The results of the AvantGo 2004 Mobile Lifestyle survey reveal that when it comes to device functionality, early technology adopters want to have their cake and eat it too. When asked to imagine the must-have features of an all-in-one "dream device," survey respondents chose a surprising combination of "bells and whistles" and standard options. The September survey of 3,260 AvantGo users, conducted entirely via PDAs and smartphones, also revealed that 85% of Pocket PC owners and 82% of Palm owners said that they planned to stick with the same operating system with their next purchase.
"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. "Most surprising, however, is that 8 out of 10 users are sticking with the same operating system. That's brand loyalty."
The AvantGo survey revealed the following "top 12" must-have features of an all-in-one dream device:
1. Calendar/contact list
2. Easily syncs with PC
3. Great battery life
6. Compact size
7. MP3 player
9. Large screen
10. GPS locator
11. 20+ gigabyte memory
The calendar/contact list ranked highest among survey respondents, with 94% citing this as a must-have feature. Surprisingly, MP3 players (77%) ranked slightly higher than phones (76%) and GPS locators (65%), while more hard drive memory (64%) edged out cameras (63%) 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 PDA rather than one with phone capabilities.
* 31% said they would be purchasing a phone/PDA hybrid, while only 3% would switch to a Symbian smartphone device and 4.5% to a RIM Blackberry device.
* 50% of respondents reported owning Palm OS devices, 40% Pocket PC devices, and 10% reported owning other brands.
* Over three quarters (77%) of respondents reported purchasing their own current handheld device, while 13% received it as a gift, and only 9% received it from an employer.
* 70% of respondents have downloaded four or more applications and 34% have downloaded 10-plus applications to their handheld device.
* Among respondents who download PDA and smartphone applications, 15% spend $100 or more a year, 38% spend more than $50 and 58% spend more than $25 a year.
* A notable 31% of respondents use paid location-based or travel applications such as event, restaurant and movie listings.
"Our findings seem to run counter to reports that the PDA is declining in popularity or that people are abandoning early platforms such as Palm for newer handheld platforms such as Pocket PC or Symbian," said Versen. "Furthermore, 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."
About the 2004 AvantGo Mobile Lifestyle 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.