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Who is most satisfied with their smartphones?

Friday, September 7th, 2012

Who is happiest with their smartphones? People who regularly use social media channels and those who play games on them, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2012 U.S. Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study.

On a recent trip, a friend of ours was trying out an iPhone 4. She used it primarily to take pictures and for posting on social networks. The ease of using it for those purposes sold her on the device.

The JD Power study found that customers who regularly use mobile channels of social media and gaming applications are more satisfied with their device and spend more per month for wireless service than customers who do not.

In 2012, 67 percent of smartphone customers said they downloaded social networking applications on their device and report spending more than 100 minutes per week using those applications.

Overall smartphone satisfaction among customers using social networking applications is 810 (on a 1,000-point scale), which is 55 points higher than among smartphone customers who do not.

Gamers also more satisfied

Personally, I enjoy playing games on mobile devices – especially during times when I would otherwise be idle. Many other people find that an attraction as well.

The JD Power study found that 69 percent of smartphone customers said they have downloaded gaming applications and spend an average of 81 minutes per week playing games.

Satisfaction among customers using gaming applications is 61 points higher than among those who do not (813 vs. 752, respectively).

“As the capabilities of wireless phones and their applications continue to expand, allowing customers to more often use their device, handset manufacturers have an opportunity to shape the customer experience and impact satisfaction with better application integration and social networking options,” said Uma Jha, senior director of mobile devices at J.D. Power and Associates.

The study also found that for the 8th time, Apple ranked highest among manufacturers of smartphones in customer satisfaction – particularly in design and ease of use.

HTC followed Apple in the smartphone study, while LG led in the traditional mobile phone satisfaction study.

The studies also find the following key wireless handset usage patterns and purchase trends:

  • The cost of a traditional wireless mobile phone averages $56, compared with an average of $66 in 2011. The decline is primarily due to discounts provided by handset providers and wireless service carriers to incentivize sales. Currently, 44 percent of customers report having received a free mobile phone when subscribing to a wireless service.
  • Features are less important in the smartphone selection processes due to an influx of competitive offerings from newer manufacturers. Nearly one-half (47%) of customers this year indicate they chose their smartphone primarily because of particular features, such as a camera, the operating system, or social media integration or gaming capabilities, compared with 57 percent just one year ago.
  • Nearly two in 10 current smartphone owners report experiencing a software or device malfunction. Malfunctions have a significant impact on overall satisfaction, a gap of 90 points between customers who experience software malfunctions and those who do not.

Texting, downloaded apps, and accessing social networks on mobile all increasing

Wednesday, August 1st, 2012

comScoreGoogle Android continued to grow its share in the U.S. smartphone market, accounting for 51.6 percent of smartphone subscribers, while Apple captured 32.4 percent in June, according to digital measurment firm comScore’s MobilLens service. It also reported that mobile users are increasingly accessing social networks, downloading apps, and texting.

OEM Market Share

For the three-month average period ending in June, 234 million Americans age 13 and older used mobile devices. Device manufacturer Samsung ranked as the top OEM with 25.6 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers, followed by LG with 18.8 percent share. Apple continued to gain share in the OEM market, ranking third with 15.4 percent of mobile subscribers (up 1.4 percentage points), followed by Motorola with 11.7 percent and HTC with 6.4 percent (up 0.4 percentage points).

Top Mobile OEMs
3 Month Avg. Ending Jun. 2012 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Mar. 2012
Total U.S. Mobile Subscribers (Smartphone & Non-Smartphone) Ages 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Share (%) of Mobile Subscribers
Mar-12 Jun-12 Point Change
Total Mobile Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Samsung 26.0% 25.6% -0.4
LG 19.3% 18.8% -0.5
Apple 14.0% 15.4% 1.4
Motorola 12.8% 11.7% -1.1
HTC 6.0% 6.4% 0.4

Smartphone Platform Market Share

More than 110 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in June, up 4 percent versus March. Google Android ranked as the top smartphone platform with 51.6 percent market share (up 0.6 percentage points), while Apple’s share increased 1.7 percentage points to 32.4 percent. RIM ranked third with 10.7 percent share, followed by Microsoft (3.8 percent) and Symbian (0.9 percent).

Top Smartphone Platforms
3 Month Avg. Ending Jun. 2012 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Mar. 2012
Total U.S. Smartphone Subscribers Ages 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Share (%) of Smartphone Subscribers
Mar-12 Jun-12 Point Change
Total Smartphone Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Google 51.0% 51.6% 0.6
Apple 30.7% 32.4% 1.7
RIM 12.3% 10.7% -1.6
Microsoft 3.9% 3.8% -0.1
Symbian 1.4% 0.9% -0.5

Mobile Content Usage

In June, 75.0 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device (up 0.7 percentage points).

