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back to article Half of US smartphone owners have no idea which mobe to buy next

Were "ecosystems" of apps and developers ever the clincher in the smartphone wars? The conventional wisdom is that once users are locked in an online software store they will never leave. Perhaps this stickiness has been oversold. Now 44 per cent of 1,500 smartphone owners surveyed by MKM Partners in the US aren't sure which …

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Whatever.

Until I find something better, I'll stick to my old Nokia 5185. It works in all of Sonoma County's so-called "dead zones" ... and sometimes a telephone just needs to be a telephone.

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Re: Whatever.

I am slowly moving back to that same general idea.. Being always connected doesn't bring as many benefits as what some would like us to believe.

Being completely unreachable is actually becoming more and more enjoyable..

My next phone, will probably be "No Phone".

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The best phone is the one you have

I reckon an increasing number of people look at their phone and wonder why they should bother "upgrading" it. Maybe the US will develop sensible phone tariffs which don't punish people for not getting a new phone every contract renewal. 10 - 15 USD ARPU anyone? You know it makes sense.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Whatever.

No need to qualify it so much. Half of the US doesn't have a clue would have done....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Whatever.

This survey is clearly bollocks. Current US market share for the last 3 months is Blackberry 0.7%, Windows Phone (the vast majority of which are Nokias) 4.1%

Go figure....

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Whatever.

Global Windows Phone marketshare is around 1% and dropping. Does that mean Americans are gullible idiots they buy whatever has the biggest marketing budget?

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Anonymous Coward

Half of all Us smartphone users?

Half of all Us smartphone users never finished their high school education........

So why be surprised at the indecision.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Whatever.

"Global Windows Phone marketshare is around 1% and dropping."

I assume you actually meant Blackberry? They actually dropped to less than 1% now - 0.7% in the US.

Windows Phone market share is growing rapidly - 4.1% in the US, and 6.7% in the UK:

http://blog.laptopmag.com/windows-phone-sales-see-global-gains-while-blackberry-falters

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Whatever.

" Apple users will buy the product with the biggest advertising budget. "

It seems like it. We've had about 4 unwanted show stopping mini ipad problems in the last 4 months. She tried to email a photo from her mini ipad via wifi today. She failed miserably and went back to her Dell. After I'd spent an hour trying to get the application to work, I discovered that this is another Apple facility which is highly erratic and just won't work on our unit . I found a solution finally by copying the photo and pasting it into a new email. However, in sending the email, the picture is inverted when received! The whole experience was appalling. An internet search revealed that the "won't send a picture" problem is endemic in later Apple products and there is no way any future products we buy are going to be Apple. I don't understand why more products aren't being returned.

I've never found this problem with either Microsoft or Ubuntu installations

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What's the motivation?

Once you get over the initial amazement at what smart phones can do, they become a bit humdrum and there is not much point in upgrading to the next one.

I have a Google/HTC G1 that was given to me and have no urge to get something newer. The only thing that would motivate me to get another would be when this one dies.

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Re: What's the motivation?

It depends. If your phone is starting to get a bit long in the tooth (as is mine), then you start to make considerations. I'm currently trending towards the Galaxy S IV, but I won't commit without some more data and preferably some hands-on time on the device. I also want to see if other makers will respond to this with comparable devices (sorry, HTC, but no removable battery is a deal-breaker for me for the One).

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Re: The best phone is the one you have

In my very small sample, I'd say the best phone is the one I had before switching to a smartphone ...

The unfortunate thing is that firstly it is out of production and secondly it is a GSM/GPRS phone and hence has network limitations going forward.

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Re: Whatever.

Of course it's bollocks. They clearly don’t quite understand how the US smart phone market works. Phones are locked to carriers. A Verizon CDMA phone cannot work on AT&T's GDM network and so on. Contracts are made with the carrier in order to obtain a phone at a reasonable price. A phone may be purchased without a contract for an exorbitant price, but there is little point, as the phone can only work with that carrier anyway. It’s all the same to the carrier which phone people choose. In fact, they give you n number of days to exchange a new phone for another. I know, because my wife has done so on several occasions, once because she wanted a white one instead of a black one. Verizon exchanged the perfectly functional black one for a white one with no questions asked. We don’t buy phones in the US, exactly. We buy phone service and use one of the myriad phones they offer, all of which are nearly the same cost and available at any of the carriers. So, you see, to us it seems an odd question to ask in the first place. Sort of like asking a bald man which hair conditioner he will be purchasing next. The survey was a waste of time and resources.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Whatever.

"Global Windows Phone marketshare is around 1% and dropping"

I think you meant Blackberry, who have dropped below 1% in the US and are still dropping: http://blog.laptopmag.com/windows-phone-sales-see-global-gains-while-blackberry-falters

Windows Phone Market share is at 4.1% on the US and 6.7% in the UK and is increasing market share rapidly....

