Touchy about touchscreen phones
By Aravind Ramachandran | ENS | Published: 21st August 2013 11:23 AM |
Everyone wants to have a good phone. But the words ‘good phone’ mean different things to different people. To some people, a good phone is one that keeps them connected to their social networks, while to some others it is one that offers excellent call clarity. To others, it may be all about looks and the brand value a phone offers to its owner. Some others define good phones as one that fits within their budget, while a large group of people opt for a phone that is simple to use and doesn’t confuse them when all they need to do is take or make a call. But, scattered among all these groups is a unique sub-group, which hates touchscreen phones, no matter how useful they are, how much they cost or how elegant they may look.
What are the common complaints people have about touchscreen phone? Many users say that touchscreen phones are useless in an emergency when you have to make a phone call with wet fingers. The same goes when you are at the gym, sweaty and just finished a phone call - the screen will be covered in sweat, making it tough to dial a new number. And there are a lot of people who miss the physical response you get from a conventional keypad phone.
While touchscreen phones do offer a light vibration as feedback, some people feel it isn’t the same, especially if you are not looking at the screen while typing.
What this really means is that there is a market (probably not very big, but it exists) for smartphones without touchscreens. Let me tell you, not many models are available in our part of the world. The first name that would come to my mind was Blackberry, which have some terrific smartphones that work with QWERTY keypads. I had a Curve model which served me well for a couple of years, although I may not have explored the full potential, and it was certainly a boon when I wished to keep a round the clock connection to my business emails. After all, that is exactly how Blackberry built their initial customer base. But once Android phones became all the rage, and iPhones captured the ‘upper class’ in a sense, everyone was reading emails on their smartphones. But the true impact of the Android dominance was that everyone got so used to smartphones of that category that going back to a non-Android phone became almost unthinkable.
This meant that whether you like touchscreen phones or not, you’d better get used to them if you wanted to use Android. If not, your options are very much limited. Samsung Galaxy Chat is one, and so is Sony’s Xperia Pro. But then, these are touch-n-type phones, which means they have a touch screen as well as a QWERTY keyboard. Nokia has a decent range of phones with QWERTY keyboards, but then they don’t run Android. In fact, when I walked into a couple of retail stores and asked for smartphones without touchscreens, I was lead to an array of Nokia QWERTY phones, mostly dual SIM.
Blackberry is still a good option for a smartphone with a keypad, but a lot depends on your budget. However, most of the models are in the expensive range, falling over the 30,000 mark. The basic Curve models are priced below `10,000 so those are certainly worth looking at.
I must disclose, I used to be not very fond of touchscreen phones, until I chanced upon the Lumia. I bought it for a different reason, and found it to be different from what I hated about most touchscreen phones. So before you decide you are not going to buy another touchscreen phone ever again, it is worth testing out a few which are widely accepted to be good, just to make sure you aren’t a victim of a wrong impression.
Perhaps you have been using some of the not-so-good touchscreen phones so far, and experiencing a good touchscreen phone may make you change your mind. (aravind.r@ newindianexpress.com)