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Half of US smartphone owners have no idea which mobe to buy next

What was that about platform lock-in?

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Were "ecosystems" of apps and developers ever the clincher in the smartphone wars? The conventional wisdom is that once users are locked in an online software store they will never leave. Perhaps this stickiness has been oversold.

Now 44 per cent of 1,500 smartphone owners surveyed by MKM Partners in the US aren't sure which mobe manufacturer they will upgrade to next. Good news for Nokia and BlackBerry* perhaps? Only up to a point.

The ones who could make up their mind are split between Samsung (19.6 per cent) and Apple (17.7 per cent); 5.9 per cent want their next phone to be a Blackberry, 4.4 per cent want a Motorola device, 3.7 per cent want something from HTC, 3.1 per cent desire an LG phone - and only 0.7 per cent said their next smartphone would be a Nokia.

The majority of the sample didn't realise either BlackBerry OS 10 or Windows Phone 8 had even been launched.

On the bright side for Blackberry, according to the poll, if you double the number of people who have a BlackBerry, you get the number of people are considering buying one of its phones - suggesting it's a novel new platform that's caught some attention.

33 per cent of the sample own an iPhone, and 28.3 per cent a Samsung device. Which suggests, in your correspondent's opinion, that Apple has educated the market and primed consumers, only for Samsung to clean up. The South Korean giant offers far more variety at a wider range of price points - and Apple hasn't really added much to its software design since it launched iOS six years ago.

It must make grim reading for BlackBerry and Nokia, who have the most interesting designs in a me-too market. But they'll take heart from the conclusion - and it's a valid one - that platform lock-in may be hugely overrated.

You can find more details on the purchasing intentions survey, here

* The Company Once Known As RIM.

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