How Long Will Your SmartPhone Loyalty Last and Where Might You Jump?

Mike Halsey MVP
Oct 30, 2011
Updated • May 6, 2012

Now that Nokia have launched their new Windows Phones, and cemented their future with Microsoft (at least for the foreseeable future) we're down to just four major players left in the smartphone space.  Apple with their hugely popular iOS operating system, Google's free open-source Android, Microsoft's new-kid on the block Windows Phone and RIM's could soon be in trouble BBX.  In the last few months we've seen both Nokia's wonderful MeeGO and HP's equally lovely WebOS bite the dust.

I'll start this conversation by getting all teary-eyed.  It's a huge pity that two operating systems as capable as MeeGo and WebOS both seem to be on their way out forever.  We all know that the worldwide smartphone market is easily big enough to support them, but support is the issue as it costs millions for companies to develop and maintain these operating systems.  This is money that Nokia simply don't have and that HP may not be willing to pay.

There are several main reasons for smartphone loyalty.  These include people being resistant to change and not wanting to learn something new, just getting really comfortable with an operating system and also having paid a lot of money for all those apps you won't be able to port to a new OS.

But loyalty and favouritism for the operating system isn't the whole picture.  There is also loyalty to the handset manufacturer.  Many people love Nokia, or HTC because they've always had a good experience with their phones.  Many more people like Sony Ericsson (soon to be just Sony) for their gaming integration and so on.

In the end though we all tire of the mundane and want a change occasionally.  This could mean iPhone users jumping ship to Android or Blackberry users jumping ship to Windows Phone.  In short, it could mean anything and there are a whole lot of factors to consider.  There is also the question of if you have loyalty to any one manufacturer and how you feel about this?  I'm very fond of HTC but I've owned phones by LG, Sony and others and all have been very good too.

So I'm interested ot ask here what platform you are currently loyal to, if indeed you're loyal to one at all and what other ones you would consider in the future if you've even thought that far ahead?  To start I'll say I'm very loyal to Windows Phone but, as and when I get bored I'd consider either the iPhone or a BlackBerry.  This would be for several reasons, I'm not happy with the malware problem that still exists on Android and while I don't like iOS very much, you can't easily complain about Apple's hardware.  For BlackBerry, they'd have to produce another handset similar to the Storm, a full touchscreen as I'd never want a full QWERTY keyboard.

So what are your preferences?


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  1. Baseballbert said on November 13, 2011 at 10:02 am

    Was a devout iPhone fanboy until the rumor mill around iPhone said it would come out in June. No wait, August. Oops, our bad September. Well, actually we meant October.

    So in early August, after a ton of research and getting bored with iOS, I got a Samsung Focus. Great decision, WP is a much fresher take on an OS, and I love that it isn’t app driven to do anything.

    The social integration is incredible, and I am hooked. I’ve already gotten seven iPhone users to convert. Have the new Focus S on the way as well!

  2. VD said on November 4, 2011 at 7:08 pm

    My first mobile was a Siemens S35 or likewise (since it`s been some time since I don`t know for sure). After that I got a Nokia 6150 and after that a Nokia 7650 which was my first smartphone with a symbian OS. From then on I use a Sony Ericsson K750. Though it`s over 4 years old the battery still has enough juice to carry me through the week with about 2 charges. I addition to the K750 I use an XDA Trion with Windows mobile 6.1 as a PDA and RSS gatherer/reader and email checker. As the XDAs battery is pretty much worked up it disqualifies to use it with a sim card as a mobile phone.

    As one can see I do not stick to any OS or company but try to get the best value for my money (I got the K750 and the XDA for free from friends who bought themselves new mobiles)

    In the future I think to migrate the 2 phones or rather get a phone which provides a juicy battery with webaccessability. As the majority of the new smartphones provide these the next aspect for me are price and OS. When it comes to the price I will probably limit it to 200 Euros. I don`t see much sense in spending more money on a mobile than I would invest in a laptop/netbook. Especially since my mobiles are still doing their job.

    As OS I see Android as my weapon of choice (especially since iOS is off the track in the 200 Euro category). I addition I don`t like Apple`s closed software and censorship policy with some of their apps and marketplace.
    I do though dislike the somewhat unclear access that some Android apps have on your personal data.

    Since German mobile providers tend to not substitute mobiles, even if you get a new phone contract I don`t see much value in getting the new mobile prom my provider with a new contract. I fact I compared my (about 10 years old) contract with new contracts offered an my old one only costs about half as much. Needless to say that they don`t offer the contract to new customers anymore.

    I have taken a closer look at the Huawei Ideos X3 which is offered in Germany for about 100 Euros and comes with Android 2.1 or 2.3 (if I am not mistaken)

    With more and more smartphones in use I also think that securing your personal or company data on mobiles in case of theft or lost will become an important factor in choosing a new phone. Unfortunately I haven`t seen any decent moves from phone or OS providers in this field.

