iPhone, HTC Most Coveted Smartphones; BlackBerry Loses 'Cool Factor'


The Apple iPhone is still the most wanted smartphone in all the land, according to a report issued on Wednesday by ChangeWave Research.

And while the recent release of the Apple iPhone 4 has pushed Apple to the top of the heap, iPhone competitor and Google Android powerhouse HTC is also making waves in the smartphone market, while former handheld heavyweight Research In Motion (RIM) and its BlackBerry devices struggle to hold their place in a market in which they once were kings.

ChangeWave surveyed 4,028 consumers between June 14 and June 24 and found that 16.4 percent of those surveyed were planning to buy a smartphone within the next 90 days, a massive leap from previous quarters and the largest percentage increase since 14.4 percent planned to buy an smartphone in June 2009.

And, sure enough, the majority of folks planning to pick up a new handheld said they would be joining the Apple iPhone camp, with 52 percent of prospective buyers saying they would purchase an iPhone. In ChangeWave's previous survey, in March, only 31 percent of prospective buyers wanted an iPhone.

ChangeWave also found that HTC is gaining traction among consumers, mostly due to its huge successes with the Google Android platform. According to ChangeWave's findings, 19 percent of future smartphone buyers are looking to go with an HTC device, a jump from the 12 percent in the previous survey.

Meanwhile, Apple's and HTC's main competitors, Motorola, RIM BlackBerry and Palm are becoming less coveted, with only 9 percent saying they will buy a Motorola smartphone in the next 90 days; 6 percent opting for BlackBerry and zero percent wanting Palm, across the board decreases from the 16 percent, 14 percent and 3 percent, respectively, each smartphone maker captured just three months prior.

Along with being the most desired smartphone, Apple's now-iconic iPhone also garnered the highest customer satisfaction ratings, according to ChangeWave's findings. The survey found that 73 percent of Apple iPhone owners are "very satisfied" with their handheld. Meanwhile, among HTC and Android users, 39 percent are very satisfied. Motorola and Palm tied with 34 percent very satisfied ratings, while RIM and BlackBerry placed last with 30 percent, marking the seventh consecutive quarter that BlackBerry's satisfaction rating fell.

ChangeWave said Apple's big gains and stickiness are likely the byproduct of the Apple iPhone 4 and the release of iOS 4, Apple's newest mobile operating system. As for HTC, it's growing success can be tightly tied to its lead in the Google android game and its release of hit devices like the Droid Incredible and the new HTC EVO 4G.

And while Apple and HTC continue to dominate, ChangeWave attributes RIM's and BlackBerry's decline on BlackBerrys losing their "cool factor," something RIM hopes to recapture with the BlackBerry 6.0 operating system, which is on the horizon.