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US consumers: "Give us cheap flips"

Chris Ziegler

J.D. Power's 2006 U.S. Wireless Mobile Phone Evaluation Study (whew) has dropped, giving us a glimpse into the mind of the average cellphone-enabled American. What have we learned? In a nutshell, we apparently love us some cheap Sanyo clamshells. Allow us to clarify: from 2004 to 2006, the average handset purchase fell from $99 to $86. Since 2002, candybars accounted for some 70% of phones sold; that's dropped to 39% in 2006 while clamshells have skyrocketed from 7% to 58%. To a certain extent, we have the chicken-and-egg phenomenon in effect here -- flip ownership has naturally risen signifcantly as attractive models (read: RAZRs) have come on the scene. Perhaps most surprising is that dark horse Sanyo ran away with the "overall customer satisfaction" title, with LG in a distant second. Satisfaction in the "phone operation" category -- that is, ease of use -- rose a whopping 5% across the board from last year, indicating that phones are getting simpler or users are getting smarter. Either way, we're all for it, as long as it doesn't lead to more people choosing ringtones in restaurants. [Warning: PDF link]

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