Overall smartphone satisfaction was measured in six key areas: ease of operation; operating system (OS); physical design; audio quality; battery life; and utility features.
RIM's specific strengths included the speed of its BlackBerry OS and the long-lasting battery life of its smartphones.
"[F]or RIM, ease of using basic applications and features and providing the right amount of functionality in a lightweight package has given the manufacturer an edge," said Kirk Parsons, J.D. Power and Associates' senior director of wireless services, in a press release.
Palm's top strengths, according to the study, include the ease of use of its Treo keyboards, voice mail functionality and its simple to employ home screen icons. Devices that run on Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS were found to have impressive voice quality and the most preloaded ring tones.
In addition to ranking smartphone user satisfaction, the study also predicts that the future success of handheld makers like RIM, Palm, Samsung and Motorola will be largely dependent on customer satisfaction levels, as highly satisfied buyers are 50 percent more likely to stick with the same brand of smartphone when they upgrade than users who are unhappy with their current devices. Furthermore, business users who are "delighted" with their smartphones are 80 percent more likely to recommend their brand of device to friends or colleagues than unsatisfied owners, the study found.
Additional survey findings include:
-- 13 percent of survey respondents said they needed device repairs in the past to fix problems with various software applications, operating systems freezing up or malfunctioning displays, among other minor issues.
-- Owners of Palm Treos paid the most for their devices on average ($313), while Motorola smartphone users spent the least cash on their handhelds ($194).
-- The leading factors for selecting a specific brand of smartphone are personal digital assistant (PDA)/personal information manager (PIM) functionality; Internet capabilities; Bluetooth options; general ease of use; and overall form factor/style.
-- 40 percent of respondents said they wished their devices had Global Positioning System (GPS) capabilities and 26 percent wanted Wi-Fi support.
Data for the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 Business Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study was collected from 1,089 business wireless customers during August 2007. Additional information on the company and its inaugural business smartphone user satisfaction survey is available on the J.D. Power and Associates website.
This story, "BlackBerry Users are Happiest, Study Says" was originally published by CSO.