Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Compete: Two Reports on Handset OSes

Compete offers up results from two recent reports. The first finds that handset OSes matter and looks at how they impact consumer choice.

Compete states that "a handset’s operating system (OS) is more important to the average wireless shopper than its camera, Bluetooth functionality, music or even email." They might not "care much about the specific operating system brand," but "have become more aware of the role the OS plays in their handset experience."

In a recent survey of wireless shopper attitudes, Compete found that "wireless consumers rated OS as one of the features that impacted their handset selection. The OS received a 2.7 rating on a scale from one to five, out-ranking nearly half of the other phone features Compete asked about. The most important criterion in handset selection was price, followed by phone shape/design."

The second report finds that "while consumers recognize that operating systems are important, even shoppers for high-end devices do not have strong preferences about the specific OS on their handset."

The survey found that "when asked to rate the importance of several factors on their mobile phone purchase, high-end device shoppers gave a handset’s specific OS among the lowest ratings. On a scale of one to five, “Specific mobile OS” was rated 2.5, edging out only music capability in importance. Shoppers assigned the highest importance to whether their current provider offers the handset."

However, despite the "relatively low interest in any specific OS brand, consumers said that given a choice in operating systems, they would take it. Almost 60% of smart-phone shoppers who ranked OS as important (at least 3 out of 5) said they would be willing to pay more to select their handset’s operating system. "

Compete also found that "over 40% of those who ranked the OS as important said that providing OS choice would significantly increase their usage of data services. Additionally, 20% of this group said they would be willing to switch carriers for the Treo 700, currently only available f rom Verizon with Windows Mobile OS."