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Friday, March 22, 2013, 08:00 am PT (11:00 am ET)

Study finds little difference between iPhone, Galaxy S III users

While Apple and Samsung battle it out in the courts and the market, fans of the devices they make sometimes battle just as fervently in Internet forums, but a new study suggests that iPhone and Galaxy S III owners may be a lot more similar to each other than they'd think.

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Consumer Intelligence Research Partners recently released a report examining the device usage patterns of iPhone and Galaxy S III owners. The report was based on surveys of 500 iPhone owners and 500 GS III users, conducted in January and February of 2013.

In terms of device use, respondents from both brands engaged in calling, texting, email, and Internet access at about the same rate. Both Galaxy S III and iPhone owners use their phones mostly for texting and accessing the web. Between 80 and 90 percent of Galaxy S III and iPhone owners reported using their phones to send texts several times per day, while 75 percent of Galaxy S III owners and more than 80 percent of iPhone owners said they use their phones for Internet access several times daily.

Phone calls and email were less heavily used according to respondents. More Samsung owners reported using their phones several times a day for these features than did Apple owners, but the response rates were very close.

iPhone owners, according to the report, are more likely to use their phones for gaming and photos several or one to two times daily, with nearly 80 percent of iPhone-owning respondents describing themselves as frequent phone gamers. About 70 percent of Galaxy S III owners said the same.

Ownership of other devices was one area of difference between the two groups. PC laptops and desktops were an area of commonality, but iPhone owners were more likely to own a Mac laptop or desktop, although in much less significant numbers relative to PCS. About 20 percent of iPhone owners have a Mac laptop, while seven percent of Galaxy S III owners have the same.

iPhone owners were twice as likely to own an iPad, and "GS III" owners were twice as likely to own an Android tablet. iPhone owners were also more likely to own a Kindle.

In terms of upgrading their handsets, GS III buyers tended to upgrade from within the Android platform. About one in eleven GS III buyers had previously owned an iPhone. Reflecting recent statements from Apple execs, about one in five iPhone buyers had previously owned an Android phone.

The study found that AT&T's long-time exclusive distribution of the iPhone still impacts carrier choice for Apple's handset. More than 50 percent of iPhone respondents were on AT&T, with roughly 35 percent on Verizon and just over 10 percent on Sprint. The GS III, though, reflecting Samsung's push to get its device into as many outlets as possible, is roughly evenly distributed across AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile.