After all the fighting over features, patents, and even cultural outlooks, it turns out that the average iPhone owner and Samsung Galaxy S III owner use their phones pretty much the same way. People who are investing in the high end of smartphones pretty much have the same use cases in mind.
In a new study from the company Consumer Intelligence Research Partners, a survey of 500 owners of the iPhone and 500 owners of the S III revealed very similar usage patterns. For instance, 80% to 90% of owners of the devices use them to send texts several times a day. And well over 80% of iPhone owners use their phone to access the Internet several times a day, and the same is true for 75% of the Samsung device owners. Galaxy S III owners were slightly more likely to use the phone voice features more often than iPhone owners, but the difference was slight.
The iPhone had a minor edge when it came to a broader range of multimedia usage. These Apple customers were more likely to use their phones to take pictures more often. And 80% of iPhone owners describe themselves as frequent phone game players compared to 70% of S III owners.
The two ownership groups depart most obviously when it comes to their use and ownership of other devices. iPhone owners were more likely to own an iPad, while S III owners were more likely to have chosen an Android tablet. This difference makes clear sense, however, because it is easier for each of the devices’ owners to access apps across the shared operating systems. And despite the corporate fantasies of Samsung, there is little evidence in the survey that the Galaxy is luring iPhone owners over to the competing device. Only 9% of S III owners said they had migrated over from the iPhone. But 20% of iPhone owners say they have owned an Android.
All of which is to say that the era of smartphone device warfare is waning as users of all sorts make gadget choices for a number of idiosyncratic reasons. It is less about the gadget than the experience.
It seems odd to me that we have not seen more competition among the operating systems on the feature of personalization. In my experience, both Android and Microsoft Windows Phone feel more customizable than iOS, which pretty much just allows you to choose wallpaper and move icons. Widgets, tile sizes, and the look and feel of the live home page all seem to me a great site for competitive advantage that matters to users.