Touchscreen smartphones are the thing in the U.S. this year, with sales growing so rapidly it would give the Ares I-X  a run for its money. And next year the pace of the change is going to be even faster. Welcome to the touchscreen era .
Comscore's data looks at the three months ending August of this year versus the same period last year, and the numbers pretty much speak for themselves: Among U.S. smartphone subscribers aged 13 and over, some 33.8 million owned regular push-button smartphones, against 23.8 million owning touchscreen ones. While that data looks stacked in favor of regular push-button phones, check out the growth rate. Smartphone ownership grew a whopping 63% over last year, proving this is the smartphone age all right--dumbphone sales simply can't compete with that growth. And touchscreen smartphone sales exploded 159% at the same time, which is incredible.
The launchpad for this explosive growth is the iPhone, of course, with 33% of the market share. LG's Dare and Voyager, somewhat surprisingly came in second and third with 8.7% and 7.8% of the market, BlackBerry's  Storm was next at 7% and Android only gets a 7th place rank with just 3.6% share for the T-Mobile G1. This, with the exception of LG's devices, tallies roughly with experience--you often see someone with an iPhone in public, and the Storm's a pretty regular sight too. It also makes sense when you see how much more capable these units are as convergent devices than regular smartphones (a fact reflected in dropping single-use iPod sales), with the touchscreen facilitating game-playing, movie-watching, and so on--much more capably than non-touch smartphones. And with prices dropping, they're penetrating even more of the market.
The trend is most definitely going to continue in this direction. There's a hoard of Android phones about to hit, and Qualcomm (which makes much of the high-tech jiggery pokery that goes into advanced mobile phones) is predicting that next year there will be a step-change in pricing. The average sale price for the chipsets inside smartphones drops roughly 3% per year, as economies of scale and increasing expertise kick in. But next year the company sees a "substantially higher" drop likely. It's also predicting that the Snapdragon processor, in smartphones like Sony Ericsson's X10, will really take off--thanks to its significantly higher power and better graphics performance.
With news like this, all those nay-sayers who think the iPhone and its ilk aren't worth it will have to change their tune. Mobile phones have come a long way since their birth, and we've already moved from the analog into the digital era. What on Earth is the next era going to be? 3-D displays?
[Via FT.com ]