updated 11:00 am EDT, Thu October 8, 2009
JD Power says iPhone tops, hurts normal phones
The iPhone today claimed an even larger edge in satisfaction versus its rivals in JD Power's second phone satisfaction study of 2009. Apple's smartphone climbed ten points from an earlier score to 811 out of 1,000 while its closest rival, LG, managed just a four-point increase to 776. The two were the only smartphone designers to score above the industry average.
RIM's BlackBerry line recovered significantly but was still considered just below the average with a 759 score. Those that focused primarily on Windows Mobile scored the lowest with HTC and Samsung tied at 739, Palm at 731 and Motorola at 700. During the latest six-month period covered by the study, however, HTC and Palm have made a rapid shift away from Microsoft's platform and so can't necessarily point to their choices of platform. Palm as of June has said it will focus exclusively on its own webOS and has dropped Windows Mobile altogether.
The gap widened further still with business phones, according to the research. Apple's top score was slightly lower among workers at 803 but was much higher than the ostensibly more work-focused BlackBerry line, which defined the industry average at 724. Other competitors also fared worse here with Samsung, HTC and Palm scoring 697, 692 and 688 respectively.
Apple's success as well as those close to it in the rankings may have ultimately damaged the reputation of conventional smartphones, the study notes. Where the typical satisfaction for a smartphone has gone up 14 points since the last study, regular calling-first phones have dropped 6 points and are scored lower overall; LG leads with just 723 while Motorola, Sanyo, Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Nokia and Kyocera are all below the 701-point average.
Part of the new bias towards higher-end phones comes from larger carrier discounts for those devices than in the past; buyers are also increasingly likely to ask for features that are found more often on smartphones. About 22 percent want Wi-Fi, 21 percent want a touchscreen and 17 percent want GPS.