What does your current cellphone look like? What did your prior
cellphone look like? Better yet, what did your phone look like in 2000?
If you suddenly realized that you've transitioned from a standard
numeric keypad-based candybar phone to a touchscreen-based or slide out
QWERTY keyboard-based phone, you definitely aren't alone. According to
new research on the subject, cellphones with full keyboards are all the
rage, and it doesn't seem to be a fad.
In fact, it seems that QWERTY cellphones are actually displacing the
standard numeric pad phones, with legions of handset makers showing
very few numeric phones at the recent CTIA trade show in Las Vegas.
Without question, the dominant form factors in forthcoming phones are
ones that either have a slide out QWERTY keyboard (like Palm's Pre), a QWERTY keyboard at
the bottom (like RIM's BlackBerry line) or a full face touchscreen
(similar to Apple's iPhone and iPhone 3G).
Many industry analysts are suggesting that the shift is due in large
part to our newfound obsession with multimedia (bigger screens are
better for watching videos and surfing the web) and our love for
messaging rather than talking. Basically, Americans are shifting the
way in which they use their phone. A decade ago, a cellphone was simply
a talking device, oftentimes reserved for use in emergencies. Now, it's
a primary communication device, and we needn't tell you just how varied
"communication" can be.
Specifically, CTIA Wireless has reported that US cellphone subscribers
sent 1 trillion text messages in 2008, which was a full three times
more than in 2007; during that time, the same individuals used 2.2
trillion voice minutes, an increase over just 5%. Interestingly, these
same trends aren't necessarily true overseas. In fact, some of Nokia's
simple numeric phones are huge sellers in developing nations where they
can be offered cheaply. We know it may be hard to stomach for those of
you accustomed to texting on that T-9 layout, but it looks like the
days of numeric pad dominance (at least in America) are over.