Readers' Choice Awards 2013: Smartphones and Mobile Carriers
Is your smartphone the best? Is your carrier the worst? Find out which manufacturers and carriers your fellow PCMag readers think provide the most satisfying mobile service and products.
By Ben Gottesman March 13, 2013 Comments
Readers' Choice Awards 2013: Smartphones and Mobile Carriers Mobile Operating Systems Smartphones (By Carrier)Mobile Carriers
MOBILE OPERATING SYSTEMS
With phones based on Google's Android operating system and Apple's iOS commanding nearly 90 percent of all smartphone sales, some might ask why Microsoft keeps trying. Apparently, the company feels the smartphone can be done better. And maybe it's right. According to our survey respondents, Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 clearly bests Apple and Android. In 2012, Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 shared the Readers' Choice Award for mobile phone platforms with Apple's iOS. This year, Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 stands alone at the top, relegating Apple's iOS to Honorable Mention.
Readers' Choice satisfaction is measured on a scale from zero (worst) to ten (best). Average satisfaction ratings of 9.0 or higher are few and far between and that's why we're so impressed with Windows Phone 8's ratings. Phones with Microsoft's latest OS received an overall satisfaction rating of 9.0 and a "likelihood to recommend" rating of 9.2. Other scores of 9.0 or higher include satisfaction with reliability (9.2), text messaging (9.3), email (9.3), and Web browsing (9.0).
It's not pure euphoria for Windows Phone 8 users. Respondents realize that the platform still needs to grow its ecosystem, especially when it comes to apps. Satisfaction with availability of apps scored only 7.4, lagging far behind Apple's very impressive 9.4 and Android's 8.8. Customer satisfaction with the quality of the apps was better (8.3), but it still trailed Apple (9.1) and Android (8.8).
While Apple's ratings remain strong, the company did not improve in any measure compared with 2012. Many ratings remained unchanged and a few slipped. Overall satisfaction decreased slightly from 8.7 in 2012 to 8.6 this year and likelihood to recommend dropped from 9.2 to 8.9. Apple's iOS remains a highly regarded platform, but the company is clearly facing more significant competition than it has in past years. This may account for its lack of upward movement.
As in 2012, Android remains a distant third, with an overall satisfaction rating of 8.1 and likelihood to recommend rating of 8.3. However, these are both improvements over last year's 7.9 and 8.2, respectively. In general, Android's other satisfaction measures are fairly strong; its only ratings under 8.0 are in satisfaction as a music player (7.8) and satisfaction for gaming (7.5).
You might argue that Microsoft's ratings are so high because the platform is new and satisfaction with products tends to wane over time as products become dated. That's fair, but even when we look at satisfaction with devices less than a year old, Windows Phone 8 leads the way. Even more notable, Android satisfaction increases substantially among newer phones, indicating that the Readers' Choice Award competition may be even tighter in 2014.
Nokia (for Windows Phone 8 devices)
Nokia gambled on the Windows Phone platform, and so far it's paying off for customers. It delivered, by far, the best satisfaction ratings in our survey.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
In addition to asking our respondents to rate satisfaction, we asked them why they chose their particular phone. Readers' considerations tended to vary when purchasing a phone with a particular OS. For instance, 56 percent of Android users who purchased their smartphone in the last year cited display size or display quality as a primary reason for choosing their phone. For Apple, only 23 percent of customers noted that as a reason, likely due, in part, to the fact that Apple phones have smaller screens (and less screen size options) than Android smartphones.
On the other hand, Apple users said availability of apps and ease of use were significant driving factors. Neither of those characteristics were cited as key by many Android users. About a third of Android users pointed to product reviews as part of what helped them make their choice; only 15 percent of Apple users said the same. Meanwhile, 44 percent of Apple users indicated ease of use was important compared with only 15 percent of Android users.
The chart below shows the percentage of Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 8 users who chose the platform based on a specific motivator. As you can see, the results paint very distinctive portraits of what motivates customers for each platform
With each platform appealing to users with different needs, there will continue to be room in the market for several platform choices—and 2013 promises to give us just that. BlackBerry has arguably stuck around this long purely because of legacy corporate use. However it has recently introduced the generally well-received Blackberry Z10& based on the new Blackberry 10 operating system, and that may breathe new life into the platform. Even the Mozilla Foundation is stepping into the game, introducing the first Firefox OS phone at the recent Mobile World Congress. But one of the stories we'll watch most closely this year is Microsoft's attempt to build on the indisputable success it's had satisfying the early adopters of Windows Phone 8.
This is a very important and interesting find onmythird, It matches my own experience to a T. Everyone concerned about the recent share price decline should read it.
I have to say I was a bit skeptical about NOK's actual innovation and orientation to the current market expectation for smartphones. I was an early adopter of the iPhone and tolerated a lot of things I just didn't like for years: like the quality of the phone itself, the unacceptably poor battery life and the fact it was largely incompatible with my desktop. So I bought a Lumia 920 about a month ago and most people were puzzled and said things like: I thought you were an early adopter...
Well guess what: Nokia Lumia is a product for early adopters. It is so far superior to the iPhone I can hardly believe it. I don't really care about the shear volume of apps iPhone has, I only used a dozen or so regularly. I love the tiles and almost everything else about the Lumia and W8. I like the bigger, better screen and can read most anything comfortably and for longer stretches of time. It is much faster and easier to get information from. It's literally live all the time. The wireless charging reinforces how cutting edge it is.
The Lumia is a fantastic phone and inevitably the world will realize it. Asa very happy customer I am completely sold on Nokia's ability to lead the market. This smartphone is an exciting product to own. That's the key and eventually the market is going to be excited about Nokia again. Their flagship product is fantastic.
As an investor I have very little doubt that this stock will be a very big winner. They've definitely got the goods with much more coming.
Sentiment: Strong Buy
This is good news for Nokia. Reception to Windows 8 has been mixed, and any news that shows acceptance can only help Nokia. Based on the survey data (admittedly not scientific, but still reasonably good information) Windows 8 clearly has potential. Sales and acceptance may be slow, but I think it slow because it's new and the average consumer resists change, especially change that involves learning something new. It does not appear the slow sales is because W8 is flawed in any significant way..
I get a kick out of showing my friends Windows 8 when they come over. I have my computer hooked up to a 65" tv and show off the tiles and live updates. I run through my music and photos for them and they love it. Not so much my own personal stuff, but they love how fluid the W8 experience is.
Sentiment: Strong Buy