Downloaded applications were used by 51.4 percent of subscribers (up 1.4 percentage points), while browsers were used by 50.2 percent (up 0.9 percentage points).

Accessing of social networking sites or blogs increased 0.8 percentage points to 36.9 percent of mobile subscribers. Game-playing was done by 33.4 percent of the mobile audience (up 0.8 percentage points), while 27.6 percent listened to music on their phones (up 2.3 percentage points).

Mobile Content Usage
3 Month Avg. Ending Jun. 2012 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Mar. 2012
Total U.S. Mobile Subscribers (Smartphone & Non-Smartphone) Ages 13+
Source: comScore MobiLens
Share (%) of Mobile Subscribers
Mar-12 Jun-12 Point Change
Total Mobile Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Sent text message to another phone 74.3% 75.0% 0.7
Used downloaded apps 50.0% 51.4% 1.4
Used browser 49.3% 50.2% 0.9
Accessed social networking site or blog 36.1% 36.9% 0.8
Played Games 32.6% 33.4% 0.8
Listened to music on mobile phone 25.3% 27.6% 2.3

EquiTrend poll names top e-reader, digital cam, consumer electronics firms

Friday, April 27th, 2012

AppleAs more and more companies adopt a “Bring Your Own Device” philosophy, the most successful technology brands are creating powerful mobile computing devices that span both work and play, reports the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend (EQ) study.

EQ is a yearly study that measures the perceptions of 38,500+ American consumers about more than 1,500 lifestyle, product, and service brands.

Apple at the Top of the Technology Tree 
Technology and telecommunication brand Apple has swept the computertablet computer, and mobile phonecategories in the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend study.

Not far behind Apple in the computer category is Hewlett Packard. HP is followed by Dell, SONY and Lenovo, which complete the list of brands that rank above the category average

Samsung Galaxy, SONY Tablet, Motorola Xoom, and Lenovo ThinkPad follow Apple iPad in the tablet computer category.

Though Apple leads the clustered field of mobile phone manufacturers, HTC—a relatively unknown player five years ago—catapults to second in brand equity without doing any direct advertising and preferring a channel market strategy only. Apple and HTC are followed by Samsung, LG, Motorola, and Sharp.

SONY is the Consumer Electronics King 
Among consumer electronics brands, iconic SONY remains top-ranked and leads the pack. Also in the consumer electronics space are brands such as Samsung, LG, Panasonic, Onkyo, Vizio, Toshiba, Pioneer, Sharp, and Philips.

Canon is the Digital Camera of Choice 
For their inner photographers, American consumers prefer Canon, a 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend Digital Camera Brand of the Year. Nikon and SONY take the second and third slots, with neck-and-neck equity scores. Kodak and Olympus also earn equity scores above category average.

The E-Reader Brand of the Year is Kindle     
KindleAmazon Kindle is the highest ranked e-reader brand, according to the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend study. Barnes and Noble’s Nook lands in distant second.

HP Printers are Highest Ranked Imaging Brand 
Hewlett Packard is the 2012 Harris Poll EquiTrend Printer Brand of the Year. It sits at the top of the list with a healthy lead over second ranked brand, Kodak. Following closely behind Kodak are Canon, Xerox, Epson, Brother, and Samsung.

 

Google’s Android takes majority share of mobile market for first time

Wednesday, April 4th, 2012
Samsung phone

A Samsung Android phone.

Samsung was the top handset manufacturer overall with 25.6 percent market share, according to  comScore MobiLens service, reporting key trends in the U.S. mobile phone industry during the three month average period endingFebruary 2012.

Google Android continued to grow its share in the U.S. smartphone market, crossing the 50-percent threshold in February to capture a majority share for the first time in its history.

OEM Market Share

For the three-month average period ending in February, 234 million Americans age 13 and older used mobile devices.

Device manufacturer Samsung ranked as the top OEM with 25.6 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers, followed by LG with 19.4 percent share. Apple captured the #3 ranking in February with 13.5 percent of mobile subscribers (up 2.3 percentage points), followed by Motorola at 12.8 percent.

HTC moved into the #5 position in February at 6.3 percent (up 0.4 percentage points).

Top Mobile OEMs

3 Month Avg. Ending Feb. 2012 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Nov. 2011

Total U.S. Mobile Subscribers (Smartphone & Non-Smartphone) Ages 13+

Source: comScore MobiLens

Share (%) of Mobile Subscribers
Nov-11 Feb-12 Point Change
Total Mobile Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Samsung 25.6% 25.6% 0.0
LG 20.5% 19.4% -1.1
Apple 11.2% 13.5% 2.3
Motorola 13.7% 12.8% -0.9
HTC 5.9% 6.3% 0.4

Smartphone Platform Market Share

More than 104 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in February, up 14 percent versus November.

Google Android’s share of the smartphone market eclipsed 50 percent in February, an increase of 17 percentage points since February 2011.

