (What’s wrong with the media nowadays? Too many reports are so narrow visioned. Stand back a few more steps, correctly assess the issue and deliver a report with objective and impartial view. Don’t quote the financial analysts like you agree with them. Have they ever been right recently?)

Leave a Comment

Please sign in to post or reply to a comment. New users create a free account.

CRM Buyer Channels