And despite the obvious success of the iPhone, the stylus isn't dead - more's the pity - according to analysts.
Apple's phone has a marvellous screen, but that sort of touch screen is not the wave of the future, we are told.
It is a capacitive touch screen, activated by the fingers' electrical charge, while previous devices have tended to use resistive ones, that requires physical pressure. Despite the iPhone's success, most touchscreen phones are going to stick with the resistive method, according to analysts at ABI Research.
The capacitive method is splendid, in allowing multi-touch, and the clever user tricks of the iPhone interface. But it has limitations, says a release from ABI research director Kevin Burden: "The reality is that existing operating systems, legacy applications, and regional aspirations make the change to capacitive screens for many devices very challenging," he says.
He has three reasons:
Firstly, the iPhone was a new platform, and all the other platforms (except Android) have a big legacy of applications, all designed to use a stylus. Capacitive touchscreens don't work with a stylus.
Redesigning the user interface is one of the most underestimated parts of bringing a phone to market, and a big change to an existing platform would only be taken on after a lot of thought.
Apart from anything else, there is backward compatibility to consider. If Symbian (say) produced a capacitive screen version, then application developers would have to tweak applications to work on both versions, and Symbian prides itself on letting developers ship applications across a broad range of devices.
Secondly, there's basic cost. Resistive screens are much cheaper.
But the third reason, which Burden says is the most significant, is the fact that phones are designed for global markets. And countries in Asia very often rely on stylus input for text. Characters for Chinese, for instance can't be input easily on a capacitive screen or a QWERTY keyboard, but can be written with accuracy using a stylus.
That's exactly the reason Nokia gave for equipping its 5800 XpressMusic phone with a resistive touchscreen.
Blackberry's Storm, meanwhile has multi-touch (as well as fancy haptic feedback which has proven a little controversial). It's aiming more for the US and European market anyway, putting it in the same space as the iPhone, while Nokia is aiming wider.
So, ABI concludes - I think rightly - in a long study called Touch Screens in Mobile Devices, that we might see more high-end capacitive screens, but midrange systems will still have resistive screens, and styluses. I'm not overjoyed, as I hate styluses. Nasty fiddly things that turn a one-handed device into one that needs two or even three, when they haven't got lost.
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