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Consumers Give High Marks to Google Android OS and Motorola Droid


Recent ChangeWave surveys have shown a huge spike in consumer demand for smart phones using the Google (GOOG) Android operating system.

Among the most immediate beneficiaries are the Motorola (MOT) Droid and a handful of HTC smart phones that use the Android OS. But how do these owners rate their new Android phones?

To find out, we conducted a survey of 91 Motorola Droid owners and, for comparative purposes, 49 HTC smart phone owners. Here’s what we found:

In a highly encouraging finding for the Android operating system, two-thirds (66%) of Motorola Droid and HTC Android smart phone respondents reported that they’re Very Satisfied with the Android OS. Another 27% said they’re Somewhat Satisfied.

Google Android Operating System Satisfaction Ratings

How does this compare to other widely used mobile operating systems? The following chart shows how the Very Satisfied rating for the Android OS stacks up against those of other mobile operating systems from a December 2009 ChangeWave survey:

Satisfaction Ratings - Google Android Operating System versus Other Mobile Operating Systems

Second only to the industry leading iPhone OS (77% Very Satisfied), our survey results show the Google Android OS (66%) ranking above the Palm Web OS (58%) and well ahead of the RIM OS (41%) and Windows Mobile (25%).

A Closer Look at Motorola Droid and HTC Android Owners

The Motorola (MOT) Droid stands out as the biggest and most immediate beneficiary of the overall spike in demand for smart phones using the Android OS.

We note that back in our December survey, Motorola (13%) registered a huge 12-pt jump in future buying plans — its first increase in a ChangeWave consumer smart phone survey in three years.

Future Smart Phone Buyers - Motorola versus HTC

HTC — which has several new Android phones — also registered an uptick going forward (from 5% to 9%), although it wasn’t as dramatic as Motorola’s.

In our current survey, we asked owners of the Motorola Droid, the HTC Droid Eris and the HTC G1 to rate their new phones.

The following chart compares the Very Satisfied rating for each of these three phone models to previous ChangeWave survey ratings of the Apple iPhone 3GS and the Palm Pre.

Satisfaction Ratings - A Comparison of Specific Smart Phone Models

In sum, better than three-in-four (78%) Motorola Droid owners reported they were Very Satisfied with their Motorola Droid (and another 19% said they were Somewhat Satisfied, for a combined 97% satisfaction rating).

In comparison, half of HTC Droid Eris (50%) and HTC Google G1 (50%) owners reported they were Very Satisfied with their phone, as did 45% of Palm Pre owners. Importantly, all of the above models scored well above industry averages.

To put this in perspective, the current Motorola Droid satisfaction rating ranks second only to the number one rated phone in the industry — the Apple iPhone 3GS (80%).

So what is it about the Motorola Droid that has its owners giving such highly favorable ratings?

First and foremost is the Android OS itself — cited by nearly half of Droid owners (45%) as the main overall reason for why they decided to purchase their new smart phone. Another 36% cited the fact of Verizon being the service provider as their main reason for buying the Droid.

A Nexus One Counterattack?

Of course, Google hasn’t sat idly by while Motorola capitalizes on Android demand. On January 5th they introduced their own Android smart phone, the Nexus One, featuring the new Android 2.1 OS, among other things.

To test the potential impact of the Nexus One, we asked Motorola Droid owners whether they would have still purchased their Droid phone if the Google Nexus One had also been available on Verizon at the time of their purchase.

Motorola Droid Owners - Droid versus Google Nexus One

By a better than two-to-one margin (32% Motorola Droid vs. 13% Google Nexus One) current Droid Owners said they’d have bought their Motorola Droid even if the Google Nexus One had been available on Verizon at the time of purchase. (The remaining 55% answered Don’t Know.)

We asked a similar question of current HTC smart phone owners, but the head to head match-up with the Nexus One produced quite different results.
Only 14% of current HTC smart phone owners say they’d have purchased the same phone, versus 45% who say they’d have purchased the Google Nexus One if it had been available from their service provider.

The Bottom Line

The Motorola Droid stands out as the biggest and most immediate beneficiary of the growing wave of Android demand. It has been several years since the last time a Motorola phone had real market leading momentum, but the Droid is clearly outperforming at present and its customer satisfaction ranks second only to the Apple iPhone 3GS.

The big question is whether Motorola can maintain its momentum even as several new Android phones — including the Google Nexus One — hit the market. So far, at least, the answer has been a resounding yes. The survey results show the Droid has what it takes to succeed — as long as Motorola can avoid its mistakes of the past.

Jean Crumrine co-wrote this article.

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