updated 12:15 pm EST, Sun February 6, 2011
We examine Verizon iPhone switchers
With the iPhone just a day away from reaching most users, we thought it would be worth examination to see who's actually switching over. Analysts have claimed that a large portion are converts from Android and BlackBerry, but how much of this is wishful thinking versus the reality on the ground? We're taking a brief look based on what some users are saying on the web.
The most direct example to be found is none other than Verizon's own forum; a whole thread is dedicated just to switchers. Here, the BlackBerry is the most common platform left behind for the iPhone. While phones like the Curve and Tour are being given up due to poor build quality, slow performance and an aging OS, a disproportionately large number of them are coming from either the Storm or the Storm2. The touchscreen BlackBerry, once held up by Verizon as its ultimate iPhone rival, is being dropped more than any other of RIM's models. Build quality here is a particular issue, but the early software has been a major point of contention as well.
"WORST PHONE EVER," one poster said bluntly. "I'm glad to see I'm not the only one, that it wasn't just my phone. My friends and family believed mine was just defective, but mine was already a replacement from my first Storm. Right now, to even be able to click the screen, I have to take the back battery cover off and press down on the back. The battery will randomly drain. Sometimes when I'm using the phone, it just reboots randomly and when it's back on, the battery is drained and the radio turns off and I can't make or receive calls or texts. I cannot wait to get my iPhone in my hands... because a second later, I'm going to destroy my Storm."
Surprisingly, however, a large number of those on the Verizon boards and in multiple posts on HowardForums and elsewhere are switching from Android devices. The original Motorola Droid is frequently cited, but a disproportionately large number are switching from the Droid X -- a device launched just over half a year ago and still among Verizon's fastest Android models. Both phones were criticized for buggy, unpredictable software, but other issues included its excessive size and its build quality, which in more than one case needed several replacements.
"And, this most recent [Droid X]... my 6th one... is better than the rest, but I am still done with Android. iOS just works," one said.
A handful are coming from other Android phones, but in significantly smaller numbers. HTC's Droid Incredible has been mentioned in significant numbers, but in a few circumstances the Samsung Fascinate, a phone just five months old, will be given up as well.
Substantial numbers of basic feature phone users are making the switch, though in their cases often either because the phone broke or they planned to move to a smartphone for the first time. LG's basic touchscreen phones, especially the Dare and enV Touch, have been mentioned often.
Our look is far from comprehensive and shouldn't be seen as an absolute representation, either of the exact demographics or of the volume of those moving away. Many Android phone owners, and at least some BlackBerry owners, are still expected to remain loyal. BlackBerry owners are commonly though to cling to their devices either for work or for unique services like BlackBerry Messenger. Android users are also expected to have certain preferences for features and ideological principles, such as larger screens, removable storage, Flash support and a less restricted mobile app platform.
The noticeably large number of owners of recent Android owners buying the iPhone may nonetheless prove a surprise element. Many Android advocates have argued that Apple was too late and that Google was rapidly winning share the iPhone would never get back. While it's doubtful Apple will have the virtually unopposed dominance it has had on AT&T, or that it will conquer the international market, early evidence is emerging that Google's share of Verizon isn't as stable as once thought and could take a significant hit if the CDMA iPhone can avoid the network congestion problems on AT&T.