iPhone purchase plans at all-time high in U.S.

Best showing ever for Apple's smartphone months after the debut of new model, says pollster

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Carton attributed the spike in Samsung phone purchase plans to the Galaxy Nexus, the first 4G phone equipped with Android 4.0, or "Ice Cream Sandwich," which went on sale in the U.S. in mid-December. Carton called the Nexus "a major driving force" behind Samsung's numbers boost.

Samsung's jump was the second in the last 18 months: In September 2010, ChangeWave recorded a 600% increase -- from 1% to 6% -- among U.S. consumers who said they were going to buy a smartphone made by the Korean company.

"Then boom, Samsung took off again," said Carton of the eight-point increase from September to December 2011.

Not surprisingly, customers said they were happiest with Apple's and Samsung's smartphones. Seventy-five percent of iPhone owners said they were "very satisfied" with their purchase, while 47% of Samsung users said the same.

Apple fans also remain pleased with the iOS operating system that powers the iPhone, with 75% of owners agreeing that they were very satisfied with the OS. As in previous ChangeWave surveys, iOS trumped both Android (47%) and Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 (55%).

Microsoft has pinned much of its Windows Phone 7 hopes on its partnership with Nokia, but by ChangeWaves's survey, the Redmond, Wash. operating system developer has a hard row to hoe.

For smartphone makers, Nokia came in second-to-last in the customer satisfaction part of the poll, just ahead of the fast-dropping RIM. Twenty-three percent of Nokia owners said they were very satisfied with their purchase, while 22% of BlackBerry users loved their devices.

"There's a very strong correlation between satisfaction and buying plans," noted Carton.

Gregg Keizer covers Microsoft, security issues, Apple, Web browsers and general technology breaking news for Computerworld. Follow Gregg on Twitter at @gkeizer, on Google+ or subscribe to Gregg's RSS feed . His e-mail address is gkeizer@computerworld.com.

See more articles by Gregg Keizer.

Copyright © 2012 IDG Communications, Inc.

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