What do the BlackBerry Bold 9700, HTC Hero, iPhone 3GS, Motorola Milestone, Nokia N900 and Palm Pre have in common? They’re all cutting-edge phones, they’ve all been written about extensively and none of them feature traditional keypads — the type with twelve keys (pictured).
At the moment there are still plenty of phones with traditional keypads and that’s likely to be the case for some time. Similar to the rotary dial though we think that traditional mobile keypads will become less and less popular, and eventually be completely replaced with full Qwerty or touchscreen alternatives.
Most modern mobile phones deliver a variety of offerings, including video playback, gaming and access to the Web. Instead of rejecting advancements in mobile technology and retreating to phones that just make calls and text, people are lapping them up and in return demanding better ways to access their favourite new features.
The problem with the traditional keypad’s design is that it takes up space which could be used for a larger, more web and video-friendly screen, and unlike a Qwerty keypad isn’t necessarily great for typing out long texts or emails on — we know some predictive text fans will disagree. We admit that predictive text technology, such as T9, is incredibly useful but traditional keypad hardware hasn’t advanced enough to keep up with people’s increasingly complex needs.
In an attempt to please as many people as possible, mobile manufacturers seem to be making more and more devices, such as the Motorola Milestone, which offer both a touchscreen and Qwerty keypad. Whether or not a dual touchscreen and Qwerty system will take off is still unclear but we assume that as more people have access to better features, their desire for better input interfaces will increase and we think that spells extinction for the traditional mobile keypad.