If your interested in consumer behavior and trends, I always think that one of the most valuable tools you can use is your friends. They are pretty much your own personal consumer research group, you can ask as many questions as you want, do as much observation as you want – all for free.

So what are the most popular handsets in your social graph? I’ve found there’s a simply way to find out using Facebook.

All you have to do is go to the official Facebook application page for your handset and click on the ‘Info’ tab, you’ll be presented with a total number of friends, plus who has it installed.

I checked my mates and out of 168 friends:

106 have the iPhone app installed

54 have the Blackberry app installed

12 have the Android app installed

0 have the WebOS for Palm installed

There is no app for Nokia listed although one exists, in any case they would surely be fighting for scraps.

If you’re wondering why the amount of friends with the Facebook app installed is greater than my total friends, it’s because many people change phones and even borrow their phone to friends to use the Facebook, meaning that they are listed under multiple handsets. So remember these figures aren’t 100% accurate but a good guide no less.

As you can see iPhone and Blackberry dominate, Android has such a small impact between my friends (18-35 year olds, majority mid-twenties, nearly all non-tech) which is strange considering it has now overtaken Apple and RIM in marketshare.

One thing I’m noticing with friends who own Blackberry’s is they are voicing their discontent and slowly jumping ship. Simply put, BBM just isn’t enough for them any more, especially as those iPhone users who are the majority will be influencing their decision to get ¬†a different handset.

The Blackberry OS has barely changed in the last 3 years and it shows.¬†Everything from the browser to the way it handles media is absolutely shit, rivals are raising the bar and RIM hasn’t responded. I think RIM will end up down the same road as Nokia in terms of sentiment if they don’t change things soon, all it takes is for Apple to do a OS update enabling a BBM-like application on the iPhone to haymaker Blackberry.

Try it yourself and post your findings in the comments

Facebook iPhone page (click here)

Facebook Blackberry page (click here)

Facebook Android page (click here)

Facebook Palm page (click here)