TUPdate:Droid trio faces user inertia in ten countries

The Motorola-Verizon-Google collaboration may be a solid contender to Apple’s iPhone, yet is starting from far behind.

At least that’s what over 20,500 mobile phone subscribers in 10 countries had to say about it by how they’re using mobile phones today. MetaFacts surveyed these respondents as part of its Technology User Profile 2009 Global Insights Edition.

First, MetaFacts classifies SmartPhones differently than most research firms – based on how actual users end up actually using their mobile phones. We believe customers vote with their fingers, and are the final and best judge of what a smartphone is, and what a basic mobile phone is.

Basic phone users should be admired for their bob-ness. In tech lingo, BOB means Best Of Breed, which is about those who prefer to use the best tool for the job versus the all-in-one Swiss army knife approach. The simplest mobile phone users use their mobile phone for less than three activities on average, with only one activity reaching half of this group: making a phone call.

At the other end of the spectrum, the smartest mobile phone subscribers busily juggle over 13 activities on average and with 15 activities done by over half of this handy group.

We compared the share of mobile phone users who use their phones with the smartest breadth of activities versus those who are the simplest. We found the U.S. carriers with the richest ratio of the smartest to basic users are with MetroPCS, Sprint Nextel, and AT&T. Although these carriers have lower overall shares than Verizon, they have savvier subscribers in how their use their handsets.

We similarly looked at the brands of mobile phones in current use across 10 countries. Of the top 12 mobile phone brands, Motorola ranked last, edging out Sanyo, while Apple ranked first, followed by RIM, HTC, Palm, and Sony. The findings are similar in the U.S., although with the top five in a slightly different rank order. Whether in the U.S. or in any of the other nine countries we surveyed, Motorola and Sanyo have whole new types of customers to reach.

We also looked at survey respondents to see Motorola’s share among those who use Google to search the most, and found that Motorola has a slightly higher share among those who use Yahoo, MSN, Bing/Live Search, or Wikipedia.

Enthusiastic engineers, marketers and perhaps investors will see this half-empty glass as room for tremendous growth. Their speed of market success will depend less on the technology itself and more about how soon mobile phone users change what they do.

About this TUPdate

MetaFacts releases ongoing research on the market shifts and profiles for Windows Vista, Mobile PCs, Workplace PCs, Home PCs, Moms and Dads, Web Creators, Broadband, and many other technology industry topics. These TUPdates are short analytical articles in a series of specific topics utilizing the Technology User Profile Annual Edition study, which reveals the changing patterns of technology adoption around the world. Interested technology professionals can sign up at http://technologyuser.com/contact/ for complimentary TUPdates – periodic snapshots of technology markets.

About MetaFacts

MetaFacts, Inc. is a national market research firm focusing exclusively on the technology industries. MetaFacts’ Technology User Profile survey is the longest-running, large-scale comprehensive study of its kind, conducted continuously since 1983, the year before Apple released the Apple Macintosh. The detailed results are widely recognized as a primary market sizing and segmentation resource for leading companies providing consumer-oriented technology products and services, such as PCs, printers, software applications, peripherals, consumer electronics, mobile computing, and related services and products. For more information about the syndicated research service, publications and datasets, contact MetaFacts at 1-760-635-4300.

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Filed under Consumer research, Market Research, Mobile Phones, TUP 2009