New research from Strategy Analytics Wireless Device Lab investigating form factor and input preferences has found that mobile phone owners in the US and Western Europe continue to show greatest interest in a slate form factor for their next mobile phone. In both regions over 70% of respondents are interested in a slate - an increase of 13 points over the past year in the US.

The recently published report, 'Slate Form Factor Continues to Dominate but Smartphone Intenders Not Yet Ready to Give Up Physical Keys' also found that interest in a clamshell form factor continues to decline, dropping by over 50 points in the last 5 years.

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In terms of input preference, a touchscreen only based input method is most appealing overall, although in the US a touchscreen and full-QWERTY combination is also highly desired. Interest in touchscreen only input has risen over time, especially in the US where it was only the third ranked input mechanism in 2010. Over the same time period interest in a 12-key input mechanism has dropped considerably in both the US and Western Europe.

There are a number of big differences between the form factor and input preferences of different segments:

  • Existing smartphone owners, many of whom will already have touchscreen only devices, show strong interest in a slate form factor and touchscreen only input.
  • Smartphone intenders in the US exhibit signs that they may not yet be ready to give up a physical keyboard as they make the transition to their first smartphone. More of this segment would choose a touch and QWERTY combination than touch only.
  • Smartphone rejecters still favor `traditional' bar or clamshell form factors with a 12-key input, although in Western Europe there is modest interest in a vertical slider or slate form factor.

The full report is available to Strategy Analytics' Wireless Device Lab clients or for purchase here.

- Paul Brown