iPhone Users Most Satisfied, But Others Also Happy

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It seems as if every mobile phone user satisfaction poll ranks the iPhone as having the highest level of customer satisfaction. Because the surveys rely on self-reporting, you can take that one of several ways: that owners of the iPhone put a lot of money into the smartphone and don’t want to seem stupid for doing so; that it's a superior product; or that they're all fanboys.

Nonetheless, the new JD Power and Associates survey of 6,821 smartphone users came out and for the fourth consecutive time in two years, ranking the iPhone as the No.1 smartphone in the nation, scoring 800 on its scale of 1000.

What's of note is that iPhone satisfaction went down from a score of 811 from last year, which could be blowback from the iPhone 4's faulty antenna. However, according to JD Power, it had more to do with dissatisfaction about the iPhone's relatively short battery life. However, the handset ranked higher in ease of operations, operating system, physical design, and features.

Consumers and small business owners should also be aware that both Motorola at 791 and HTC at 781 gained ground, faring above the industry average of 754. Notably beneath the average was BlackBerry parent RIM with 737 points, and Samsung with 735, followed by Palm and Nokia. Motorola likely enjoyed some higher satisfaction levels for its Android phones, the popular Droid X and Droid 2, while HTC also proved itself with the first 4G phone, the Evo 4G and the Droid Incredible.

In traditional handsets, LG ranked highest, also for the fourth consecutive time, at 731, followed by Sanyo and Samsung.

Users are also hanging onto their smartphones for 17 percent longer than last year--an average of 20.5 months before switching or upgrading--the longest period since 1999, the study found.

Part of the reason could be two-year contracts that impose steep penalty fees if broken, but some of it is likely due to the economy. Business owners especially understand that anything bought now is probably going to have to last at least a couple of years to make the investment seem worthwhile. While the consumer sector is obsessed with the newest technology and applications, buying for a company requires a solid product with a good reputation.

That's why these studies, which some find pointless, can be of interest. While the iPhone is highly rated, it might not work as a fleet model, but something like Motorola's Droid X might, or even the BlackBerry Torch 9800 (despite dissatisfaction with RIM lately).

These studies can let company decision-makers gauge satisfaction with handsets, but it doesn't always mean that the top phone the best choice for a small company. At least these surveys give us an idea of what's out there and what other people are using.

Reach or follow Barbara E. Hernandez on Twitter: @bhern.

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