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Touchscreen-only smartphones on the rise

Juniper says nearly three-quarters of smartphones will be touchscreen only by 2016

Manufacturers are increasingly looking to touchscreen-only devices, says Juniper.
Manufacturers are increasingly looking to touchscreen-only devices, says Juniper.

Smartphones with just touchscreen interfaces, rather than those with screen and keypad, will become the norm by 2016, according to a new study from Juniper Research.

The analyst group says that by 2016, shipments of touchscreen-only smartphones will surpass 700 million per year, or 72% of total smartphone shipments, against half of all total shipments in 2010.

The report, Smartphone Evolution Strategies, says that there is a distinct trend away from hard-key-only interfaces towards touchscreen devices.

"Touchscreen displays not only provide a superior user experience for many activities, but free-up space on the device for a larger display: that extra 2 to 3 inches can make a world of difference in the range of activities that can be performed more comfortably on the Smartphone," said Daniel Ashdown, research analyst, Juniper.

Juniper predicts that smartphone shipments will rise from 302 million per year in 2010 to one billion units per year by 2016. Form factors and segments of smartphones are also evolving, with economy smartphones, with a retail price of under $150, set to account for on-third of shipments within five years time, and hybrid devices, that combine smartphone capabilities with a games console, tablet or netbook, also coming to market as vendors look for unique selling points.