updated 02:10 pm EST, Mon November 29, 2010
GfK says smartphone loyalty only at 25 percent
Only a quarter of smartphone owners plan to stick to their existing choice of OS for their next models with only Apple showing significant loyalty, GfK found in a new study. About 25 percent planned to stay, but only the iPhone had more than half of its owners willing to stay on for the next revision at 59 percent. BlackBerry owners were next closest, but only 35 percent were likely to keep using one of RIM's phones.
Android as a collective platform had just 28 percent loyalty despite the plurality of manufacturers, and the most aged platforms, Symbian and Windows Mobile, were at the back with 24 and 21 percent. The Germany-based research group didn't mention webOS or Windows Phone 7, though their user bases are small and may not have appeared in the study.
Lead analyst Ryan Garner explained the fragility of the market as customers were now putting more emphasis on "high-end level" experiences rather than basic features such as calling. Apps often mattered as part of the experience and thus played into the hands of Apple, whose 300,000 apps made it more likely to fit someone's needs than the 100,000 of Android or 10,000 for the BlackBerry.
About 37 percent of those in the worldwide study with basic phones, excepting China, planned to buy a smartphone as their next replacement, hinting that there was still significant room for growth in smartphone sales in the near term.
The results hinted at a potential Android backlash as those with a more frustrating experience using Google's OS were more likely to use an alternative. Apple might also benefit with a more stable group.