Trend: Operation, physical design more important for handsets

According to a recent J.D. Power and Associates study, the operation and physical design of phones has become increasingly important to wireless customers. The study found that as more services are added to the phone, the ability to navigate around the handset in an easy and straight-forward manner has become more important to users. Performance was rated in five key factors of handset satisfaction: Physical design topped the list at 24 percent, followed by operation (22 percent), features (20 percent), handset durability (19 percent) and battery function (15 percent).

The importance of physical design is up 19 percent from 2003, while operation importance increased 15 percent. The study also noticed a shift in the standard design of handsets. Manufacturers are moving away from the candy bar design toward the clamshell design. In 2002, 70 percent of wireless users owned a candy bar-type handset compared to 45 percent in 2005. Over the same time period, clamshell-design phone ownership has risen from 7 percent to 52 percent.

For more on the J.D. Powers study:
- see this press release