6 in 10 Smartphone Owners Expect Obsolescence

April 28, 2011

retrevo-smartphone-obsoletion-may11.gifAbout six in 10 (62%) US smartphone owners expect their current smartphone will become obsolete before its contract expires, according to an online study conducted by consumer electronics/shopping site Retrevo. Study analysis of smartphones released from March 2010 to March 2011 found that smartphones increased in power and added new features that moved many of last year’s phones one phase over from new to mainstream.

Contracts Outlast Innovation

Retrevo counted more than 120 new smartphones from major vendors over the course of about a year, while analysis suggests most smartphone contracts run for two years. At the current rate, Retrevo expect to see new smartphones with higher resolution displays, faster processors, and other new features displace the current phones by this time next year.

More Expensive 1-Yr Contracts Not the Answer

retrevo-1-year-contract-for-smartphone-may11.gifWhen the survey asked smartphone owners if they would be willing to pay extra for a shorter contract, most buyers (66%) said they would not. However, 23% of smartphone owners would pay extra for a shorter contract, with 19% willing to pay an extra $100.

Samsung Releases Most New Smartphones

retrevo-number-smartphones-apr-2011.JPGAnalyzing the number of new smartphones released by major OEMs between April 2010 and March 2011, Retrevo found that Samsung led the field with more than 30 new smartphone releases. HTC followed with more than 20. RIM Blackberry, LG, Motorola and Nokia all released more than 15 new smartphones in that time period.

Sprint Has Best 1-Yr Option of Major Carriers

Retrevo independently investigated options major smartrphone carriers offer for owners who want to upgrade in less than two years. Retrevo found Sprint has what it considers the most consumer-friendly option. Any Sprint customer paying more than $89.99 for a contract can get a fully discounted new phone after one year along with a contract extension.

In comparison, Retrevo determined that Verizon recently scrapped their “New Every Two” program and currently does not offer any early upgrades before 20 months. AT&T offers a discount after 20 months.

J.D. Power: Apple Shines in Smartphone OEM Satisfaction

For a fifth consecutive time, Apple ranks highest among manufacturers of smartphones in customer satisfaction with a score of 795 (out of 1,000) and performs particularly well in ease of operation, operating system, features and physical design, according to the March 2011 J.D. Power and Associates 2011 US Wireless Smartphone Customer Satisfaction Study, Volume 1 and the J.D. Power and Associates 2011 U.S. Wireless Traditional Mobile Phone Satisfaction Study, Volume 1. Apple performs particularly well in ease of operation, operating system, features and physical design; and Motorola (763) and HTC (762) follow Apple in the smartphone rankings.

About the Data: Data for this report came from a study that was conducted online with more than 500 Retrevo users responding, distributed across gender, age, and location in the United States. Responses were weighted based on reported demographics to gain accurate estimations of gadget ownership and usage within and across demographics.

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