BlackBerry OS Users Getting iPhone, Android Envy

A survey from a market research firm shows BlackBerry users are the most likely to abandon their phone, while Android and iPhone users are locked in tight, but one analyst has a major bone of contention with the methodology used.

Online market researchers Crowd Science conducted a survey of 1,040 smartphone owners and asked which phone they would purchase "tomorrow." Nine out of 10 Android and Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) iPhone users said they "definitely or probably would" stick with their present platform, but 49 percent of BlackBerry owners said they would go with another smartphone, while 39 percent specifically said they definitely or probably would opt for the iPhone, and 34 percent said they'd defect to an Android device.

"These results show that the restlessness of BlackBerry users with their current brand hasn't just been driven by the allure of iPhone," Crowd Science CEO John Martin said in a statement. "Rather, Blackberry as a brand just isn't garnering the loyalty seen with other mobile operating systems."

However, Avi Greengart, research director for mobile products at Current Analysis, had a real problem with the wording of the question. He noted that the researchers asked smartphone owners if they would buy an iPhone, Android phone or an "other smartphone." They did not explicitly name Research in Motion's BlackBerry phone as they did the iPhone and Android.

As a result, he doesn't feel the responses were accurate. "As a homeowner, would you prefer to rent, live in your car or something else? That's the kind of question they asked," he told InternetNews.com.

"This is a totally leading question and the data is completely irrelevant. I have no doubt some BlackBerry users would be interested in iPhones or some other device, but this survey does not prove that and cannot be used to give me any other percentages," he added.

Officials from RIM were not available for comment because the company's office was closed for Good Friday. Crowd Science did not return requests for comment.

Crowd Science found 92 percent of iPhone users and 87 percent of Android users would stick with their devices. Only 15 percent of iPhone users surveyed said they would definitely not consider an Android phone, but 45 percent of Android users said they would not consider an iPhone. Crowd Science did not elaborate as to why Android users regarded Apple with such enmity.

Crowd Science also found that Android users tend to skew younger and less affluent than iPhone and BlackBerry users. Also, and unsurprisingly, users of all types of smartphones had downloaded more free applications than paid ones, with iPhone users significantly more likely to pay for apps.

Both Android users and iPhone users were found much more likely than BlackBerry owners to use their phones only for personal use. On the other hand, 7 percent of BlackBerry users use their phone for business use only, while only 1 percent of iPhone users are business-only, and the business-only Android user base was nonexistent.

Second Smartphone Survey

A second survey of the smartphone market still places Apple on top in user opinion, but BlackBerry fares better. In its annual U.S. Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study for 2010, J.D. Power & Associates' put Apple's phone in the lead with 810 points out of a possible 1,000, a nice improvement over the 791 points from last year.

The BlackBerry held steady at 741, relatively unchanged from the 739 points it scored last year. The industry average of 753 was also nearly unchanged, up only slightly from 751 last year. No vendors posted significant changes.

Close behind RIM were HTC with 727 points, Samsung with 724, Nokia with 720 and Palm at 712.

J.D. Power found that the score depended in large part on whether or not the phone had a touchscreen.

"Touchscreens are ideal for those using their phone for entertainment, as the displays are generally larger and provide a richer viewing experience," Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates, said in a statement.

"It is critical, however, that manufacturers meet expectations with regard to providing adequate battery life, as these large displays can drain batteries very quickly," he said. "In addition, for customers to have a truly rewarding experience, wireless carriers must continue to provide problem-free, high-speed downloads, as customers rely on them to deliver content quickly and on the go."

Andy Patrizio is a senior editor at InternetNews.com, the news service of Internet.com, the network for technology professionals.


Android, Blackberry, RIM, smartphone research, mobile os