the 12-key numeric keypad appearing on 95% of all handsets shipped,
it is easy to take input interface technologies on the mobile
phone for granted. However, it is the handset's physical input
interfaces through which users accomplish their fundamental data
entry and Command & Control tasks, such as entering characters
to construct text messages or navigating through the device's
menu system and launching applications. Keypads
and jog dials
the main interfaces delivering these capabilities today. But as
the handset feature-set continues to expand and the number and
variety of applications on a phone grows, the mechanisms for interacting
and controlling them are put under ever-greater strain: the need
for application-specific controls and shortcuts is increased while
the user demand for ease of use has never been greater.
This report examines the current state of input interface technologies
on mobile phones and provides a view of how input technologies
and methods will evolve over the coming years, up to 2011. ARCchart
examines interfaces falling under three categories: interfaces
for data entry, Command & Control and control surfaces. It discusses
the benefits which improved interfacing deliver to the main value-chain
players - operators, manufactures and end users - and profiles
the various technology vendors providing innovative interface
solutions for mobile phones.
Topics of coverage include:
- A history of input interfaces on handheld devices
- Input mechanisms delivering value to operators and OEMs
- How language differences impact data entry
- Keypad augmentations aimed at boosting the ease and speed of text entry
- How predictive text is evolving
- Mini-keyboards and email-centric devices
- Soft interfaces: on-screen keypads, keyboards and controls
- Assessment of end user reaction to new and modified interfaces
- The increasing use of control surfaces to substitute buttons, keypads and scroll wheels
- The challenges of voice recognition
- The importance of minimising posture-shifting
- 5-way navigation using fingerprint sensors
- Capacitance detection versus resistive technology
- Finger-driven versus stylus-driven user interfaces
- Interface BOM impact and potential cost savings
Companies mentioned, discussed or reviewed include:
Lumio (formerly VKB Inc)
Quantum Research Group
Answers and opinions are provided with respect to the following
- What criteria must an interface technology meet to be viable on a handset?
- How do text entry speeds compare across the various input interfaces?
- How will Asian logographic languages drive handset input features in this region?
- What are the interfacing roles for haptics?
- Where is handwriting recognition heading?
- What can speech recognition currently achieve on a handset, and what will be achievable in five years?
- Will the Nintendo Wii catalyse motioning sensing on the mobile phone?
- Are handset trackballs here to stay?
- What is the market opportunity for fingerprint sensor?
- How will mobile gaming influence the integration of interface technologies?
- What are the advantages and disadvantages of soft interfaces and is an all-soft interface phone likely?