Apple ranked second with 30.2 percent of the smartphone market (up 5 percentage points versus year ago), followed by RIM at 13.4 percent, Microsoft at 3.9 percent and Symbian at 1.5 percent.

Top Smartphone Platforms

3 Month Avg. Ending Feb. 2012 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Nov. 2011

Total U.S. Smartphone Subscribers Ages 13+

Source: comScore MobiLens

Share (%) of Smartphone Subscribers
Nov-11 Feb-12 Point Change
Total Smartphone Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Google 46.9% 50.1% 3.2
Apple 28.7% 30.2% 1.5
RIM 16.6% 13.4% -3.2
Microsoft 5.2% 3.9% -1.3
Symbian 1.5% 1.5% 0.0

Mobile Content Usage

In February, 74.8 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers used text messaging on their mobile device, up 2.2 percentage points. Downloaded applications were used by 49.5 percent of subscribers (up 4.6 percentage points), while browsers were used by 49.2 percent (up 4.8 percentage points). Accessing of social networking sites or blogs increased 3.1 percentage points to 36.1 percent of mobile subscribers. Game-playing was done by 32.3 percent of the mobile audience (up 2.6 percentage points), while 24.8 percent listened to music on their phones (up 3.1 percentage points).

Click to view table full screen
Mobile Content Usage

3 Month Avg. Ending Feb. 2012 vs. 3 Month Avg. Ending Nov. 2011

Total U.S. Mobile Subscribers (Smartphone & Non-Smartphone) Ages 13+

Source: comScore MobiLens

Share (%) of Mobile Subscribers
Nov-11 Feb-12 Point Change
Total Mobile Subscribers 100.0% 100.0% N/A
Sent text message to another phone 72.6% 74.8% 2.2
Used downloaded apps 44.9% 49.5% 4.6
Used browser 44.4% 49.2% 4.8
Accessed social networking site or blog 33.0% 36.1% 3.1
Played Games 29.7% 32.3% 2.6
Listened to music on mobile phone 21.7% 24.8% 3.1

About MobiLens

MobiLens data is derived from an intelligent online survey of a nationally representative sample of mobile subscribers age 13 and older. Data on mobile phone usage refers to a respondent’s primary mobile phone and does not include data related to a respondent’s secondary device.

Apple’s iPad accounts for nearly half of negative online comments about tablets

Friday, January 20th, 2012
ipad4

Guests say their favorite in-room amenity is the use of iPads for guest services, local information and personal use.

The overwhelming majority of customers are highly positive in their views on tablet PCs as expressed on the internet.Social media research specialist DigitalMR measured thousands of comments for slate devices across September-October 2011.

Over two thirds (68%) of all views measured were positive with only 32% negative.

Apple recorded a 33% share of all positive comments but more worryingly a 46% of the smaller pool of negative ones.

Next placed is Amazon with 19% of positive mentions and only 13% of negative, followed by Samsung with 15% of positive mentions and 18% of negative ones.

Apple’s upgrade may have caused negative comments

The high percentage of negative Apple comments is likely to be related to problems that users faced in upgrading to Apple’s new iOS 5 software in October.

Kindle Fire

At $199, we think the Kindle Fire is a good buy for the money

Personally, we’re more than happy with our $199 Kindle Fire tablet. It has its eccentricities, but they all do. For what it is, though, a way to play games, listen to music, read, surf the net, even watch videos, it’s handy, fun, and easy to use. We didn’t like larger tablets such as the Galaxy Tab nearly so much.

Results are based on comments posted by consumers on the major tablet models made by: Apple, Motorola, Samsung, Blackberry, HTC, LG, HP, ASUS, Sony and Amazon across September-October 2011.

DigitalMR’s analysis (powered by SocialNuggets) is based on comments posted via a range of relevant websites and open access social media platforms. It measures, not only the number of comments posted by consumers on the internet, but also their sentiment – whether posts are positive or negative in nature.

Managing Director of DigitalMR, Michalis Michael commented: “Apple’s high negative score shows they may have become a victim of their own success with iOS 5. The free upgrade caused a spike in demand, leading many users to complain on forums that they kept getting error messages and that the download was taking too long.”

All the brands measured, achieve a positive Net Sentiment Score (NSS) for Sep-Oct. NSS provides an overall percentage score of net positive posts. A positive score means a tablet attracts a higher proportion of positive than negative posts.

The average NSS taken across all brands measured is 36% which is very high compared with other industry sectors. This is good news for the tablet industry as it shows that generally customers and very satisfied with their products and are happy to spread the word online.

However Apple achieves the lowest NSS of 21%, just below Motorola with 22%. The best NSS scores are achieved by newer entrants to the market achieve. Sony is top with 87% (although this is based on a relatively low number of mentions overall) followed by Asus with 73%.

