As consumer technology moves more towards smartphones that are capable of performing functions of mobile as well as a full fledged computer, J.D. Power notes that customer satisfaction with a particular handset depends heavily on its build quality, form factor, quality of materials, and the functions that can be performed by the phone’s operating system. Volume 2 of the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 Phone Satisfaction survey was released recently and the results are not too surprising.
When determining the overall satisfaction of a particular phone, key factors include performance, ease of operation, physical design, and features. For the sixth consecutive time, Apple has achieved the highest ratings among all manufacturers of smart phone devices. The total score for Apple is 838, while the closest android-enabled competitor is HTC with a score of 801. Among feature phones, Samsung is ranked number one with a score of 718. Both LG and Sanyo follow close behind the Korean manufacturer, sitting at 717 and 716 respectively.
Customers generally seem to prefer smaller and lighter devices, as satisfaction ratings for both smart phones and feature phones sit at 8.1 on a 10 point scale for devices that weigh less than 5 ounces. Devices that weigh more than five ounces only ranked at 7.6 in satisfaction.
Faster processing speeds and more advanced display screens also have an impact on how well a device is received by consumers. Other technical details that impact the performance of a smart phone include the number of megapixels featured in both the front and the back camera. Devices that provide consumers with a 5MP camera are ranked nearly as high as those devices that offer 8MP cameras.
J.D. Power studies also find that the cost of the wireless mobile plan continues to decline, as the national average for 2011 is $71, compared to $81 in 2009. The decline in pricing can be attributed to the fact that most handset providers are working with wireless carriers in order to incentivize the sale of their devices. Around 42% of consumers surveyed reported that they received a free mobile phone when signing up for a mobile contract.
The application front continues to enhance the smartphone experience and is a significant factor in determining whether or not a consumer is satisfied with their product. Nearly two-thirds of smart phone owners have downloaded some sort of game or social networking application onto their device. Around 52% reported that some sort of entertainment, travel, map, or weather application was downloaded to their device as well. By this survey, J.D. Power can determine that consumers continue to enjoy consuming media and integrating their smart phones into their every day lives.
The speed performance of a network is another contributing factor to consumer satisfaction, as consumers were generally more satisfied with 4G (819) than 3G (786) connections. 4G device owners are also more active in terms of Internet consumption, including making VoIP calls and browsing.
You can view the official J.D. Power press release here.