People really, really like their iPhones.
Apple's iPhone received a user loyalty score of 73 percent, which was 84 percent higher than the 40 percent loyalty rating scored by Google's Android platform.
The latest research came Jan. 18 courtesy of Zokem, a mobile analytics specialist that focuses on smartphones. The company surveyed more than 6,000 smartphone users through 2010 to gauge how loyal people are toward different phone models and carriers.
By loyalty, Zokem means how likely a user is to select a device or platform for repurchase when their contract expires, or when their device is lost, damaged or stolen. Low loyalty correlates with higher churn, meaning more likelihood to shift to a competing platform.
Zokem regards a score greater than 60 percent as good, which means only the iPhone nabbed a quality loyalty rating.
Samsung Bada ranked third in user loyalty, with a score of 33, followed by Research In Motion's BlackBerry with 30 percent. Symbian S60 scored 23 percent to round out the top five. Windows Mobile and Palm both eked out a loyalty rating of 10 percent.
iPhone and Android provide the biggest competitive spark.
Zokem noted that while Android, which sports more than 100 handsets on the market and sees 300,000 activations each day, emerged as the best-selling mobile platform in the United States in 2010, the few iPhone models that are available on the market are selling more than any specific Android device.
"For the time being, Apple's well-controlled ecosystem, including the iTunes app store and traditionally higher revenues per device, seems to make an unmatched combination," Zokem wrote in a blog post Jan. 18.
"As a platform, however, Android is a fair competitor-and in certain numbers, bigger than iPhone-but the industry attention is still geared toward the iPhone as the leading smartphone platform, particularly in the U.S."
The latest ComScore and Millennial Media numbers bear this out. ComScore said Android grabbed 26 percent market share through November, compared with 25 percent for Apple iOS. That's the first time Android outsold iPhone in the researcher's metrics.
Millennial, meanwhile, rated the iPhone as the top device serving ads on its network. Millennial nabbed 21 percent of the top 15 manufacturers' impression share in December.
There is some good news for Apple, RIM and Google from Zokem, which noted in its "repurchase model" that current owners of iPhones, BlackBerrys and Android devices are all more likely to buy a handset from the same platform in the future rather than to change to a competing platform.
That certainly bodes well for the future of those three platforms, which many analysts see as running a three-horse race while the rest of the players plod in the distance.