DigitalMR measured thousands of customer posts across Sep-Oct regarding the features that tablets offer. The most talked about features (both positively and negatively) are “operating system” (18% share of positive comments vs 30% negative) and “application” (20% positive vs 21% negative).
Click here for more data

In their words –customer comments sample for models with the highest and lowest Net Sentiment Scores 
Sony:
“I have been using my Sony Tablet S for a couple of days and it’s awesome”.
http://forum.xda-developers.com/archive/index.php/t-1243670.html

Motorola:
“This morning is the second time that my Motorola Xoom has frozen up on me since I received it back from Motorola after the 4G LTE upgrade. Has anyone else had problems with this? I never had any problems whatsoever with this tablet prior to the upgrade”.
https://supportforums.motorola.com/thread/60568

Apple:
“I agree with previous two reviewers – IPAD that worked perfectly, now doesn’t work at all since upgrade, a total waste of money. More than the money, disappointment at being unable to send photos home to loved ones.
http://store.apple.com/uk/reviews/MC531ZM/A

Click here for further customers comments and more about the web listening report

HTC violated Apple patent; Lightsquared money trouble; AT&T drops T-Mobile merger

Tuesday, December 20th, 2011

HTCThe U.S. International Trade Commission says Taiwan-based HTC’s Android phones violated two Apple patent claims in a ruling that goes into effect April 19.

While this is good news for Apple and its iPhone, it may not be so good for consumers. Of the half dozen smartphones we tested last year (all Android or Windows phones), we like HTC’s hardware the best.

The ITC decision says HTC infringed on Apple patent claims that deal with software to make phone numbers and addresses actionable links.

HTC has said it has created workarounds to the patent difficulties. But the decision will afffect the Droid Incredible, EVO 4G, Nexus One and other HTC phones running Android 1.6 to 2.2, says Gizmodo.

Lightsquared may run out of money

Virginia-based LightSquared, the wholesale wireless network firm, could run out of cash by Q2 2012, according to an analysis of its most recent financial statement by Reuters.

The company, backed by Philip Falcone’s $5 billion Harbinger Capital Partners hedge fund, had a $427 million loss the first nine months of 2011. The financial statement seen by Reuters notes that the company may not be able to “continue as a going concern,” if it cannot raise additional capital.

Lightsquared is wrestling with FCC concerns that its plans for high-speed 4G wireless broadband services interferes with the GPS spectrum. It has submitted a plan to the FCC to circumvent the problem.

AT&T gives up on T-Mobile merger

At&tJust two weeks ago, an AT&T public relations person approached me with the firm’s position at the time that it was still working on its potential merger with T-Mobile despite dropping its bid with the FCC to focus on U.S. Department of Justice concerns. Yesterday, though, AT&T threw in the towel.

It will have to pay T-Mobile USA owner Deutsche Telekom the $4 billion fee it agreed to pay if the merger fell through, but says it will enter a mutually beneficial roaming agreement with the company.

In a statement, the company said:

“After a thorough review of options it has agreed with Deutsche Telekom AG to end its bid to acquire T-Mobile USA, which began in March of this year.

“The actions by the Federal Communications Commission and the Department of Justice to block this transaction do not change the realities of the U.S. wireless industry. It is one of the most fiercely competitive industries in the world, with a mounting need for more spectrum that has not diminished and must be addressed immediately.

“The AT&T and T-Mobile USA combination would have offered an interim solution to this spectrum shortage.  In the absence of such steps, customers will be harmed and needed investment will be stifled.”

AT&T chair and CEO Randall Stephenson said, ““To meet the needs of our customers, we will continue to invest. However, adding capacity to meet these needs will require policymakers to do two things.

“First, in the near term, they should allow the free markets to work so that additional spectrum is available to meet the immediate needs of the U.S. wireless industry, including expeditiously approving our acquisition of unused Qualcomm spectrum currently pending before the FCC.  Second, policymakers should enact legislation to meet our nation’s longer-term spectrum needs.

 

Tablet owners having positive experience, Apple iPad leads

Wednesday, November 2nd, 2011
Apple iPad3s

Apple iPad3s

Consumer comments about tablet computers on Internet sites are “overwhelmingly positive,” according to a web listening report from UK-based DigitalMR.

Positive comments account for 75 percent of those measured and Apple garnering the lion’s share for its iPad, at 38 percent.

DigitalMR measured thousands of comments for slate devices across July-August 2011. Three quarters of all views measured were positive with only 25% negative. Apple recorded a 38% share of all positive comments and 33% of the smaller pool of negative ones. Next placed is HTC with 17% of positive mentions and 22% of negative.

Results are based on comments posted by consumers on the major tablet brands made by: Apple, Motorola, Samsung, Blackberry, HTC, LG, HP, ASUS, Archos and Fusion Garage, across July-August 2011.