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Market share figures

http://communities-dominate.blogs.com/brands/2013/04/when-no-means-no-what-part-of-no-does-nokia-and-microsoft-not-understand-us-consumers-reject-lumia-a.html

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Coat

Re: Whatever.

@AC - 19:56

" Apple users will buy the product with the biggest advertising budget. "<br>

So that would be Samsung then: The cost of selling Galaxies.

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Its true.

I'd never buy apple because, well, they are apple.

I'm happy with my htc one but google are increasingly beginning to annoy me. Not sure that I want a windows phone plus would I like microsoft any better?

So that leaves... what?

Not sure what my point is, just to show I don't have much loyalty but I guess I'll end up with android again next time because what else is there?

Did any of the open source phones ever get anywhere?

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JDX
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Re: Its true.

If you make decisions on "because they're Apple/MS/Google" rather than on the product being offered then you deserve what you get.

I did find it interesting that nobody in that article mentioned Android, suggesting nobody in the real world gives a toss about the OS... Android phones are often customised so maybe punters don't even realise it's the same OS?!

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Re: Its true.

Both Nokias N9 (Meego) and N900 (Maemo) have .... solid communities, if nothing else.

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Re: Its true.

I'm in the "have no idea camp". I used to be a happy HTC Desire Z user but that phone is just getting old and HTC is discontinuing phones with keyboards in favor of "me too" touch screen only devices and it seems like all of the good keyboard phones with Android are for the US market only.

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@JDX

I susoect that no one mentioned Android because that wasn't a question asked, or an accepted answer. As for me, I like my note, thanks and it's only about 6 months old. My next phone would probably be Samsung, but could also be HTC if I am convinced that it wouldn't be crap like my missus old one.

So I don't know what my next phone will be. The article suggests that means I have no platform lock-in, but I can tell you with>95% certainty that it will be Android.

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Thumb Up

Re: Its true.

"nobody in the real world gives a toss about the OS" - well said! All the rabid fanboys on here take note - regardless of what OS you favour/hate and rant about on here, your average Joe doesn't know care - or probably even know - what's going on to make his phone go, so long as it plays Angry Birds and can send texts.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Its true.

OpenMOKO? not really. All future handset plans have been cancelled.

Such is the domination of Android it's hard for anything to get anywhere. Launching a new mobile platform to compete against Android is like launching a new desktop OS to go against Windows was in the 90s and 00s.

The fact that the hardware was pretty lousy didn't help. I had a dev handset and sold it on when I lost interest. It was unusable as a phone, way too many glitches.

Those who rave on about Android need to realise that having one platform dominating is never a good thing.

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Meh

Re: Its true.

Actually it suggests the survey didn't have Android as a selection. The survey was obviously commissioned by either a large scale vendor or a manufacturer.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Its true.

"Launching a new mobile platform to compete against Android is like launching a new desktop OS to go against Windows was in the 90s and 00s."

Microsoft look to already be succeeding with that one. Windows Phone has over 10% market share in several countries, over 6% in the UK, over 4% in the US, and still growing rapidly...

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Its true.

The Desire Z was a great phone. HTC just need to get rid of their sense crap, use stock android and make hardware that folk want. Nexus devices provide such a great experience compared with the rest...and hardware choice would be welcomed. As for Samsung, their physical 'options button' is just bonkers...it doesn't even light up when there are options...so folk play a game of 'do options exist? on each screen', which is always fun.

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Re: Its true.

>> "Launching a new mobile platform ...

> Microsoft look to already be succeeding with that one. Windows Phone has over 10% market share in several countries, over 6% in the UK, over 4% in the US, and still growing rapidly...

Microsoft is not a _new_ platform, it has been around in various ways for over a decade and once had 42% of the US market. Of course it has gone through various incompatible iterations, and that is one reason why it dropped down to 3-4% where it has stagnated for two or three years.

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Re: Its true.

@AC 12:45 - Links to where you're getting these figures from, please?

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Never did believe in platform lock in myself. After all, if I switch to a different OS and I return 2 years later, my apps and other purchases will still be available. Nothing is really lost...

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Meh

Lambs to slaughter

1500 is a pretty low sample. How many were 'in contract' and how long before their phone was 'due for renewal' Amerkin style? These US consumers live in an entirely different world compared to the EU when it comes to mobile phones and contracts.

If their phone isn't due for renewal any time soon, they may not even be thinking about their options yet.

In all, this would seem to be a positive for Nokia and Blackberry because there appear to be a lot of floating voters. All you need do is bribe the carriers more than Apple/Samsung and you get sales come renewal.

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Re: Lambs to slaughter

I agree with all of this post except "1500 is a pretty low sample." If you've do any real consumer insights work you soon learn that 1,000 is plenty and you can get real data with a fraction of that. The incremental benefit of going over 1000 diminishes rapidly.

