The iPhone took top honors in JD Power’s influential consumer satisfaction study, smartphone edition. This doesn’t come as a big surprise, and it was mostly a clean sweep across the main categories (features, ease of operation, physical design, etc.). The only place it didn’t kick everyone’s butt was “battery life” — where BlackBerry and LG had the highest scores.
If it wasn’t apparent to device manufacturers already, the iPhone has set the bar. We’re seeing others rise to the occasion, and the much awaited Palm Pre (and its rumored younger brother, the Palm “Pixie“) will be the first to come close. Meanwhile, this competition will be great for consumers and we’re already seeing these devices come down to the sub $200 level (carrier subsidized). They’ll dip further.
The point is that it’s not just about hardware and selling phones based on sex appeal. The devices that have the best mobile browsing experience are those that will attract application developers to build apps that tap into these capabilities. The rise of the app store will join improving hardware standards (and falling prices) as a top driver for mobile device sales.
The question for developers of local search apps (all apps really) then becomes, which platform do I build my app(s) for? The ideal answer is “all” but finite development resources dictate prioritization. It’s mostly a numbers game, and a TKG report is in progress to examine this question.