  3. Devendra Mani said on November 2, 2011 at 7:46 am

    I have fond of Android now. Nothing beats it. Plus a loyalty shift from nokia to samsung as they are no longer smart enough. Wish i had android on nokia. But my loyality towards android is more now so leaving nokia.

  4. Stev said on October 31, 2011 at 7:27 pm

    None of the sites do a comparision for security on these platforms or is it that all are vulnerable. If winodows does something groundbreaking on security then i think it will have a big break.

    1. Seth said on November 1, 2011 at 12:22 am

      All OSes have vulnerabilities, but the biggest security problem tends to be the user. If you explain what your concerns are, you’re more likely to get a useful answer.

  5. Jack said on October 31, 2011 at 5:45 pm

    With all of this new (and largely superfluous) technology, people don’t seem to grasp a simple principle…

    The phones and their software are not the product. You are!

    1. Seth said on November 1, 2011 at 12:10 am

      Are you trying to say that iOS is people? ( if you’re too thick to get the reference)

      I’m pretty sure that through the haze of your paranoia you don’t seem grasp the topic of the article you’re commenting on.

  6. schu said on October 31, 2011 at 4:18 pm

    Waited for WP7, but took to long to get too VZW and that was sad. Droid has filled that gap and couldn’t be happier.

  7. ilev said on October 31, 2011 at 8:07 am

    5 major players, Samsung’s Bada is bigger than Microsoft’s WP7.

  8. Pietzki said on October 31, 2011 at 4:35 am

    A few years back I vowed to never get an iPhone, as I had loads of trouble with my first iPod. “If they can’t make a decent mp3 player, how can I trust them with making a decent phone?” Is what I kept thinking…

    Well I ended up getting a free iPhone, because my girlfriend at the time renewed her contract but had just gotten a new phone from overseas. So I gave it a go, and sure enough I liked it. Back then there were no real alternatives that had as much functionality as iOS, so by the time other platforms caught up I was already too invested into iOS to switch. And I’m still stuck in that situation.

    I hate how locked down iOS is, although I am keenly aware that this is part of the reason why iOS is more secure than Android, for example. I absolutely loathe iTunes, which in my opinion is one of the worst pieces of software ever made. BUT I love all my apps! And there’s the problem. I’ve got too much stuff on the iphone (not just apps, but also the data inside those apps) to switch at the moment.

    Even if I could, I wouldn’t switch to Android because of security issues, and I have never even considered a Blackberry. I wonder if Windows Phone 8 will be a full-fledged OS which synchronises completely with your pc, because that could be something to entice me to switch…

  9. Morely Dotes said on October 31, 2011 at 3:04 am

    1. I don’t have a smartphone, and I don’t want one; the cellular companies get too much money already. My wifi-only tablet will get me any mobile Internet experience I need.
    2. What kind of idiot is “loyal” to a device? It has no emotions, and no loyalty to you – if you find something that does a better job, just dump the old one and move on. It’s a *tool* – and if you’re loyal to it, you’re another tool.

  10.   said on October 31, 2011 at 2:04 am

    Fark Nokia. As far as I am concerned Nokia no longer make phones.

    I was burned with the N8, marketed as a smart phone. Which it is far from (constant restarts, no software update for 8+ months, no VNC/SSH/Telnet apps for it in marketplace) and they have consistently released shitty phones, DO NOT REWARD THEIR INCOMPETENCE!

    Never again nokia, NEVER AGAIN!

  11. fokka said on October 31, 2011 at 12:32 am

    for me its android and nothing else. i am a windows-guy and i think android is the most like windows on mobile devices. you can configure it the way you want, you can install what you want and you dont need a centralized software solution to manage and backup it, allthough more work/help from google on the backup-front would be appreciated.

    i simply dont like the metro ui on windows phone (and windows 8) and ios is too closed for my taste, allthough i can understand the appeal of apples offering.

    blackberry never caught my interest, but i think they will lose even more market share as they already lost.

  12. Steve said on October 30, 2011 at 11:43 pm

    Currently I have the Galaxy S 2 and love it, though it’s not as intuitive as my old iphone was. I’m interested in Nokia’s line of WinMo7 phones because they have a history of solid hardware and Metro for me is the nicest looking UI in smartphones.

  13. Yoav said on October 30, 2011 at 10:54 pm

    Android because its open source.

    I’m on my first brand new Samsung Galaxy so i’ll see how i like it. For starters I can say that the earphones that came with it don’t fit properly into the phone itself…and the battery drains extremely fast. But I’m still getting used to it and this is my first ever smartphone so i’m not jumping to conclusions yet.

