Apple Ranks Highest In Mobile OS Satisfaction - InformationWeek

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Mobile // Mobile Devices
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7/19/2011
12:20 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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Apple Ranks Highest In Mobile OS Satisfaction

Android drops, iOS rises, and BlackBerry barely appears on the radar in ChangeWave survey of mobile phone buyers.

It shouldn't be a big surprise that iPhone owners are happy with the platform. You don't become the single best-selling smartphone ever by not scoring well on all both hardware and software fronts. A study released Monday reports that 70% of iOS users are "very satisfied" with the platform. Android came in second with 50% of its users making the same claim. In a near tie for third place, Windows OS and RIM Blackberry reported 27% and 26% of very satisfied users, respectively.

The Windows OS number though is misleading. It combines results for Windows Phone 7 and Windows Mobile 6.x. When broken out, WP7 gets a 57% mark for very satisfied users versus 14% for Windows Mobile. That puts WP7 in a solid second place behind iOS.

I would be interested in delving into what users are actually ranking though. I am sure the questions in the survey were clear to distinguish between hardware and the platform, but how well do users distinguish between the operating system and third-party software? Games like Angry Birds are pretty easy to mentally separate from the platform, but well-integrated apps like Facebook tend to blend in.

If that is true, then that would give platforms like Android and iOS a slight advantage simply because of the wider variety of apps available for them.

The ChangeWave survey also indicates that Apple, for now, has nothing to fear. Last fall, iOS and Android were tied in the 37%-38% range for desirability among consumers planning to buy a new smartphone within 90 days. Some of that Android luster, though, appears to be wearing off. Android has fallen to around 32%, while iOS has climbed to 46%. That says a lot for a platform release that is now a year old.

BlackBerry has continued its decline--only around 4% of prospective buyers now want a BlackBerry. That is definitely not good news for the phone maker, but it isn't at all surprising. The platform was born in the previous generation of smartphones, before everything went pure touch with gesture navigation. RIM has tried to keep up, but it won't really make any headway on that goal until a QNX-based BlackBerry is released, and even then, it isn't a sure thing. RIM faces an uphill battle.

The big question in this survey is, can Microsoft take the high satisfaction rate and start to turn that into market-share gains?

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