The future is touchscreen

It is pathetic when reading some comments where people are accusing LG of copying Apple for their KE850 Prada feature phone. They didn’t. Neither Apple copied the idea from LG. It is where the general direction of feature phones is going: large touchscreens.

There is a much bigger need these days for good mobile web-browsing and good video support that it forces the usage of large widescreens. And because large widescreens take lots of space, the hardware buttons must be removed in order to keep the device truly mobile. And because most keys are gone, the screen must become a touchscreen. Logical consequence, no?

In the future, most phones will use such large wide touchscreens. What we see today with Microsoft, LG and Apple is simply the early adoption of this kind of usage. Sony Ericsson bought UIQ so they can truly control it and get into that bandwagon too, while Nokia is rumored to be adding touchscreen support for the next major version of their S60 platform (their S80/S90 platforms are dead). Motorola has only recently started working with their LiMO partners for the new Linux-based phones, and they will possibly be late in the game. Motorola already has a Linux-based touchscreen platform called EZX, but they don’t want to continue using it, I believe because of Trolltech’s QT being dual licensed as GPL-commercial instead of LGPL. Samsung already has a Linux-based touchscreen-based platform too, partnering with the MiZi Corporation. Access still works for their next gen Linux-based OS too, while an HTC-generated rumor wants Microsoft adding 800×480 resolution support on their Windows Mobile 6.

Initially, these phones will only be high-end and expensive, but each year their numbers will multiply compared to the traditionally-looking phones. As for tactile support, Samsung has already patented the idea of using the device’s vibration mechanism to provide such feedback.

The only users who will be screwed from this new trend will be the blind people. I guess, specialized devices will be created for them, as they are today for other things. It will be just one more thing to pay a crazy price for (because they will sell fewer of them).

1 Comment »

Nick wrote on February 8th, 2007 at 10:35 AM PST:

Good article Eugenia. I hadn’t thought about the implications for the blind. I’m pretty sure picture of the LG KE850 came out before the iPhone was unveiled as well, so I don’t think there’s any grounds for saying it was copied. Have a look at our fetaure on touchscreen phones on the mobile phones blog.


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