iPhone scores 79% in customer satisfaction survey; RIM trails at 54%


Philip Elmer-DeWitt is a senior editor at Fortune.

Three pictures from the latest ChangeWave smartphone survey offer good news for Apple, mixed news for Research in Motion and terrible news for Palm. All three are from a survey of 3,597 high-end consumers conducted between March 17 and March 24. See here.

The first shows current market share among the respondents. Apple's (aapl) upward climb is accelerating, RIM (rimm) is easing slightly but still holding its own, and Palm (palm) is down for the seventh consecutive ChangeWave survey, dating back to June 2006.



The second picture is a bar chart showing the percentage of customers who indicate they are "very satisfied" with their smartphone. Apple iPhone satisfaction is at near-record levels. RIM is hovering over 50%. And Palm has fallen to the bottom of the heap, below even Sony and Motorola.



The last chart shows the preferences of the respondents who say they plan to buy a smartphone over the next three months. The iPhone has for the first time passed the RIM in this survey - "up a whopping 12 points" since January, as ChangeWave's Paul Carton puts it. RIM is down 3 points and Palm is down 5.



Carton attributes the sharply increased interest in the iPhone among ChargeWave's membership to the flurry of announcements surrounding release of the iPhone Software Developers Kit. Sounds right to me.

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