More than half of touchphone users will go back to buttons
Survey reveals disappointment with technology, experience
World+Dog wants a touchscreen phone, survey results from market watcher Canalys suggest, but vendors still have work to do to prevent users going back to buttons.
According to Canalys' figures, 38 per cent of some 3000 mobile phone users questioned in the UK, France and Germany said their next phone will have a finger-oriented touchscreen user interface.
Add in the 16 per cent of respondents who said they want a stylus-operated touchscreen device next, and the total jumps to more than half of people surveyed.
Clearly, touchscreens are in and, as Canalys found, they have across-the-board appeal, being favoured almost as much by the old as the young, by women as men. Demand is at pretty much the same level in all the three countries included in the survey, and touchscreen phones are as likely to be wanted by pay-as-you-go customers as those folk on contracts.
But for all the buzz surrounding touchscreen phones - much of it from the iPhone - the technology is disappointing too many people. Apple and one or two others may be getting it right, but that doesn't mean consumers who have tried rival products and disliked them will stick with the technology but try a different vendor.
A surprising 53 per cent of folk who already own a touchscreen phone said they won't be buying one next time round. Apple and HTC both had much larger numbers of users who who said they will remain loyal to touchscreen technology, Canalys noted, though we wonder whether that's more to do with brand preference than favouring touchscreens, especially in Apple's case.
Other vendors who have offered touchscreen phones fared less well. For example, fewer than a third of Sony Ericsson touchcreen owners said their next phone would use the same kind of UI. Fortunately, for SE, Nokia, RIM and co, they have plenty of button-based phones for these folk to turn to.
Those who favour a stylus were among those folk surveyed who were least likely to go to a finger-oriented touchscreen UI.
“This is another example of how strongly current user experience sets future expectations,” said Pete Cunningham, a senior Canalys analyst. “It's likely that many of those users perceive moving from stylus to finger as a loss of precision that would degrade usability, hence the underlying resistance.
Within this group, there was notably less resistance to change from current HTC and Samsung owners. Both Samsung and HTC have put their own finger-driven UI on top of Windows Mobile, and the survey responses suggests they may be more successful in persuading punters to stow their stylii for good. ®
Am I the only one...
...that can type faster on a touchscreen than a physical keyboard?
All the physical QWERTY phones I've tried seem to make the assumption that because I can feel the keys, I will always be 100% accurate, which for me isn't true. I tend to miss keys, hit two at once, etc. If I owned a phone with a physical QWERTY keyboard, the backspace key would be the first one to wear out.
I don't have any of these problems with my capacitive touchscreen phone because it's designed to deal with these problems, and because I'm typing on a flat surface that requires no pressure my fingers don't start to hurt after a few dozen words.
I might yet become a luddite and return to the SE W350i that I have lying around (which I love despite its shortcomings), but I'll never ever go back to a physical QWERTY phone.
the problem with most touchscreens
is that they use resistive touch technology. While this allows for the option of a stylus, it really sucks for responsiveness and accuracy when using fingers.
apple, and more recently HTC (magic, hero and hd2), are all using capacitive touch technology, which is why they are so much more responsive. you wont be able to use a stylus though, unless HTC can perfect their magnetic/capacitive touch hybrid thing they were working on.
I love a touchscreen for generally navigating around the phone but when it comes to text input IO really need a physical keypad. Hence I'm looking with some interest towards the N97mini which seems to offer the best of both worlds.
I'll fully agree that the general slickness of the experience on the iPhone is one of (possibly the) best touchscreens I've ever used, not just on a phone but full stop - and having that same slickness is the reason why I want to pick up an iPod Touch rather than go for a larger capacity classic. Still fails the text input test for me though so as a phone its a non-starter even before I get to the other problems I have with the iPhone. Other touchscreens I've used have varied from being rather good to downright abysmal, and overall I would say that the poor ones have outnumbered the good so I'm not massively suprised by the results of this survey.
"Apple and HTC both had much larger numbers of users who who said they will remain loyal to touchscreen technology, Canalys noted, though we wonder whether that's more to do with brand preference than favouring touchscreens, especially in Apple's case."
Really? Do you really wonder whether that's down to brand preference, or do you not suppose it might just be because Apple's touchscreen experience is generally better than the competition's?
I've worked my way through five touchscreen phones since my first in 2002, I still obsessively play around with all the new demo phones in shops now, and I've never come across a touchscreen phone or UI that's as consistently fast, intuitive, and responsive as the iPhone. It's head and shoulders above the nearest competition even now, as far as I can see, and we're now two years on from its introduction.
I played around on a Palm Pre the other day - three of them in fact, just to make sure I hadn't just happened across a "bad" one - and as nice as everything looked on screen, the whole thing became a janky, jerky, unintuitive mess as soon as you actually tried to touch anything or perform any function. As hard as they've tried to ape the iPhone, they've simply created the polar opposite, in all the worst ways possible. I'm not pleased about that at all, Apple need some decent competiton, but it's not come about yet - and if that means they get to benefit from their user's "brand preference" next time around then who exactly is to blame for that?
Re: What has it taken so long to figure this out?
> TomTom satnavs are a classic example of how not to
> design an interface. Sure, the menu structure is
> quite good, but why no multi-function buttons around
> the side of the screen?
AddButton() is cheaper for them to use than to actually add a physical button. These Tom Tom type gadgets are just cheap (well, grossly expensive) consumer shite, and if they did the design right then consumers won't throw them away in 18months to get the next model.
But I agree with you - these touch screens are terrible design. They are especially bad in vehicles though, where things can move at a moments notice, meaning "pressing" the wrong thing is trivial.