DigitalMR’s analysis (powered by SocialNuggets) is based on comments posted via a range of relevant websites and open access social media platforms. It measures, not only the number of comments posted by consumers on the internet, but also their sentiment – whether posts are positive or negative in nature.

Managing Director of DigitalMR, Michalis Michael commented: “Apple is still the main player in the tablet PC online space. It will be interesting to see if some of the new entrants can emulate the smatphone market and implement successful strategies to increase their online share of voice.”

All the brands measured, achieve a positive Net Sentiment Score (NSS) for Jul-Aug. NSS provides an overall percentage score of net positive posts.

A positive score means a tablet attracts a higher proportion of positive than negative posts. The average NSS taken across all brands measured is 50% which is very high compared with other industry sectors.

This is good news for the tablet industry as it shows that generally customers and very satisfied with their products and are happy to spread the word online.

Apple has an NSS of 55%, slightly above average, but given its dominant position in the market customer expectations are likely to be higher. Newer entrants to the market that achieve the highest NSS are Archos 75% and Asus with 71%. Brands that are performing significantly below the average NSS of 50% are HTC with 39% and Motorola with 37%.

It will be interesting to see how Amazon’s Kindle Fire will fare in the tablet market. It’s lower price point (Amazon is selling the units for $199, less than cost).

Personally, we were not crazy about the larger tablet sizes we tried. We’ll let you know what we think of Amazon’s Kindle Fire after we try it out.

Cell phone evolution from brick to slick (infographic)

Friday, October 14th, 2011

Wilson Electronics created this infographic on the evolution of the cell phone from those brick-like heavyweights to the modern elegantly designed smartphones:

We thought you might enjoy this visual time-travel graphic:

Tablet sales soar 80%, Apple, HTC, Samsung gain smartphone share

Tuesday, September 20th, 2011
iPad 2

Apple's iPad2

Tablet sales jumped 80 percent in Q2 2011, while Apple, Samsung and HTC gained increasing shares of the smartphone market, according to the latest infonetics Research Broadband Devices and Subscribers report.

“The clear synergy between smartphones and tablets, with their shared touchscreen features and common application environments, make them by far the hottest segments of the mobile broadband device market.

Just as iPhone users are more likely to buy an iPad as their tablet, so too are Android users more likely to buy Android-based tablets. It is increasingly important for vendors to have a strong portfolio in both market segments to leverage this synergy,” advises Richard Webb, Infonetics Research’s directing analyst for microwave and small cells.

MOBILE BROADBAND DEVICES MARKET HIGHLIGHTS

  • The number of mobile broadband-enabled tablets (e.g., Apple iPad, Motorola Xoom, BlackBerry PlayBook, HP TouchPad, etc.) sold in the second quarter versus the first quarter jumped 80%, with 14 million tablets sold worldwide in 2Q11
  • A total of US$31.4 billion was spent on smartphones in 2Q11, down 1.4% from the previous quarter despite unit shipments being up about 2%, indicating unit-price erosion impeded revenue growth
  • Infonetics expects global smartphone revenue to grow 31% in 2011 over 2010, to $117 billion
  • Apple’s stronger volumes and higher ARPU helped increase its global smartphone revenue share every quarter thus far in 2011, now at 36% of the smartphone market in 2Q11
  • HTC and Samsung leapfrogged into 2nd and 3rd place, respectively, in the global smartphone market in 2Q11, ahead of RIM and Nokia
  • Combined across all vendors, Android continues to be the #1 smartphone operating system (OS) in the world, used in nearly half of all smartphones shipped worldwide

Who makes the most satisfying smartphone?

Friday, September 9th, 2011

iPhone 4Once again, the Apple iPhone ranked highest in customer satisfaction in the JD Powers survey, followed by HTC. Samsung ranked highest in overall customer satisfaction with traditional handsets.

Overall satisfaction with smartphones and traditional mobile phones is considerably higher for devices that are a specific size and weight and are equipped with the latest technological advancements, such as high-quality display screens, faster processing speeds, longer battery life and touch screen capabilities, according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study—Volume 2 and the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Wireless Traditional Mobile Phone Satisfaction Study—Volume 2.

Satisfaction with both smartphones and traditional or “feature” phones is greatly impacted by the physical design and dimensions of the device. For example, satisfaction ratings are highest (8.1 on a 10-point scale) when the weight of the smartphone device does not exceed 5 ounces. In comparison, satisfaction averages 7.6 for smartphone devices that are 5 ounces or heavier.

The same scenario holds true for feature phones, for which satisfaction with the weight of the device peaks between 3 and 3.5 ounces, and drops considerably when the feature phone weighs 4 ounces or more.

The width and thickness of the smartphone device are also critical in maximizing the ownership experience, and echo the old adage that “thinner is better” holds true. Overall physical design satisfaction is highest (852 on a 1,000-point scale) for smartphones that are less than 0.45 inches wide. In comparison, satisfaction averages 783 for smartphones that are 0.65 inches wide or wider.

