Smartphone launch comparison: Droid, Palm Pre, iPhone 3GS

by Eric Melin on November 16, 2009

Our ongoing partnership with local CBS affiliate KCTV5 has produced some interesting samples on recent newsworthy topics. This week, Spark monitored sentiment on the Internet regarding the recent launch of Motorola’s new Droid smartphone. Part of that sampling was used on KCTV5’s broadcast (video below).

After extending the Droid sampling through this past weekend, though, we were able to consider a larger date range and compare the launch of the Droid (on Nov. 6) to the launches of iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre earlier this summer.

Droid post-launch sentiment

Droid post-launch sentiment

Looking at the date range of Nov. 6 – Nov. 15, which is post-launch for the Motorola Droid cell phone (top chart), it’s clear that sentiment is positive overall for the new smartphone. The chart for the original date range of Nov. 6 – Nov. 11 measured positive sentiment at just 55.17%. If you compare the data with the charts from similar post-launch sentiment charts for the Palm Pre and the iPhone back in June and July, the Droid didn’t appear to be keeping up with the other two much-hyped smart phone releases.

What a difference a weekend can make. After continuing the sampling for four more days, positive sentiment jumped 10%, putting the Droid in between the Pre and iPhone 3GS in terms of positive sentiment.

Green is positive, red is negative, and gray is neutral sentiment. Neutral sentiment is scored when URLs have a balance in the language of both positive and negative sentiment or no overt sentiment at all. The breakdown for the Droid is as follows:

• Positive: 65.26%
• Neutral: 12.37%
• Negative: 22.37%


Palm Pre post-launch sentiment

Here is the post-launch node-level sentiment chart for the Palm Pre (released June 6) from June 6 – June 20 (middle chart). Notice that the numbers here are very similar to the Droid’s post-launch numbers:

• Positive: 67.08%
• Neutral: 11.04%
• Negative: 21.88%

This is the post-launch node-level sentiment chart for the iPhone 3GS (released June 19) from June 19 – July 3 (bottom chart). The large amount of negative sentiment is notable here:

• Positive: 58.46%
• Neutral: 8.85%
• Negative: 32.69%

This is a statistical sampling and the measurement dates for the iPhone 3GS and Palm Pre were slightly longer, but this data shows that the release of the Palm Pre had 1.82% more positive sentiment than the Droid, but that the Droid had 6.8% more positive sentiment than the iPhone 3GS.


iPhone 3GS post-launch sentiment

On the other hand, the Droid has the smallest amount of negative sentiment, with 3.78% less than the Palm Pre and 14.59% less negative sentiment than the iPhone 3GS.

Spark uses a proprietary influence algorithm to determine which domain has the largest amount of influence in a particular insight. It is no surprise in the Droid sampling that Twitter is at number one, but it is interesting to note that YouTube is the second biggest site mentioning the Motorola Droid. Many of these URLs were video user reviews or function walk-thrus where users explained the features of the new phone.

Popular tech sites and Droid forums are also influential online. This sampling is from a larger data set, which spanned 11/2 – 11/16.


Below is the news report that aired on KCTV about the sampling, with data up to Nov. 11:

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