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Platform Lock In....

.....is only really relevant if you have paid money for apps from the store.

I suspect that at least half of users (like me) only ever use free apps which can be downloaded again for free from whatever other app store a new 'phone supports, so you are not really affected by any kind of lock in. I suspect this even applies for people who have cheaply paid for apps (I would not be particularly bothered about spending a few quid re-downloading a good app again for a different OS every couple of years). It's just not a big enough cash loss to be a major factor in choosing a new 'phone.

Now that most of the major OS's support most of the 'essential' apps that most people want, the platform difference is just not a relevant factor any more (who cares if one app store has 2,000,000 apps and the other only has 10,000 as long as both have the 10 or so you actually want ?)

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WTF?

There was a time when people upgraded because they saw something to upgrade to. Now it seems there is an assumption that upgrade is good, and not knowing what to upgrade to is somehow a failing. I assume this survey was driven by the suppliers of potential upgrade targets?

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Boffin

Nowadays, people are mainly upgrading because it's very in, because it has 0.2 mp better camera, 2% more round corners, displays with 10% more resolution than real life and 15% more slabby overall.

And because there are new "apps". Oh and because cheap hardware in these "smartphones" simply falls apart.

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I had these discussions with my Palm Treo 650

I kept being phoned up by my Service Provider saying I could upgrade my phone.

At the time (pre-iPhone), my answer was another question "What can I upgrade to?"

When all they could offer was a Windows Mobile phone, I normally answered "And that is an upgrade?" Eventually, I went Android, although an odd quirk was that because I didn't take an upgrade when I was entitled to it, when I did, the discount I was offered was less if I had upgraded promptly. Bizarre!

I was very happy with my Treo, and it is still by fall-back phone. And now, over 6 years later and still on it's original battery, It still lasts longer on one charge than my Sony Xperia.

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Meh

"Nowadays, people are mainly upgrading because ...."

...at the end of their contract their operator offers them another "free" phone. If you're not in pain from the charges, then why not keep paying and have an upgrade?

OK, at the end of contract you could go to a SIM-only contract, but on a like for like contract bundle the difference is what, £12-15 a month in the UK, I'd guess not that different in the States? So for the price a handful of Starbucks each month, you get the latest and greatest handset. How many buyers stop to think that the "free" phone is actually costing them £300-£400 or more?

There's some people who will say "I don't need a new phone", but they are in a minority. And not only a minority that are oblivious to obsolescence, but a subset that have taken good care not to mangle their handset.

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Megaphone

Re: I had these discussions with my Palm Treo 650

Yeah, I've found that "upgrade" generally means something worse, I mean, last upgrade I took, the price went up, and the specs were barely improved (but I really, really couldn't stand Windows Mobile 6.5, even if the HTC HD2 was actually a cracking piece of kit. HTC failed, in that they promised an option to upgrade to Andorid/WiPho 7)

Fast forward to my next phone, the LG Optimus 3D - again, cracking hardware, should be nice and fast and a decent party trick with the stereoscopic lenses and glasses-free 3D screen(yeah, yeah, gimmick but it never fails to wow someone the first time they see it). Utterly and completly trashed by LG and their forks of android which can only be described as a half-completed abortion which they've given up on. Ghost calling for goodness sake - when your phone DOESNT RING when someone calls it. Known issue for over 12 months?! Not a problem according to LG. bye bye!

So yeah - my biggest gripe, and the only thing that is making me "upgrade" each time, is the promise of a phone that has a UI that works to take advantage of the hardware beneath. For that, my next phone is likely to be a Samsung, having been burnt by the incompetence of both HTC and LG.

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Go

"Perhaps this stickiness has been oversold."

I'd like to think that it's because people have actually been educated. I've been pleasantly surprised at the number of *garians who tell me "I know I'm locking myself into <brand>, but it's a conscious decision because ..."

I have no problem with people going with one brand or the other, as long as it's an educated choice.

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WTF?

Re: *garians

Hungarians? Bulgarians? Vulgarians?

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g e
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Meh

It'll be Android but that's all I know

Like jb99 I'll not buy Apple because they're Apple, they're always playing technology catchup (yes they are) and they don't actually make anything I want, either, which is the main influencer.

Heard the Z10 is surprisingly laggy in the UI from a colleague who tried one and you'll not find me supporting Microsoft.

Plus I'm more than happy with Android, anyway. HTC One looks nice, the S4 is a bit of an anti-climax though has massive CPU grunt like the One does and a fine screen. Most likely will be a Samsung or an HTC, really don't know and not even sure if I care that much any more, either. Not due an upgrade until the next raft of smartphones is released anyway and I suspect that this time next year, maybe end of this year, Samsung, SONY, LG or HTC will be putting something out that shifts the paradigm again for The Next Best Thing so happy to wait, really,

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It'll be Android but that's all I know

Silly.

