In what appears to be a fairly informal survey, Nokia has discovered that mobile users prefer a keyboard over any other data input methods. Nokia conducted the survey on its blog and apparently got enough feedback to be able to determine that while users in the United States are partial to touchscreens, the rest of the world would rather use a QWERTY keyboard. In fact, the stats are almost mirror images.
48.64% QWERTY Keyboard
33.3% QWERTY Keyboard
In case you’re wondering, the other options presented in the survey were numerical keypad and voice command.
Here’s a bit more about the survey, from Gigaom:
The results are a little surprising to me although it’s difficult to put too much stock in them. Nokia doesn’t say how many poll responses it received and let’s face it: Nokia was among the last to adopt full touchscreens on its phones and didn’t seem to want to bulk up many prior models with full QWERTY keyboards. Instead, it relied upon numeric keypad entry for the bulk of its devices in efforts to keep devices smaller.
So while you would assume that the majority of survey participants are Nokia users (the survey was conducted on Nokia’s blog after all) it doesn’t appear that they are defaulting to the features Nokia itself tends toward.
To read more about the survey and its results, check out the Gigaom article >>>
This does bring up an interesting implication though. If the results are true and users outside the US prefer physical keyboards, that will effect how apps work in different target markets. Whether your initial target market is outside the US or you’re localizing a pre-existing app, be sure to test using both touchscreens and keyboards.