The Droids are taking over - As Google Android becomes no.1, what do customers think of smartphones?

Since the previous blog, on mobile research and the use of smartphones it has been announced that Android is now the world number one smartphone platform.

A key part of what we do at DigitalMR is the measuring what people say on the internet and social media platforms. So we thought it would be interesting to take a look at coverage of comments on smartphones that use Google Android platform – and see how they stack up against non-Android Palm, Blackberry (RIM) and iPhone (Apple) smartphones

We measured HTC Corporation, Motorola, Samsung, Sony Ericsson, Acer, LG and to see how they compared with non-android models from Palm, Apple and RIM.

What immediately draws attention is that the HTC Corporation is the most talked about brand achieving a 38% share of voice. This is more the double the coverage that Apple and RIM achieve, they account for similar levels with 17% and 16% respectively. But how positive is the coverage that these brands receive?

DigitalMR has a method to calculate overall positive or negative coverage for a brand or feature with its Net Sentiment Score (NSS). Using this method, all the brands achieve a positive NSS, however it’s all relative. The highest NSS is Palm with 43%, followed by HTC (40%). But interestingly the bottom three scores include non-Android platforms RIM (16%) and Apple (14%) plus Acer with 12%.

HTC certainly appears to be major player according to comments on the internet. It combines a high level of popularity (reflected by a high proportion of positive comments) with a high level of coverage. Positive comments about HTC phones give it a 48% positive Share of Voice, which outweighs its negative comments (38% negative SoV). Conversely both Apple and RIM have a higher negative share of voice (17 and 16%) than positive share of voice (13 and 12%). It would appear that both these brands have ground to make up in addressing negative issues raised on the internet.

The most talked about features across all phones was Service Provider, followed by Handset Design and Connectivity. Get these fundamentals right, and it’s much more likely that your brand will be positively commented upon across the internet and social media sites.

As for the future of Android, and perceptions of smartphone overall, it will certainly be interesting to see how Nokia responds. Latest announcements reveal that it has formed a “strategic partnership” with Microsoft and will use Windows Mobile 7 as its “primary smartphone platform”.

Android is also making inroads into the burgeoning tablet market – hitherto dominated by Apple’s iPad. Android devices captured 22 percent of global tablet shipments in the three months to Dec. 31, up from 2.3 percent in the preceding quarter, while iPad accounted for 75 percent of shipments in the period, down from about 95 percent.

Competition is set to intensify with Dell looking to launch an Android Tablet in 2011, HP announcing the launch of TouchPad, a tablet running on its own operating system, webOS, and of course Apple with the iPad 2.

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