Mobile phone makers ‘losing their touch’ - survey

23/02/2009

Mobile phone manufacturers risk losing their customers as they race to incorporate touch-screen features into their phones in a bid to copy Apple’s success, according to a new survey. Customer review website, http://www.reevoo.com, asked more than 19,000 buyers of phones to score and assess 226 phones against a range of criteria, including style and function. Reevoo.com’s analysis of feedback from customers shows that 5 out of ten phones in the bottom ten are touchscreen models.

In contrast, only 2 of the top ten phones are touchscreen. The top-rated phone with a score of 8.8 out of ten is the Nokia 5220 xpressmusic. The phone features a conventional key pad. Apple’s iPhone is the highest scoring touchscreen phone with a score of 8.3 out of ten.

Jo Reale, mobile phone category manager from Reevoo.com said: "Manufacturers are keen to jump on the touchscreen bandwagon but most of the current efforts are just not pushing the right buttons for shoppers. We love the look of touchscreen phones, and the ability to watch videos on a large screen, but touchscreen phones are hard to get right and many shoppers are complaining that touchscreen interfaces are just too fiddly."

Reviewers offered the following criticisms of current touchscreen phones:

  • "Touchscreen is a little hard to use if your fingers are not slender and pointy."
  • "The 'virtual' keyboards are rubbish, takes ages to type anything... you could always employ a five year old with small fingers. They should have used a stylus."
  • "Jerky software, not fluid. Crashes often."
  • "If you have nails can be a bit tricky on the keypad as it is heat sensitive and so must be pressed with the finger tip as a nail will not make it work."
  • "I found the touchscreen hard work and the physical 'pressing' was made more difficult by the fact that your finger, however slim or fat, tends to 'spread' when you have to press."

While manufacturers invest millions of pounds and R&D resources into faster mobile web browsers, and more intuitive software, the average consumer is still in the main just looking for a good looking phone.

The most important phone feature is its style, according to respondents, with 15.3% rating style highest. Next most favoured characteristics are being compact (14.1%), having a good camera (10.4%) and being good for music (7.7%). Lowest ranked criteria for customers are web browsing (1.5%) and email functionality (1.2%).

Jo Reale added: "If mobile phone manufacturers want to make an impact in the touchscreen arena, they need to listen to what consumers want and address the issues shoppers have with current touchscreen models."

The top ten phones:
1. Nokia 5220 XPRESSMUSIC
2. Nokia E71
3. Sony Ericsson W595
4. Nokia 2680
5. Nokia 3110 Classic
6. Samsung M150
7. Apple IPHONE3G 16GB - touchscreen
8. LG KC910 Renoir - touchscreen
9. Nokia 6600 Slide
10. Nokia 3600

The bottom ten phones:
1. HTC Touch Diamond touchscreen
2. Sony Ericsson T303
3. Samsung Armani - touchscreen
4. Sony Ericsson C702
5. Nokia 6124 Classic
6. BlackBerry Storm 9500 - touchscreen
7. Samsung i900 Omnia - touchscreen
8. Nokia N96
9. Samsung U600
10. Samsung F490 - touchscreen

Source: http://www.reevoo.com

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