iPhone boosts touchscreen phone take-up

Touschscreen mobiles are becoming increasingly accepted

The Apple iPhone could already be revolutionising the way we think about using mobile phones. An increasing number of us are being attracted to touchscreen-operated phones.

A third of respondents in a recent survey by Canalys indicated that they thought having a touchscreen on a phone would be a good idea. Some 23 per cent would like a touchscreen interface, provided it meant a large display without compromising the size of the phone.

A further 10 per cent were prepared to have a larger phone if it meant a touchscreen interface and a larger display or good keyboard.

However, another 24 per cent were ambivalent about the phone interface - whether touchscreen or traditional keypad. To them, the key priority was having a small phone regardless of the input method. Only 28 per cent of those surveyed rejected the idea of a touchscreen phone completely, saying they wanted to stick with a traditional mobile keypad.

The Canalys survey was carried out in several European countries. It revealed that acceptance of touchscreen phone technology was 50 per cent higher among those who had a high interest in more advanced mobile services, such as mobile TV, email and GPS navigation.

Canalys believes that mobiles which use larger displays and touch-operated interfaces offer more flexibility for applications and could deliver greater ease of use. Devices like the iPhone, the recent Prada Phone by LG and numerous Windows Mobile -powered phones from HTC could allow more features to become accessible to more people. And large screens could present content in a more attractive way.

"User interface design is very easy to get wrong and you need to strike the right balance - promoting new or lesser-used services without compromising access to the features that people use every day," commented Mike Welch, Canalys VP.

"The interface has to be responsive, and consistent all the way through... If a customer picks up a phone in a retail store and can't see how to do the basics within 20 seconds, they will walk away."