Best Argument: Thumbs-up
Audience Favored: Thumbs-up (80%)
Style doesn't always transform into efficiency
We technology pundits love change (not only because it gives us new things to write about, but because we love to play with new things), but the user backlash against Windows 8 has shown that users are far more conservative, especially if change means that they have to learn new skills and unlearn old habits.
While there's little doubt that physical keyboards on mobile devices are on the way out, touchscreen technology still has a long way to go before it is as user-friendly as the mechanical QWERTY system introduced in the late 1800s. While it is easy to replicate the familiar QWERTY layout on a touch screen, recreating the tactile feel is still a long way off.
Touch screen systems might be modern and stylish, but style doesn't always transform into efficiency and we'll continue to see QWERTY for some time to come
Physical QWERTY keyboards on the way out
I was smoked in the voting for this debate and realize there was a bit of confusion by the readers since it was a debate about physical vs touch QWERTY rather than a debate about the technicalities of QWERTY as a smartphone keyboard layout. I think we can all agree, no matter how passionate many folks still are, that physical QWERTY keyboards are on the way out.
Verizon has them on Droids and BlackBerry has the Q10 and there are still many feature phones to satisfy the QWERTY fan. If Apple ever came out with a hardware QWERTY iPhone or Samsung with another Galaxy Android line then we might see it stick around for a bit, but the touchscreen has taken over and QWERTY is now seen as "old school."
I still keep a couple QWERTY smartphones around because I do enjoy banging away on physical keys from time-to-time. Just don't tell Adrian.
Physical keyboards still have a market
I'll go with the crowd on this one. Physical keyboards still have a diminished role. Both Miller and Kingsley-Hughes made good cases, but in the end Adrian had a few better points. Touchscreens dominate but physical keyboards still have a market. The big question is how long that market will last.