  14. Rolf said on October 30, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    I’m currently an iOS user, (soon to be on my 3rd iPhone) but my recent experience has pushed me close to the edge of jumping ship and giving Android a go. Just recently had a 1yr-4mo old iPhone 4 die on me — much shorter life expectancy than I was expecting — and because I didn’t cough up the $100 for the extended 2yr warranty (an additional 50% of the cost of the phone) I’m completely out of luck. Couldn’t have happened at a worse time either, since the 4S is a bit hard to get at the moment thanks the perennial shortage of phones that Apple just never seems to be able to anticipate.

    I’m staying with iOS for the moment because:
    *own an iPad as well
    *own a lot of apps some of which I actually use with some frequency
    *already in a contract with AT&T and have the grandfathered Unlimited data plan

    Reasons I might leave:
    *expensive and way too much emphasis on constant upgrading
    *closed environment keeps me trapped with what Apple considers needed functionality (yes, I *could jailbreak, but I’m just not comfortable doing that)
    *recent experience with Apple support has not be all that positive and local Apple store was more hip than helpful.

  15. Steve said on October 30, 2011 at 9:46 pm

    HTC + Android FTW!

    1. fokka said on October 31, 2011 at 12:25 am

      +1 :)

  16. Seth said on October 30, 2011 at 9:40 pm

    For me it’s all about functionality not brand. Most smartphones can all do pretty much the same things so it comes down to small details.

    I wan’t to be able to get the information I need with the least fuss. The reason that I’m currently using Android is because I can easily (and without voiding my warranty) put my schedule and task list right on my lock screen with a few apps from the market. It lets me see what i need to be doing simply by pushing one button to turn the screen on. From what I’ve seen the other major mobile OSes can’t do that.

  17. LinuxCanuck said on October 30, 2011 at 9:01 pm

    The problem for MS and Nokia are that Android, iOS and Blackberry have a big lead and MS and Nokia have bad reputations to deal with. Apple has a fanatical following. Android has the backing of open source world including many developers and Linux fans. You mentioned Blackberry loyalty. MS does not have fan loyalty in the same way.

    People use Windows because they do not know any better. It comes with their computers. It is the default not a choice. That does not foster loyalty. It just means that people are familiar with it.

    Plus MS does not have a great track record in recent years. They had Vista which was a bust. There is still resistance to W7 and users are pushing back at attempts to kill XP. The average Windows user is not an early adopter as an Apple user might be. There is no loyalty to MS, either. Also MS has the Zune, the Kin, HD DVD, etc. MS’s track record is far from sterling.

    Then there is Nokia, known for making cheap phones, flip flops and ticking off its own developers. So when you add Nokia’s record to Microsoft’s then it will take lots of promotion to make any headway.

    It is hard to see where they will make gains. Apple users will not switch. They wait up all night for a new iPhone when they already have a perfectly good one. Androids users are happy and it is the fastest growing segment of the smartphone market. Blackberry is fading, but is still a player. Its base in the enterprise market is slow to change is not likely to switch horses easily.

    That leaves MS the low end where Nokia has traditionally resided and I cannot see MS liking being there long. And the profit is in the high end, going head to head with Samsung and Apple.

    What I would love to see is Google putting its money behind Android and calling MS’s bluff once it goes after small Android equipment makers. Tell us what patents are being violated and end this charade once and for all. Then we can put this patent trolling behind us and get on with innovating and producing something worth using.

    I think that MS is desperate to have a winner and ripe for the picking. All we need is someone to step up and take them on. They have played divide and conquer too long and are sitting back on past laurels.

    My prediction is that W8 will be a Vista-like stinker. Windows desktop users will switch to W7 out of desperation, but will resist Metro and W8 and MS will have to do more damage control. How about a “W8 was my idea” campaign?

  18. Martin Brinkmann said on October 30, 2011 at 7:18 pm

    I personally do not care about brands. I select the smartphone based on my own personal preferences.

  19. Wind said on October 30, 2011 at 7:14 pm

    I don’t use a smartphone, simple as that.
    There’s no need to bring all those worries into one’s life.

    1. fokka said on October 31, 2011 at 12:24 am

      what worries do you have, my friend? lets talk about it!

      1. Wind said on November 1, 2011 at 1:16 am

        One less (significant) expense, one less thing you have to worry about losing or getting stolen, one less thing that can identify you, one less thing that contains your private data, one less thing that you have to worry about keeping charged, one less contract to worry about, one less company you are dependent on for your communications, one less major distraction that always rings at the worst times, one less thing you are dependent on.

        Most people now take phones for granted and have therefore internalized all of these worries, so they don’t see them as such anymore, or they don’t see it as important as they should be. That’s a shame.

      2. Jack said on October 31, 2011 at 5:48 pm

        I’m with Wind – enough worries without adding expensive and ever-changing technology that 90% of users really don’t need. And no – we wouldn’t care to talk about them…

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