QWERTY and Touchscreen: Better Together?

The much anticipated T-Mobile G1, the HTC-made answer to the iPhone that will run Google’s Android operating system, was announced Tuesday. Like other smart phones before it, the G1 will have both a touchscreen and a physical QWERTY keyboard. When the hyper-popular iPhone already features a virtual touch screen keyboard, does it make sense to offer both a touchscreen and physical QWERTY keyboard to consumers?

According to our data, blending touchscreens and keyboards may be a great way to hedge your bets. As popular as touchscreens may be, interest in QWERTY phones hasn’t fizzled since touchscreen phones have been available.

  • Despite the hype around touchscreen devices like the iPhone and the Instinct, interest in a physical QWERTY keyboard has remained strong, somewhere between 35% and 45% of all handset shoppers. Touchscreen interest is increasing but has generally been in the range of 10-25% of shoppers over the same period of time.
  • Even though consumer interest is strong, QWERTY phones have only made up about 25-30% of carriers’online portfolios.

When considering the recent strong interest in QWERTY phones, and the strong press attention that touchscreen devices have been getting, combining the best elements of the two may be a good play for OEMs and carriers.

We’ll wait and see how the G1 fares in October.

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