J.D. Power & Associates released a study today that ranked the level of satisfaction users had with their smartphones and mobile phones. Following expectations, the frenzied hordes of iPhone junkies loved their phones the most. In the normal mobile phone market, LG users were the most satisfied. LG also nabbed the #2 spot in smartphone satisfaction.
Apple scored a 791 out of 1,000 on J.D. Power's scale. The iPhone's ease-of-use, OS, and basic design were all noted as huge contributing factors to its success. This news should come to no surprise to anyone. The iPhone dominates the smartphone market, and it's not just because of the borderline-psychotic brand loyalty shown by some Apple users. From the day they entered the smartphone race, Apple has kept their eyes focused on what modern consumers want out of their phones.
And what do modern consumers want? J.D. Power's study also looked into the features that people value when choosing a smartphone. Ease-of-operation came in first, the phone's operating system came in second, and the features it offered were a close third. Physical design was also somewhat important, but only 9% of responders said that battery function was a big deal for them.
Normal mobile phone users were a bit more practical. Battery function was highly valued by 20% of respondents, while ease-of-operation and physical design were the most valued features by a combined 60% of those queried.
The study came up with some other interesting facts as well. It found that 40% of smartphone users have replaced their landline with their mobile. By comparison, just 28% of non-smartphone owners did the same. Overall satisfaction of smartphone users with their phones was also up in this study.
So what does this study mean for the market and, more importantly, for your mobile phone? For one thing, it's going to make all of Apple's competitors take another good, hard look at the iPhone. Brand loyalty alone doesn't get you the sort of marks Apple got in this study. They've hit on the sweet spot of design and function with the iPhone, and every other manufacturer is going to try to get into that groove now that they know where it is.
This study also shows that smartphones are being increasingly seen as whole 'lifestyle' devices, rather than just cell phones with fancy gizmos attached to them. People reported using their smartphones to store their calendars and to-do lists and keep their lives organized more than they ever have before. Smartphone manufacturers are going to take note of this, and I expect the next generation of phones to be even more like miniaturized PCs. Expect to see some apps that let you access your desktop remotely appear in the near future.
The one troubling part of this study is the low importance customers placed on battery life. Considering out unimportant most consumers seem to view it, you can bet that a lot of designers will continue to cut corners there. On the plus side, you can always rig up a solar charging rig for when you're out and about.