Survey Shows Handheld Users Want It All

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The results of the AvantGo 2004 Mobile Lifestyle survey reveal that when it comes to device functionality, early technology adopters want a combination of “bells and whistles” and standard options.

“In addition to their normal PDA features, handheld users want a device with an iPod-size memory to play and store music and other content; email functionality; GPS; phone, compact size and a larger screen,” said Neil Versen, senior director of AvantGo at iAnywhere.

The AvantGo survey revealed the following “top 12″ must-have features of an all-in-one dream device:

  • Calendar/contact list
  • Easily syncs with PC
  • Great battery life
  • E-mail/messaging
  • Wi-Fi/Bluetooth
  • Compact size
  • MP3 player
  • Phone
  • Large screen
  • GPS locator
  • 20+ gigabyte memory
  • Camera

The calendar/contact list ranked highest among survey respondents, with 94 percent citing this as a must-have feature. Surprisingly, MP3 players (77 percent) ranked slightly higher than phones (76 percent) and GPS locators (65 percent), while more hard drive memory (64 percent) edged out cameras (63 percent) in popularity.

AvantGo, a service of iAnywhere with millions of unique subscribers, is in the exclusive position of polling a wide variety of handheld users to identify the most popular PDA and smartphone devices and brands. Additional notable findings among the tech-savvy mobile professionals surveyed include:

  • Nearly two out of three respondents said they planned to purchase a regular handheld rather than one with phone capabilities.
  • 31 percent said they would be purchasing a phone/handheld hybrid, while only 3 percent would switch to a Symbian smartphone device and 4.5 percent to a RIM Blackberry device.
  • 50 percent of respondents reported owning Palm OS devices, 40 percent Pocket PC devices, and 10 percent reported owning other brands.
  • Over three quarters (77 percent) of respondents reported purchasing their own current handheld device, while 13 percent received it as a gift, and only 9 percent received it from an employer.
  • 70 percent of respondents have downloaded four or more applications and 34 percent have downloaded 10-plus applications to their handheld device.
  • Among respondents who download PDA and smartphone applications, 15 percent spend $100 or more a year, 38 percent spend more than $50 and 58 percent spend more than $25 a year.
  • A notable 31 percent of respondents use paid location-based or travel applications such as event, restaurant, and movie listings.

“Survey results indicate that location-based applications are likely to fuel the next wave of handheld functionality, while feeding users’ seemingly never-ending appetite for applications and add-ons to enhance their handheld experience,” said Versen.

Brand Loyalty

The September survey of 3,260 AvantGo users, conducted entirely via handhelds and smartphones, also revealed that 85 percent of Pocket PC owners and 82 percent of Palm owners said that they planned to stick with the same operating system with their next purchase.

About the Survey

The 2004 Mobile Lifestyle Survey is based on responses from 3,260 AvantGo users. The self-administered survey was completed over a two-week period and delivered on mobile devices via the free AvantGo service. Respondents were self-selecting.

To learn more about AvantGo, visit its web site.



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