Paul Carton and Jean Crumrine at ChangeWave Research reported the findings of their August survey of new iPhone and Palm Pre owners. They compare and contrast owner impressions such as which smartphone features they like best and dislike the most.
A total of 198 Apple iPhone 3GS owners and 38 Palm Pre owners participated in the survey. The overall satisfaction numbers for both were great, while the iPhone is the sweetheart of the two, the Palm Pre faired very well.
The initial satisfaction numbers for the iPhone 3GS are the most extraordinary they’ve seen for a smart phone, with 82% of new owners saying they’re Very Satisfied and 17% Somewhat Satisfied - for a combined near-perfect satisfaction rating.
While the initial Palm Pre numbers are not as high, the new model’s satisfaction
rating is exceptional for a new product release. Nearly half (45%) of Palm Pre owners report they are Very Satisfied with their new smart phone and another 42% say they’re Somewhat Satisfied - for a combined 87% Satisfaction Rating.
To put this in context, BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion and Apple are the only other smartphone manufacturers to attain such high Very satisfied levels - and in this case Palm is accomplishing it with a brand new product release, a very significant achievement.
In another example of the widespread approval among early iPhone 3GS buyers, nearly two-in-five (38%) report the new iPhone Exceeds their expectations and another 56% say it Meets their e expectations.. While less robust than the 3GS, once again the Palm Pre results are quite positive- with 18% of Pre owners saying their new phone Exceeds expectations and another 58% reporting it Meets expectations.
In further upbeat findings for both models, the vast majority of Palm Pre (92%) and Apple iPhone 3GS (90%) owners report the initial activation process was Very or Somewhat Easy. There is also a relatively similar exchange rate for the two devices - 11% of Palm Pre owners report they’ve had to exchange their phone due to problems with the device, only a few points higher than the 7% of iPhone 3GS owners who say they’ve had to exchange their device.
Nearly three-in-five (56%) current Palm Pre owners also say they are Very or Somewhat
Likely to purchase the Palm Pre for someone else in the future - a classic sign of strong
customer satisfaction. A similar 57% of iPhone 3GS owners say the same thing - that they’re Very or Somewhat Likely to buy a new 3GS for someone else in the future
But just what is it about these two smartphones that leave their owners so highly satisfied? To find out, they queried users on the features they like and dislike most. Here’s what they said:
Palm Pre Likes
The Pre’s Touch Screen Interface (47%), Multi-Tasking (42%) and Ease of Use (39%) rank
as the top three things that owners like best about their new phone.
In addition, one-in-four (24%) say the Coverage/Speed/Quality of Sprint’s 3G Network is the feature they like best - a finding that bodes well for Palm’s exclusivity agreement with Sprint.
Respondent HID14569 summarizes his perspective on the Pre as follows: “I have a
significant investment in Palm apps - calculators, email, organizer, etc. Moving to BlackBerry was unsatisfactory. Treo 650 was great, but multitasking is worth switching to Sprint.”
They note that among Palm Pre buyers who previously owned other smart phones, WebOS User Interface (28%) and Multi-Tasking (17%) were their top reasons cited for switching.
Palm Pre Dislikes
By a wide margin, Short Battery Life (45%) is the thing owners dislike most about their Palm Pre. A second big issue is its weakness regarding Third Party Applications - with 24% saying they’re unhappy.
iPhoners Love Their iPhones - Palm Pre Expectations Exceeded
In another example of the widespread approval among early 3GS buyers, nearly two-in-five (38%) report the new iPhone Exceeds their expectations and another 56% say it Meets their expectations.Palm Pre. While less robust than the 3GS, once again the Palm Pre results are quite positive - with 18% of Pre owners saying their new phone Exceeds expectations and another 58% reporting it Meets expectations.
Apple iPhone 3GS Likes
Similar to what was found with the Pre, the iPhone 3GS’s Touch Screen Interface (45%) and Ease of Use (41%) rank as the top things owners like best about their new phones - followed by Faster Web Browsing (33%) and Third Party Applications (31%).
Respondent GRE5573 sums it up for the iPhone 3GS as follows: “Of all the gadgets I’ve used in the last 10 years, it’s the only one that makes me feel like the future has arrived, by elegantly integrating so many devices in one.
“The GPS works seamlessly with its maps application, the iPod can keep me entertained for days with music and video, the improved camera adds a slick video recording feature, the app store lets me do almost anything I need to with the phone - I could go on and on…
“The reason the iPhone is so popular is because it can easily become whatever it needs to be to make it an integral part of a person’s life … even if you have to use AT&T’s less-than stellar network.”
They note that among 3GS buyers who previously owned a non-Apple smartphone, Superior Web Browsing (23%) and More Third Party Applications (18%) rank as top reasons why they chose to switch manufacturers. And among those who already owned an Apple iPhone in the first place, more than half (57%) said Faster Speed and Performance was the primary reason why they chose to purchase the new 3GS.
Apple iPhone 3GS Dislikes
Short Battery Life (41%) ranks as the number one dislike for iPhone 3GS owners.
But by far the most significant pitfall for new Apple 3GS owners rests with AT&T. One-in three (32%) say they don’t like the Requirement to Use AT&T’s Network and another 23% say they dislike the Coverage/ Speed/Quality of AT&T’s 3G Network.
As Respondent GRE5573 puts it, “The iPhone 3GS really taxes the battery if you use the 3G network a lot - you have to charge it every day. AT&T’s network still drops a lot of calls, and the 3G coverage and speed is nothing to write home about.”
Palm Pre: The good news for Palm in the survey results is its new Pre model has
outperformed mightily in terms of customer satisfaction - thereby entering the pantheon of the smartphone industry previously inhabited only by its top two manufacturers, Apple and RIM.
authors conclude. Palm itself will have to continue to outperform to
remain competitive in this race. The Sunnyvale, California manufacturer
is up against two highly capitalized industry giants along with a slew
of lesser competitors, and it will take world class marketing and a
huge advertising budget for Palm to compete successfully in the high
end smarthone market overthe long term. Regardless, they’re off to a
great start. Read Full ChangeWave Report.