Apple's iOS-based iPhone continues to be the preferred smartphone for nearly 50 percent of consumers, with Android the top choice for about one-third of them. The real surprise is evidence that Microsoft's Windows Phone OS now outstrips Android in user satisfaction.
Even without an announcement about a new iPhone from Apple, nearly half of all consumers planning to buy a smartphone in the next 90 days will be happy to buy the existing iPhone 4, according to survey by ChangeWave, a Rockville, Md., research firm that tracks changes in consumer and corporate electronics buying.
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Fully 46 percent of the 4,163 mainly U.S. consumers surveyed say they prefer a smartphone with Apple's iOS firmware. That's up two points from the March survey. One-third of those surveyed (32 percent more precisely) prefer to buy an Android device. That's a one-point improvement over the previous survey.
Preference for Research in Motion's BlackBerry OS continued its decline, this time by one point, to 4 percent, its lowest point since ChangeWave began its studies in January 2008. [See a graphic comparison of the three platforms here.]
The preference for Apple hinges on the consistently high customer satisfaction with the phone and its software, far outstripping all rivals. Seven out of 10 iOS customers say they are "very satisfied" with the firmware. By contrast, 50 percent of Android users report the same level of satisfaction, and only 26 percent of BlackBerry OS users.
Microsoft at first appears to fare only slightly better than RIM. Overall, 27 percent of the Microsoft users in the survey report being "very satisfied." But this number is for "Microsoft OS," which covers both the older Windows Mobile OS and the radically different Windows Phone OS, introduced on handsets in November 2010. Satisfaction levels vary dramatically between these two groups.
Only 14 percent of users of the older Windows Mobile OS are "very satisfied," according to ChangeWave. But that number soars to 57 percent for those with Windows Phone handsets. That's higher than the "very satisfied" among Android users, though still 13 percent below the "very satisfied" iOS users.