Almost 40% of Blackberry users prefer the iPhone as their next smartphone purchase
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Almost 40% of Blackberry users prefer the iPhone as their next smartphone purchase

Nearly 40% of Blackberry users continue to prefer Apple's iPhone as their next smartphone purchase, but a third of them would also switch to the Android operating system, according to the second smartphone brand loyalty survey conducted semi-annually via Crowd Science's ( research platform for online audience measurement.

The Crowd Scientists also found Android users rivaling iPhone users in loyalty, with about 90% of each user group planning to stick with their current brand when buying their next phone. Asked specifically if they'd swap their present phone for Google's new Android-based Nexus One, 32% of Blackberry users said "yes," compared with just 9% of iPhone users. This figure zoomed to 60% for users of smartphones not made by Blackberry or Apple.

"These results show that the restlessness of Blackberry users with their current brand hasn't just been driven by the allure of iPhone," says John Martin, CEO of Crowd Science. "Rather, Blackberry as a brand just isn't garnering the loyalty seen with other mobile operating systems."

Crowd Science's methodology applies sampling and research techniques to online populations, allowing for real-time results. Indeed, a significant event affecting the research -- the debut of Nexus One on January 5 -- occurred midway through the Dec. 24. 2009 to Jan. 21, 2010 study period. Rather than being a disruptive factor, however, the Crowd Scientists were able to measure how the launch affected the attitudes of respondents.

For example, awareness of the Android operating system jumped six points -- to 66% from 60%. Moving from awareness to familiarity, however, results were stable throughout the research period --at about 10% for all smartphone users excluding Android owners. Awareness of the Google Nexus One phone itself following launch was found to be 91% among iPhone users, 75% amongst Blackberry users, and 73% among users of other smartphones.

Android users skew younger and less affluent than iPhone and Blackberry users. Users of all types of smartphones had downloaded more free applications than paid ones during the preceding seven days, with iPhone users significantly more likely to pay for apps, Android users leading in free apps, and Blackbery users far behind on both fronts. Both Android users and iPhone users were found much more likely than Blackberry users to use their phones only for personal use (32%, 28% and 16% respectively). On the other hand, 7% of Blackberry users use their phone only for business, with that category of user minimal with iPhone (1%) and non-existent in the Android base.

For the survey, the Crowd Scientists tapped 1,140 respondents who were randomly recruited via the Crowd Science Sample Beta program from websites serving more than 20 million unique visitors. The vast majority of respondents (44%) used a regular cell phone, not a smart phone. iPhone users represented 17% of the respondents, followed by Blackberry users (15%), Nokia (10%), Windows Mobile (4%), Android (3%) and Palm (2%).

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