Technology advancements also impact the experience of mobile devices in a number of areas. For example, touch screen-only smartphones generate considerably higher satisfaction with ease of operation (817 points) than either QWERTY-only based devices or those that have both a touch screen and QWERTY functions (785 and 782 points, respectively).

Features that influence satisfaction

In addition, faster processing speeds, higher computer chip bit rates and the most advanced display screens (such as Super AMOLED vs. older LCD-based screens) all add significantly to user satisfaction.

Even the number of megapixels found in camera-enabled mobile devices influences the ownership experience. In general, the higher the number of megapixels, the higher the satisfaction with camera picture and video quality. However, devices with at least 5 megapixels achieve nearly as high a satisfaction score as those smartphones with 8 megapixels or more.

“It’s not unexpected that satisfaction is higher for devices that have new technological advances or features,” said Kirk Parsons, senior director of wireless services at J.D. Power and Associates. “Having the right combination of physical dimensions and operating functions and features for both smartphones and traditionally equipped devices is key to creating an exceptional ownership experience with each type of wireless device.”

The studies also find the following key wireless handset usage patterns:

  • The price of a traditional wireless mobile phone continues to decline and averages $71 in 2011, compared with an average of $81 at the beginning of 2009. The decline is primarily due to discounts provided by handset providers and wireless service carriers to incentivize sales. Currently, 42 percent of owners report having received a free mobile phone when subscribing to a wireless service.
  • Mobile applications continue to enhance the smartphone user experience. More than two-thirds of owners say they have downloaded games and social networking applications to their device. More than one-half (54%) say they have downloaded entertainment-oriented applications, while 52 percent indicate having downloaded travel software, such as maps and weather applications. This indicates that smartphone owners are continuing to integrate their device usage into both their business and personal lives.
  • Customers are highly satisfied with 4G-capable devices. Satisfaction among customers using 4G-capable phones averages 819, compared with 786 among customers using phones with 3G capability. Owners of 4G devices are also more active in terms of calling, texting and browsing the Internet.

HTC sues Apple, claims patent infringements in i-Devices

Wednesday, August 17th, 2011

HTCFirst, Apple sues Tiwanese smartphone maker HTC claiming violations of its patents, and now, HTC has sued Apple, saying it violates three HTC patents.

HTC sued Apple in the U.S. District Court in Wilmington, DE, seeking damages in an unspecified amounts and a ban to prevent Apple from using the technologies based on its patents. HTC claims the technologies in question are used in Apples iPhone, iPad, Mac notebook and desktops, and iPods.

The suit is just the latest in a round of patent disputes among technology companies, which are seen as one of the major reasons Google just acquired Motorola (in a deal that still has to be approved by government regulators). It wants Motorola’s 17,000 patents.

The majority of these patent disputes end up settled by the companies.

 

Xoom price cut; Verizon tops, AT&T last in customer service; more

Friday, July 29th, 2011
xoom

Motorolla's Xoom

Xoom, Motorola’s tablet entry, hit the market at $800 but didn’t move the retail dial much. The company slashed the price to $500 – which makes it more competitive with the iPad – earlier this month. Now, however, the company warns that the price cut may also slash its Q3 profits.

CEO Sanjay Jha admitted he had misjudged price points for tablets, but says the company will introduce five new devices, including two new high speed tablets capable of using high speed LTE technology. And, he says, “We now recognize where the price points are.”

We tested a Xoom and found it less than an ideal tool for the types of things we need from a mobile device, such as taking photos (too heavy for comfortable use as a camera and it was tough to see the screen outdoors), or typing. We don’t care much for virtual keypads. It, like Apple’s iPad, weighs about 1.6 pounds, and it does have features the iPad does not.

It plays Flash video, which is nearly ubiquitous on the web, and it did perform tasks quickly, connected to Wi-Fi easily and shows color books to good advantage.

We suspect, however, that much of the iPad’s success is due to the Apple prestige factor and dedicated Apple fans, so we’re not sure cutting the price on the Xoom will help it much. It will be interesting to see how the company’s next batch of tablets and devices perform in the marketplace.

HTC hits record profits

One device we tested that we did like was the Windows Phone 7 Arrive from HTC with a handy slide-out keypad to supplement the virtual one on screen, easy to use, intuitive photo controls, quick and easy connections, and the operating system we like best so far on smartphones (we haven’t tested an iPhone, but used several Android devices).

We’re not the only ones who like HTC products. The company reported record Q2 profits,selling 12.1 million units and racking up a 123.7 percent year-over-year growth rate.

A lot of that growth came from China, the top market for the Taiwan-based firm.

