Consumers take to touchscreen phones

Is the new design trend for touchscreen mobile phones – such as the HTC Touch (Click here for video review), LG Prada and the much-awaited iPhone – a touch too much for European consumers? Not so, according to a study from Canalys.

Consumers take to touchscreen phones

It found ‘a high degree of acceptance among mobile phone users’ to the concept of touchscreen control. Over a fifth of survey respondents said that having a touch screen interface would be good – as long as it was on a large display. The caveat was that it shouldn’t increase the overall size of the phone.

However, another 10% were prepared to accept a larger phone in return for a large touchscreen or a good keyboard.

According to Canalys, acceptance of touchscreen phones was up to 50% higher among those interested in mobile TV services, mobile e-mail or handset-based GPS navigation.

When it came to the more tradional forms of input, only 28% said categorically that they wanted a numeric keypad. Another 24% said that smallness of size was the priority, regardless of the phone’s input method.

‘The interface has to be responsive, and consistent all the way through – not just up to a point where suddenly another paradigm kicks in,’ said Mike Welch, Canalys VP. ‘And the standard features that people take for granted, like using predictive text, dialling numbers, finding and updating contacts and using the camera, must work at least as well as on a more conventional phone – it isn’t just about the advanced applications.’

‘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.’

Other findings by Canalys backed the notion that simplicity is best when it comes to phone services. For example, less than a tenth of those surveyed by Canalys were paying for and downloading ringtones, pictures, games or music on a recurring basis. However, more than twice as many had tried to do so at least once, suggesting an unsatisfactory user experience.

Camera usage was a contrasting case – more than 70% of those with phones with integrated cameras were using them regularly.

The online Camalysis survey was carried out April, sampling 2,000 adult mobile phone users across Europe.

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