Sep 9, 2010

The magic of touch

The market for touch phones is booming, in India and across the globe. Most handset vendors who are riding this trend should be thankful to Apple, who with their iPhone created a market for this category by making the product aspirational both for the geek as well as the style conscious customer.

Surprisingly, touch phones have been around for some time, with the earliest variants being launched as early as late 1990s. The tech savvy customer in India would recall the Sony Ericsson P800, which when launched in 2004, had started a trend that other vendors like Nokia and Samsung were to follow. Why is the category so successful? Perhaps the reason lies in the subconscious behaviour of humans. To touch is more intuitive and hence we feel comfortable with touch screens on mobile phones.

Two important factors contributed to the boom of touch phones. The first is the sizeable improvement of hardware that allowed faster phones, with more-sensitive screens capable of higher resolution to take care of the increasing display size. In customer speak, this allowed the touch phones to be larger in size, and hence allowing better viewing experience. Secondly, the user interface (UI) became more dynamic with the evolution of capacitive screens versus the earlier resistive screens. In plain speak, the former allows the human finger to navigate while the latter needed a stylus. Surfing the phone is now much easier and fun. In fact, along with QWERTY phones, touch phones are becoming the choice for the younger customer.

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