4/22/2009 3:53:00 PM
I confess to having written off the Nokia 5800 as a bit of a dud when I first saw it. I take small comfort in more qualified analysts and buyers who took a similar view, notably 3, which decided not to range it at all and is now sitting out the 5800 bonanza. It is the latest arrival to the swelling choice of touch-screen handsets that are proving popular on the high street. Touch-screen has come from nowhere to become the form factor of choice for a mass audience.
Not so long ago, touch-screen was believed to be the preserve of a techie niche, and troublesome for most consumers used to fast text messaging and simple functions. That perception has been shattered, with no small thanks to the iPhone. Four out of the current top five selling handsets are touch-screens: the Samsung J700, Nokia 5800, LG Cookie, Samsung Tocco and LG Viewty.
At the margin-over-volume end of the market, the iPhone continues to be the handset of choice, with the Tocco Ultra, Arena and the upcoming N97 and HTC Magic all touch-screen devices with flagship status. This form factor is borne out of the efficiency of combining the twin needs of consumers: big screen and small overall size. It illustrates the burgeoning demand for mobile internet services, best deployed on large screens.
It also points to two opposing camps. Far East manufacturers LG, HTC and Samsung are at the frontline of touch-screen innovation with such devices making up the bulk of their portfolios. Meanwhile, Nokia and Sony Ericsson appear more cautious about the form factor. Sony Ericsson’s impressive (but with no touch-screen) upcoming W980 will be a test to see how big the touch-screen market really is, and how far, not to mention how quickly, the mainstream has turned its back on anything but touch-screen.