Apple iPhone and LG Handsets Again Top J.D. Powers Study

Apple's iPhone offers the greatest degree of customer satisfaction, beating out even the BlackBerry in rankings by enterprise and consumer customers, reports J.D. Powers. Traditional handset users voted for LG, followed by Motorola and Sanyo.

Customers using smartphones for business purposes ranked the Apple iPhone above Research In Motion's BlackBerry, reports J.D. Power and Associates.
The finding is part of three studies released Oct. 8: the 2009 Wireless Consumer Smartphone Customers Satisfaction Study, Vol. 2.; the 2009 Wireless Business Smartphone Satisfaction Study; and the 2009 Wireless Traditional Mobile Phone Satisfaction Study, Vol. 2.
J.D. Power found satisfaction among consumer smartphone owners to be on the rise, having climbed 14 index points, on a 1,000-point scale, since six months ago. Satisfaction among business smartphone owners has risen 43 points since 2008, while satisfaction among traditional mobile phone owners-increasingly aware of features that their phones don't have-fell by 6 points since April.
Satisfaction was found to be partly affected by whether or not the phones were free, explains Kirk Parsons, J.D. Power's senior director of wireless services, in a statement. "Satisfaction is notably lower among owners who receive their handsets for free because these phones often do not offer the full suite of features that owners desire," said Parsons. "When fewer features are available, usage rates also decline, which translates into lower brand loyalty."
As judged by study participants, key factors of satisfaction with consumer smartphones are ease of operation (30 percent), operating system (22 percent), features (21 percent), physical design (18 percent) and battery function (9 percent). While the industry average was 765 points, Apple scored 811, LG scored 776 and BlackBerry came in third with 759 points. Following them were HTC, Samsung, Palm and Motorola.
The most important factors for business smartphones were said to be ease of operation (29 percent), operating system (23 percent), physical design (21 percent), features (16 percent) and battery function (11 percent). In this category Apple again came out on top, with a score of 803, followed by BlackBerry with a 724. Following these top two were Samsung with a 697, HTC with a 692, and Palm with a score of 688.
Traditional wireless handset users emphasized operation (30 percent), physical design (30 percent), features (20 percent) and battery function (20 percent). LG-as it did in a similar May study-ranked highest, with a score of 723, followed by Motorola with 700, Sanyo with 699, Sony Ericsson with 697, and behind them Samsung, Nokia and Kyocera.
J.D. Power additionally found more customers to be paying less than $100 for smartphones, as a result of wireless carrier offers.
"Attractive rebates or discounts offered to current smartphone owners, as well as incentives given to traditional handset owners to upgrade to smartphones, are effective ways for wireless carriers to generate revenue and increase market share," said Parsons.
"It is important, however, that manufacturers meet the expectations of those taking advantage of such offers by ensuring the features are intuitive and ultimately rewarding to them in the long run. Providing an easy-to-use, yet powerful operating system with the ability to customize applications to suit owners' individual needs is essential to providing a high-quality and rewarding wireless experience."
The three studies also found that 40 percent of consumer smartphone owners have eliminated their landlines in favor of mobile calling, while only 27 percent of traditional handset owners having done the same. Looking forward to their next phones, 22 percent of consumer smartphone owners say they want their next handset to have Wi-Fi connectivity, while 21 percent want a touch screen and 17 percent want GPS capabilities.