Touchscreens dominate smartphone interfaces

But keyboards are also growing in popularity at the expense of the keypad

More than 15 million of the 38.1 million mobile phones sold during the second quarter used a touchscreen as the primary interface, according to market research company Canalys.

That's much more than a year ago, when just 3.9 million of the 33.6 million phones sold in the second quarter of 2008 had touchscreens. The success of touchscreens is of course tightly coupled with the success of Apple's iPhone, which has ignited user interest, said Mike Welch, vice president at Canalys. The number of smartphones that use a keyboard as its primary interface also increased, with 10.7 million sold in the quarter.

For its figures, Canalys decides what is the primary interface if a device comes with more than one input mechanism. Canalys then counts it as either as a touch, keyboard or keypad phone. So the Palm Pre and the Android-based G1 are, for example, counted as touch devices, according to Welch.

Like many market research companies, Canalys is upbeat about the smartphone market and is currently forecasting a 14 percent growth for global shipments in 2009 over 2008.

The main drivers behind the increased number of keyboard-equipped phones are sales of Research In Motion's BlackBerry devices and the increased interest in social networking, including Facebook and Twitter, which demand more typing.

Having a keyboard can be helpful when inputting lots of text, according to Welch. So-called "soft" keyboards -- which don't have tactile keys -- have gotten a bit of a bad rap, which sometimes is undeserved, Welch said.

But in the end it is how the keyboard is implemented, and support for a landscape mode on the iPhone is a step in the right direction, Welch said. That change made it easier for people with bigger fingers to type.

The big loser is the keypad. A year ago more than 60 percent of smartphones were equipped with a traditional keypad. Today that share has dropped to about 32 percent.

In the near future, voice recognition will play a more important role on smartphones and supplement other technologies, according to Welch. Navigation applications are one area for voice recognition since only a limited vocabulary is necessary, according to Welch.

Voice recognition could also be used to input simple commands and text into smartphones, he said. But voice recognition technologies are still developing and do not work well enough to be ubiquitous on mobiles or PCs yet, Welch said.

Join the newsletter!

Or
Error: Please check your email address.
Rocket to Success - Your 10 Tips for Smarter ERP System Selection

Tags smartphonesmobile phonestouch screens

Keep up with the latest tech news, reviews and previews by subscribing to the Good Gear Guide newsletter.

Mikael Ricknäs

IDG News Service
Show Comments

Essentials

Mobile

Victorinox Werks Professional Executive 17 Laptop Case

Learn more >

Exec

Budget

Back To Business Guide

Click for more ›

Brand Post

Most Popular Reviews

Latest Articles

Resources

PCW Evaluation Team

Andrew Teoh

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

Touch screen visibility and operation was great and easy to navigate. Each menu and sub-menu was in an understandable order and category

Louise Coady

Brother MFC-L9570CDW Multifunction Printer

The printer was convenient, produced clear and vibrant images and was very easy to use

Edwina Hargreaves

WD My Cloud Home

I would recommend this device for families and small businesses who want one safe place to store all their important digital content and a way to easily share it with friends, family, business partners, or customers.

Walid Mikhael

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

It’s easy to set up, it’s compact and quiet when printing and to top if off, the print quality is excellent. This is hands down the best printer I’ve used for printing labels.

Ben Ramsden

Sharp PN-40TC1 Huddle Board

Brainstorming, innovation, problem solving, and negotiation have all become much more productive and valuable if people can easily collaborate in real time with minimal friction.

Sarah Ieroianni

Brother QL-820NWB Professional Label Printer

The print quality also does not disappoint, it’s clear, bold, doesn’t smudge and the text is perfectly sized.

Featured Content

Product Launch Showcase

Latest Jobs

Don’t have an account? Sign up here

Don't have an account? Sign up now

Forgot password?