Apple starts touchscreen frenzy

8 Apr 2008

Apple’s iPhone has sparked demand for touchscreen phones and this segment of the handheld market will reach 178 million shipments by 2011, according to analyst firm MultiMedia Intelligence.

“The major handset vendors have heard the battle cry of Apple and have responded,” said Frank Dickson, chief research officer, MultiMedia Intelligence. “The touchscreen interface is here to stay, as it is a tremendous innovation in handsets.

“However, it is not perfect. It is not ideal for all usage paradigms. Qwerty keyboards, sliders and plain old standard keyboards have their fans as well. Additionally, touchscreens add considerable expense to the handset bill of materials.”

Despite these shortcomings, MultiMedia Intelligence expects shipments of touchscreen phones to jump to 178 million by 2011 – in 2007 they were described as a “rounding error”. When it comes to feature innovation, the company likens the adoption of touchscreens by handset manufacturers to the introduction of camera phones.

Sony Ericsson, Samsung, Sprint, LG, HTC and Nokia all demonstrated new touchscreen phones at the CTIA Wireless industry event in Las Vegas this week.

According to MultiMedia Intelligence, the loudest message at the conference may have been sent by Motorola, which failed to provide any new, innovative mobile handsets designs.

“All the major vendors except Motorola seem to have answered the iPhone challenge,” MultiMedia Intelligence reported.

By Niall Byrne