The smartphone market is now dominated by Apple and Research In Motion, with other vendors in the space being brushed aside in both consumer and business markets, new research claims.

ChangeWave Research has introduced new data, confirming that customer satisfaction levels for both devices are very high, with Apple leading the pack. (Apple has a 79 per cent very satisfied rating, BlackBerry holds 54 per cent).

BlackBerry users like one feature the best - email, with 56 per cent of users noting it as the feature they liked the best. “No other feature comes even close in terms of popularity,” ChangeWave said.

iPhone users, however, like multiple features of the device. Its seamless integration of a Phone, iPod and internet browser is the leading feature, with 36 per cent of customers noting it as the one thing they like best. However the touch screen interface was the best feature for 27 per cent of users; it’s ease of use was top for 16 per cent and Safari appealed to 5 per cent of those surveyed.

Respondent BOB04545 said: "I love the iPhone. It is revolutionary. I love being able to jump on the Internet, send email, get maps, weather forecasts, instant message, and make phone calls."

The speed of AT&T’s EDGE network and lack of copy-&-paste were castigated as the worst features of the device, the researchers found.

“Both Apple and RIM dominate the US smartphone industry and are in the process of overwhelming the competition,” said ChangeWave research analyst, Paul Carton. “Each has a super-loyal cadre of users that fervently support their phone brand - and each has extraordinary room to grow.”

Carton also notes that consumers are now moving to favour smartphones when purchasing new handsets, “both Apple and Research In Motion are the big winners. In other words, just as the Apple iPhone has captured the hearts and minds of its user base, so has the RIM BlackBerry.”

The research notes that both companies retain key advantages, with Apple’s soon-to-ship iPhone Software 2.0 likely to generate renewed interest in its handsets. Consumers say the top features they’d like to see in the iPhone include: 3G support, third-party software, GPS, email integration and voice recognition - features many of which are anticipated to debut in iPhone Software 2.0.

“The bottom line in this horse race is Apple and Research In Motion are both giant winners. The rest of the smart phone manufacturers lose.”