Apple, which is gunning to be the world’s most valuable public company this week, has scored a couple of points against its rivals in independent usability and support assessments.
Those are small victories for Apple, but they aren’t always obvious to people considering purchases based on sticker price or subscription plans alone.
ClickFox, a firm that analyzes customer experience data, said it found that iPhones cost less to support than Android or BlackBerry devices. The study was based on an examination of support calls received by North American mobile phone carriers. The reason is that it often takes multiple agents to resolve a BlackBerry or Android user’s problem, which means calls have to be transferred.
Harvard University also did a video usability study comparing the ease of use for tasks performed on the iPhone 4, a Samsung Focus running Windows Phone 7, a BlackBerry Storm from Research in Motion, and an HTC Thunderbolt Android phone. The study used novice consumers to perform various tasks and found that the winners in usability were the iPhone 4G and Windows Phone 7.
The study was conducted by a summer school class taught by Harvard professor Dennis Galleta, who is teaching a course on Human Factors in Information Systems Design. That’s not exactly a huge scientific research project, but it does show what the experience of neophyte users is like when performing tasks like making a call, adding a contact, and sending a text message. Check out the study in the video below. It’s quite amusing to watch what happens when a user runs into a complete brick wall on performing a task. Android didn’t do so hot, and BlackBerry appeared to be utterly inscrutable to the new users.