The company faces trouble over its patent dispute with rival Apple, though. An International Trade Commission recently ruled in Apple’s favor in its request to have the ITC impose an import (to the U.S.) ban on HTC products. That could throw some legal static into HTC’s continuing success going forward.

Verizon edges out T-Mobile for best customer service, AT&T last

Verizon won the J.D. Power and Associates award for the best customer service in the industry, edging out T-Mobile by on six points of a 1,000.

Verizon scored well for the way it handles calls, while T-Mobile stood out for its online options.

Neither Sprint nor AT&T managed to score the industry average of 762 in their “Power Circle” ranks. Sprint only hit 752, leading last place AT&T by only a point.

Apple has more cash than the U.S. Treasury

The Washington Post’s Matt Hartley says Apple Inc., which reported it has $76.156 billion in cash on hand in its latest earnings report, has more money than the U.S. Treasury (which has an operating balance of $73.768 million).

Other reports say many American Corporations are flush with cash, yet most remains skittish about hiring. Seems to us that no one is going to keep making money if not enough working people are making money.

Apple Inc. accuses HTC of patent infringement, suit could stop imports of HTC devices

Tuesday, July 12th, 2011

HTCApple Inc. claims that HTC, the second largest smartphone maker in Asia, has infringed its patents related to software architecture and user interfaces in portable electronic devices. Apple filed two complaints with the U.S. International Trade Commission in Washington, DC, which can block imports into the U.S. market.

Apple has also filed complaints against Samsung Electronics and Motorola Mobility Holdings.

Apple, which claims five of its patents have been infringed, is challenging competitors to its products that run Google’s Android smartphone operating system, which compete against its iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch devices.

HTC said through its general counsel that it is “dismayed” that Apple resorted to competition in court rather than the marketplace. The Taiawan-based company denies Apple’s claims against it.

We recently tested an HTC Win 7 phone that performed admirably. It was the easiest and most intuitive to use of all the smartphones we’ve tried.

HTC released its first tablet device, the Flyer, in March and its second, the EVO View 4G, with fast connections via Sprint’s 4G network. The EVO is apparently not targeted in the Apple suits.

HTC smartphones named in the suits include the Droid Incredible, Wildfire, EVO4G (the phone not the tablet) and Desire.

HTC recently opened an R& D center in Durham, NC and recently agreed to acquire S3 Graphics Co. for $300 million. S3 won an infringement ruling against Apple via the trade commission. HTC has also filed its own complaint with the commission against Apple, with findings expected SEpt. 16.

A trade commission judge will rule in Apple’s first case against HTC Aug. 5 in a decision subject to full commission review.

It’s understandable why Apple would try to stem the progress of Android devices, which claim the largest chunk – 38 percent – of the smartphone market, while Apple devices claim 27 percent. Apple derives half its sales from iPhone and 12 percent from iPads.

 

Windows Phone 7 Is definitely not a huge failure!

Monday, July 11th, 2011

By Joe Procopio

Joe Procopio

Joe Procopio

Microsoft, dammit, you had it right there in front of you. Your much-anticipated “for-real-this-time” entry into the mobile OS game that was going to make everyone forget about the Kin and go head-to-head with Droids and iPhones is now officially in the mainstream with Verizon’s entry, the HTC Trophy, and you never even once considered what could have been an enormous branding coup.

The MicroPhone.

You’re welcome.

Instead, we get Windows Phone 7. And this speaks directly to my problem with the Windows Mobile Strategy since they first figured out it’d be super sweet if the iPaq could make phone calls.

1)      All they’re doing is playing catch-up.

2)      They’re not sprinting.

Microsoft, I still love you. As a proud former Cassiopeia owner who still has a Windows laptop in a Mac shop even though it happens to have an untouched Vista partition because that was your advice to me when I couldn’t retrowrite it with XP – anyway,  I had high hopes for the MicroPhone, and I’m desperately trying to avoid jumping on the bashwagon, but I’m not seeing the mobile strategy equivalent of Halo.

Xbox Live Integration!

In 2011, Microsoft has two things going strongly for it. One, Macs are still expensive.  Two, the Xbox.

Everything about the Xbox is exponentially cooler than its competition. The Kinect is a terrible exercise in setup frustration that is rewarded with too few games, but it’s cool. I still can’t watch ESPN3 on my Time Warner Cable connected Xbox, but every time I see the logo on my dashboard, I can’t help but imagine how cool that’s going to be.

Work it out, jerks.

So it stands to reason that Xbox Live integration into the MicroPhone should be heralded as the coolest thing to happen to a phone since someone else’s voice came out of it.

But hold on. It’s Xbox Live.

When I do use Xbox Live on my console to play the occasional online game, it’s because I want to play a shooter or a sports game against someone other than the computer. I want to immerse myself in intricate playability, the unspeakably awesome graphics on my big-ass living room television, and the enhanced 6.1 Surround Sound cranking out of my speakers.

