updated 01:00 pm EDT, Wed September 30, 2009
iPhone leads CFI phone happiness study
Modern touchscreen phones like the iPhone, Android devices and the Palm Pre are proving to be much more enjoyable to use than conventional smartphones -- at times in spite of their networks, according to a CFI study. About 83 percent of US iPhone owners are satisfied with their phones while the other two touch-first platforms, Google's Android and Palm's webOS, are close with 77 percent each. In comparison, 73 percent of BlackBerry owners can say the same while those using Palm Treos of different varieties claimed 70 percent satisfaction.
The smartphone platforms that fared the worst were the older, more entrenched designs. Symbian and Windows Mobile were both relegated to the "other" category, which combined only saw 66 percent of users content with their phones. CFI didn't elaborate on the discrepancy, though both of these platforms have been slow to adopt up to date touchscreen support and often have legacy interface issues.
Demand for the iPhone isn't entirely explained, but the study finds that iPhone owners are disproportionately much more likely to tout their phones. A high 92 percent of these say they have their "ideal" smartphone, while 90 percent of them have recommended iPhones to others. Over a third of all these owners bought it after a recommendation, while the iPhone is the most frequently cited alternative if users of competing phones had to pick another.
However, the satisfaction with Apple's hardware is disproportionately high compared to happiness with AT&T. Only 73 percent of all phone users are satisfied with AT&T's service, while that number drops to 69 percent specifically for iPhone owners. The number drops even lower to 64 percent for those who switched from a competing carrier to get an iPhone.
Historically maligned Sprint scored higher at 74 percent, while T-Mobile and Verizon tied for the lead with 79 percent of their customers happy with the service. About 86 percent of all the US audience would prefer to use Verizon for its network alone, but it's thought that Verizon's poor catalog of phones is a deterrent as only 38 percent of its customers say they have their ideal phone; about 40 percent of iPhone owners had switched to get the handset.
Researchers believe the gap between carrier and phone satisfaction proves that customers often value the device first but are only likely to be truly content if the network can handle the load. It's speculated that Verizon might lose its network advantage if it were to carry the iPhone as it might not be prepared to support the added strain.