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iPhone trounces BlackBerry Storm in satisfaction rating

But more consumers say they plan to buy a BlackBerry in the next 90 days, reports ChangeWave

December 23, 2008 12:00 PM ET

Computerworld - First reactions from buyers of Research In Motion Ltd.'s newest BlackBerry Storm smart phone have been "lukewarm," and nowhere near the satisfaction ratings of Apple Inc.'s iPhone, a market research analyst said today.

"It's not that the BlackBerry Storm is a bad phone," said Paul Carton, research director at ChangeWave Research. "It's just that the initial launch has glitches which have resulted in a mediocre satisfaction rating, while consumers are already trained to expect the very highest standards from their BlackBerries."

In its most recent consumer smart phone survey, ChangeWave found that the Storm's satisfaction rating was more akin to a midtier handset and significantly below that of people who own Apple's iPhone. Just 33% of new Storm owners, for example, said they were "very satisfied" with the touch-screen smart phone, compared to 77% of iPhone owners who said the same thing in a July 2008 survey ChangeWave conducted less than a month after Apple launched the iPhone 3G.

Likewise, 14% of Storm owners said they were "unsatisfied" with their new BlackBerry, compared with 5% of iPhone buyers who gave that response in July.

But the Storm is not all RIM has to offer, Carton said, as he argued that the Waterloo, Ontario-based company is in a strong position leading into 2009.

"For the first time in a year, RIM's next 90 days are looking very, very strong," said Carton, "even in relation to Apple. Overall, BlackBerry represents the top of the line. And although Storm started off looking like a midtier smart phone in terms of its initial consumer reaction, that's not the end of the story."

According to the survey ChangeWave conducted earlier this month to measure future purchasing plans, 39% of the consumers who said they would buy a smart phone in the next 90 days pegged a BlackBerry as their chosen handset. That number was up from 30% in September, which in turn was an increase over June's 23%.

Apple's iPhone, meanwhile, captured just 30% of the planned smart phone purchases in the most recent survey, down from 34% in September and off dramatically from the whopping 56% in June, more than a month before Apple actually launched the iPhone 3G but after it had disclosed many of its details.

The downturn in stated plans to buy an iPhone is understandable, said Carton, who characterized it as a "settling down" of consumer interest in Apple's device. "Yes, the industry is driven by new product releases, but the place that Apple is in now, that's a wonderful place to be," he said. "They'll have a great quarter [in iPhone sales], even in the midst of an unbelievably bad economy."



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