Online! Banking!

HTC Trophy phone

HTC Trophy smartphone

The mobile gaming experience is the polar opposite. If I want to play a game on my phone, it’s because I’m waiting in line at the bank. I don’t care about the graphics or the sound or even the depth of gameplay, as long as I can start and stop quickly and do it with one hand.

Which is pretty much the drill for everything you do with your mobile.

Microsoft brought the ages-old PC practice of cheap downloadable non-blockbuster games to the console, and in this they’ve had some hits. So instead of building around the Xbox Live brand to make the mobile gaming experience something unique, they just shoved Xbox Live games into the phone.

But in the mobile universe, WinMo7 is starting out already woefully behind iOS and Android in the app and gaming department, and the Xbox Live brand is just not enough to make Microsoft a mobile gaming contender out of the box.

I’m looking at my game selection right now, and I’m being steered towards Plants vs. Zombies and Angry at the Birds.

No, I typed that last one correctly.

It’s So Much More Than Games!

Every other aspect of the Xbox Live experience is pretty much the equivalent of what you’d expect from an iPhone or an Android phone. Or for that matter the MicroPhone itself. Xbox Live has Netflix. WinMo has a native Netflix app. Xbox Live has Facebook. WinMo has a native Facebook app.

Both have Zune, so there you go.

There’s the Xbox Live community, sure, but I’ll go ahead and admit that I have no friends. Wait. I have Facebook and Twitter and LinkedIn and Google + and actual friends, but since those friends and I are rarely waiting in line at the bank at the same time, we’re probably not going to be mobile gaming together.

In fact, if we were in line at the bank at the same time, we’d probably just put our phones away and strike up a conversation.

Preemptive Comment Strike: I’m sure hardcore gamers can probably get a lot of use out of Xbox Live for MicroPhone, but are you guys really leaving your house that much? Aren’t you there right now?

MS Office in the Palm of Your Hand!

Well…

1)      Google Docs: I’m barely running Office on my laptop anymore. In fact, if it weren’t for all the time I spend in bars and movie theaters during work hours and the fact that I’m too cheap to spring for mobile wireless, I wouldn’t use Office at all.

2)      Tablets: It’s the size, not the software. A mobile phone is simply not an effective business device replacement. A tablet is.

3)      RIM: The convergence of the business mobile device and the personal mobile device has happened. When? A quick glance at RIMM’s stock chart shows it was 2/18/11.

Business functionality requires a small subset of features compared to personal. RIM aced the former and blew the latter. Again, Office isn’t enough of a brand to force a change from iOS or Android for business reasons and give up all the apps.

When I showed my kids Angry at the Birds, they looked at me like I gave them a Payday candy bar. Like… thanks?

Even Without Xbox Live and Office, It’s a Perfectly Adequate Phone!

And that leaves all the things that a mobile device is supposed to do. Camera? Check. GPS? You betcha. Email? Of course.

The MicroPhone does all of these. The presentation is beautiful, the navigation is a little shaky in terms of relearning menus (“pivots” scroll across the top). It rings when people call you.

The HTC handset is phenomenal, by the way, once more boosting my admiration of HTC products. (Editor’s note: we recently tested an HTC Windows 7 phone as well and also found the HTC handset an excellent piece of equipment and the Windows 7 operating system the easiest and most intuitive to use of all those we’ve tried.)

Like I said, I had high hopes for MicroPhone™. I’ve gone so far as to ask around hoping my own ignorance had kept  me from discovering that new new thing that way.

It may be there, but if it is, it’s down the road. Maybe with the Mango update later this year.

Joe Procopio heads up product engineering for sports media startup StatSheet . He also owns consulting firm Intrepid Company and creative network Intrepid Media  and runs the startup social ExitEvent. Joe can be reached via Twitter @jproco and read joeprocopio.com.

 

HTC opening R&D operation at Durham’s American Tobacco Campus

Wednesday, December 22nd, 2010

HTCDURHAM, NC – Bellevue, WA-based HTC, which designs smart phones, says it will open a research and development office in the American Tobacco Campus in Durham, NC. The company plans to employ 45 people and open the office in March.

The company will benefit from $150,000 in incentives from Durham.

The move is the latest in a flurry of activity at the American Tobacco Historic District. Its American Underground site, which just opened earlier this year, is now home to the NC CED and a handful of start-up firms.

The company lists 14 positions open in Durham on its web site.

“HTC has been successful bringing its unique brand of people-centric innovation to consumers, and with the establishment of this new R&D office, we are taking an important step to extend our leadership position in the wireless industry,” Ron Louks, HTC chief strategy officer, said in a statement. “Durham is a perfect place to open our new R&D office because we are able to tap into this deep pool of technical talent that complements HTC’s leading-edge R&D efforts going on around the world.”