Nokia poll finds consumers prefer keyboards on smartphones

Summary:The smartphone market place is awash with touchscreen-only devices, but a new Nokia poll suggests that might be misleading.

Nokia still isn't giving up on QWERTY keyboards for smartphones -- at least not based on a new poll conducted by the Finnish phone maker.

In a recent online poll, Nokia asked participants to vote on their preferred input method: QWERTY keyboard, touchscreen, number keypad, and voice command.

Although Nokia did not include an estimate as to how many people actually participated in the poll, approximately 48.64 percent of respondents went with QWERTY keyboard, while touchscreens lagged by nearly 15 percent.

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Boc Ly explained on the Nokia Conversations blog where the results were published that "the Qwerty keyboard is the input method that we are most familiar with" and that "there is the satisfying haptic feedback you get from using a keyboard with proper buttons."

On the contrary, about touchscreens, Ly argued, "The touchscreen is fantastic for looking at photos, browsing the web and watching video, but is it really that good for typing?"

These assertions are quite surprising for a number of reasons. First of all, most of the marketplace has shifted towards touchscreens. At a certain point, that has to be reflective of what consumers want because that is what they are buying the most.

The only mobile OEMs that still dedicate so much effort towards handhelds with keyboards are likely Nokia and RIM -- and we have seen all too well how much those companies have suffered in the last couple of years. (Although, it should be acknolwedged that touchscreens vs. keyboards are not only at fault here. Certainly RIM's efforts with touchscreen-only devices like the BlackBerry Storm haven't panned out either.)

Furthermore, Nokia's been trying to revamp itself by relying on the promotion of two new touchscreen devices: the Nokia Lumia 800 and 900.

However, these are interesting findings, suggesting there is still room left for QWERTY keyboards rather than digital keyboards if smartphone manufacturers can find a way to make them work.

Screenshot via The Nokia Conversations blog

Topics: Smartphones, Nokia

About

Rachel King is a staff writer for CBS Interactive based in San Francisco, covering business and enterprise technology for ZDNet, CNET and SmartPlanet. She has previously worked for The Business Insider, FastCompany.com, CNN's San Francisco bureau and the U.S. Department of State. Rachel has also written for MainStreet.com, Irish Americ... Full Bio

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