1. Why so anti? Do you somehow think Apple is more immoral than Samsung (who are slated even at home for their bad employment practices)? Of no relevance except for my impartiality: in most things, not being an American device is a plus point for me (though I excuse Apple a little as rather a lot of their design is European).

2. How can the firm that brought out the first,useable and popular "smart" mobiles and tablets be playing catch-up to those who copied the idea later, no matter how good the newer versions? Must be that time machine HG Wells thought up, or Dr. Who's Tardis.

3. Despite 2., what is wrong with with "catch up"? Almost every improved technology tends to come from another source than the originator, as others apply a different perspective to a good idea. Do you buy your fridge or car or bicycle only from the very first firm to make such?

4. Why should the OS be changed if it is working? In fact, most of us, who want to use a thing as a thing, resent unnecessary change. That's why, despite all the experiments, steering wheels are mainly still round, keyboards are mainly (in English speaking countries) QWERTY, the modern, basic land line telephone would be useable by someone who had not seen a new model for fifty years. Change per se is not good. It has to bring something useful that outweighs the disadvantages of change. The differences between IOS, Android and Windows, or the different interfaces on top of Android, actually do not offer better ways to make a telephone call, read the internet or exchange messages. So for most it comes down to taste, battery life, consistency of use, reliability and price. For the slightly more interested, add "security" and, linked, ability and ease of updates (without "jail breaking" or other fiddling), e.g. as Apple and, to a lesser extent Nokia manage. I have got no experience with Blackberry. For a few, it comes down to pseudo-religion or being fashionable, just as it is fashionable to "not ever use Apple", "next will be a Samsung" .....

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Re: It'll be Android but that's all I know

I like the look of the One, but no micro SD card ruled it out for me,

I like the look of the Sony Experia Z, but the screen was very poor when I tried it out..

So the only real option for a high powered phone is the S4.

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Re: It'll be Android but that's all I know

Just about sums it up for me too. MicroSD and a replaceable battery are positives, SWMBO has a fruity phone and I don't get on with it, I've played with the winphone and I like that even less. I will look at the blackberry but the bugginess stories don't make me hopeful. I looked very hard at the Nexus 4, but the 'everything in the cloud' aspect of it finally put me off (no google - we don't have infinite data plans here in the real world). Looks like an S4 - but cyanogen saying that they won't support it makes that less appealing as the carrier crapware irritates the hell out of me.

Sigh. My old S1 really has reached the end of it's practical life so I've gotta do something. Maybe I'll just wait until I can pick up an S3 at good money.

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Re: It'll be Android but that's all I know

"not being an American device is a plus point for me (though I excuse Apple a little as rather a lot of their design is European)"

LOL, literally :)

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Anonymous Coward

In other recent news...

It's on Macrumours, but....

http://www.macrumors.com/2013/04/09/nearly-half-of-surveyed-u-s-teens-using-iphones-over-one-third-using-ipads/

48% own an iPhone, 68% expect next phone to be iPhone.

And six months ago:

http://www.macrumors.com/2012/04/03/one-third-of-u-s-high-school-students-now-own-an-iphone/

34% own an iPhone, 40% are interested in purchasing an iPhone in the next 6 months.

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Headmaster

It is certainly true that this does not give either Nokia or RIM anything to celebrate.

However, I would point out that Nokia has had very little success in the US market for a fair number of years (well before they hooked up with Redmond) whereas RIM were "the Man" in the US market (particularly enterprise) not so long ago. For them these figures make for very depressing reading indeed.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It is certainly true that this does not give either Nokia or RIM anything to celebrate.

Nokia produced GSM phones and GSM wasn't really popular in the US for a time.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: It is certainly true that this does not give either Nokia or RIM anything to celebrate.

Yes, it took them a while to get with the 21st Century and start to ditch that CDMA crap that pretty much no one else used....

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"The conventional wisdom is that once users are locked in an online software store they will never leave."

No it's not - the conventional wisdom is that once users have some tie-in, that will act as inertia to moving... same as many other situations. Don't sound quite so good a story that way though...

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Stop

The haters mantra

"Apple hasn't really added much to iOS in the last 6 years", which seems to assume that the only thing iOS consists of is Springboard (the app launcher). It's job in life is to let a user quickly pick the app they want and then get out if the way. It manages that task perfectly reasonably and has the advantage of user familiarity (ask Microsoft if users appreciate a complete revamp of how an app launcher/ GUI shell works). The APIs available to those apps (which add to their functionality and performance) have improved dramatically (the original iPhone didn't even allow native apps lest we forget).

Oddly enough the same people use the same argument in reverse when it comes to OSX, that the new GUI features are just bling and chrome, and that the underlying OS hasn't changed.

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