Apple led the way for the sixth consecutive time in the bi-annual Wireless Smartphone satisfaction study by JD Power and Associates. While it is no surprise that Apple led in both 2011 survey’s (Volume 1 and 2) what is interesting is the movement of the other manufacturers up and down customer’s satisfaction ratings. You might be surprised at who is climbing the ladder!
What is clear is the fact that HTC has moved into a solid second place behind Apple with above average ratings (see graph below) while Nokia continues to slip considerably falling to last in the latest survey. The biggest movers, behind Apple, were Samsung, HTC and BlackBerry in that order. I was surprised that RIM’s BlackBerry line improved from the bottom of the survey in Volume 1 to middle of the pack in Volume 2. The survey coincided with the launch of the Torch and BlackBerry OS 6 which was a significant improvement over its predecessor but still not enough to match the gains of HTC and Samsung who have both moved into a solid second and third place respectively.
There were some notable observations from the latest edition of the study which could explain the movement of various manufacturers:
- Overall satisfaction was highest among customers who used cell phones which were less than 0.45 inches thick. In other words, customers like their cellphones slim and slender.
- Customers seemed to prefer touch screen-only cell phones over the QWERTY only or both Touch and QWERTY cellphones. Which would explain why RIM isn’t at the top of this survey given their obvious QWERTY keyboard focused design
- The better the specs the more satisfied customers were! Faster processing speeds, the most advanced display screen like Super AMOLED, better video and camera led to higher ratings of those cellphones. Features which Apple with the iPhone, Samsung with its Galaxy line and HTC with its 4G cellphones – have in abundance.
- Mobile applications which enhance the cellphone experience on smartphones drove better overall satisfaction rates. This speaks to access to an ecosystem of mobile applications which exist for Apple and Android. No wonder Apple with iOS, HTC and Samsung, big Android cell phone makers were at the top of the pile.
These observations are good pointers for RIM who are still searching for the ideal blackberry for their customers – faster processor, better screens, access to apps, full touch screen (though I don’t mine a QWERTY option) and sleeker designs. With the iPhone 5 expected out, I expect Apple to expand its lead among its competitors as the iPhone has not had an upgraded sister in over a year. While the survey pointed to overall experiences with the cellphone, another great way to get a good cell phone experience is to get a great cell phone deal.