ChangeWave is a research company that we’ve had problems with in the past as their surveys tend to be skewed to the point where you wonder if they’re owned or influenced by Apple. We cover these surveys because we know BlackBerryCool readers are smart enough to read through the bias and take it all with a grain of salt. The good that comes from these surveys are the talking points.
ChangeWave’s latest Consumer Smart Phone survey covers the second half of 2010. The survey takes a look at demand for the new Apple iPhone 4 and the HTC Droid Incredible, along with the impact they are having on the rest of the smartphone industry. One of the more interesting parts of the survey includes the BlackBerry versus iPhone customer satisfaction survey.
The above graph shows that Apple’s satisfaction rating is fairly steady, hovering somewhere around a 75-76% average. RIM’s customer satisfaction on the other hand, has a distinct parabolic shape. The explanation given by ChangeWave is that BlackBerry’s customer satisfaction was on a steady rise but fell as users took its core features, email, reliability and security, for granted. As other smartphones began to promote flashy new features such as large touchscreens, powerful cameras, rich web browsers and innovative apps, the BlackBerry’s core strengths seemed to pale in significance.
Something that is worth questioning with regards to the ChangeWave study is the demographics of who is participating in the survey. The survey results seem very skewed towards a North American, mid-20s demographic, where RIM does have some customer satisfaction issues. Where BlackBerry shines in customer satisfaction, is the above 30 and below 20 age groups, as well as international markets.
The survey results seem to reflect a concern raised at RIM’s AGM. One shareholder asked why customers camp out on the doorstep of a store whenever a new version of the iPhone is released, but that never seems to happen when a new BlackBerry is unveiled. Everyone seems to be asking “where has BlackBerry’s cool factor gone?”.
The answer to this question is two-fold. One, BlackBerry’s cool factor is defined differently than Apple or Google’s. Two, maybe it has gone somewhere: global.
BlackBerry’s cool factor isn’t based on a flashy touchscreen, games or a 10MP camera. BlackBerry’s cool factor is defined as a productivity tool that is focused on utility, rather than entertainment. Just look at the latest announcements from both companies. Apple has announced a front facing camera with video chat and a new gaming platform. RIM has announced a service to reduce lost device rates and protect data as well as a BES policy to handle corporate liable versus employee liable BlackBerrys.
For some of the same reasons that PCs are more popular internationally than Macs, you will see BlackBerrys dominating the market more than iPhones across the globe. We already know that RIM is the 2nd most popular smartphone internationally and this is going to continue to grow. Mike Lazaridis made a great point during the AGM that eventually the entire world will be using a smartphone. Who do you think is going to lead that technology revolution: a gaming device or an enterprise-grade smartphone with a low price point?
Again, ChangeWave’s results are to be taken with a grain of salt but they do seem to echo a lot of what the North American media are saying about BlackBerry.