Steep Rise Predicted For Touchscreen Mobile Devices

Michelle Maisto covers mobile devices, Android and Apple for eWEEK and is also a food writer.

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Touchscreen mobile devices are set to enjoy record growth this year, despite some evidence that not all users are entirely happy with their smartphones

More and more users are likely to opt for touchscreen mobile devices, after Gartner predicted that  sales of touchscreen mobile devices in 2010 will grow 96.8 percent over 2009 sales.

The IT resarch firm expects the worldwide touchscreen mobile device market to top 362.7 million units in 2010, an increase of 96.8 percent over 2009 sales of 184.3 million units.

“Touchscreens are no longer the preserve of high-end devices and are now being included in many midrange phones as more companies have been driving the consumer market for affordable touchscreen phones,” Roberta Cozza, a principal research analyst at Gartner, said in a 4 March statement. “As phone capabilities increase, consumers are becoming much more aware of the benefits of touch interfaces, and vendors are responding.”

What the vendors are responding with are touch technologies – both capacitive and resistive – integrated into user interfaces. The Apple iPhone, which which relies on capacitive touch, offers the strongest argument for the technology, which Cozza expects will be the prevailing one.

The Asia/Pacific region has led the way in adapting touch, which Gartner analyst CK Lu explains is because “handwriting is great for Chinese input.” However, due to the size of the markets, Europe currently leads the way, accounting for 49 percent sales, followed by North America, with 46.65 percent. Asia/Pacific, by contrast, is expected to account for 23.4 percent of sales in 2010.

Still, despite these sales numbers, many consumers are reportedly unhappy with their purchases, according to software company Fanfare, which surveyed a small sampling of smartphone users between January and February.

What it discovered is that 57 percent of respondents were “disappointed with the overall performance of their smartphones,” that 53 percent are likely to blame the handset manufacturer for the issues, and that 58 percent have no qualms with using social media to vent their grievances.