Thursday, 25 June 2009

Qwerty keyboards rule for SMS. Watch out touchscreens!

I know everyone loves the iphone but as Tomi T Ahonen reminds us in his epic essay (but is well worth the read), iphone is 1% of the global mobile market and its not SMS friendly. Is he right? Well, yes.

I was at the Nokia conference last December in Barcelona when a VP with Finnish name (not surprisingly) announced the N97. During the course of a good launch presentation, he wowed the audience with touchscreen controls, widgets and all Nokia's wonderful new mobile services. BUT what he kept right to the end was the qwerty keyboard. I remember his saying (and I paraphrase here) "you cannot beat a qwerty keyboard for messaging" and tadaaaaaaaaa the giant N97 on the giant screen behind him started to split before our eyes and yes, a simple qwerty keyboard emerged! (some from Slashphone has kindly uploaded images from that presentation)

Tomi Ahonen's article is a historical perspective on the importance of messaging, the role it places on keyboard design and the resulting success of a device i.e. people like phones which are messaging friendly. He points out Nokia are the kings of SMS and Samsung have worked hard to follow suit. Check the link to the leaked Samsung roadmap showing the T559: yes it looks guff and yes its not for me (device target demographic is probably teen or student girls) but its a messaging know for these young "social communicators"!

Thank the lord. Touchscreen's look good but for SMS messaging (the killer app on a mobile) touchscreen's suck. Oh, and using a stylus ain't cool either!

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