While text messaging continues to be the top motivating feature for mobile phone buyers, American consumers are increasingly purchasing handsets with touch screens or QWERTY keyboards, according to the latest report from The NPD Group.
The report found all 10 of the top-selling mobile phones purchased in the fourth quarter of 2009 came with a touch screen, a QWERTY keyboard, or both.
"Regargless of whether they opt for a data plan, consumers want richer user interface options," said Ross Rubin, executive director of industry analysis at NPD.
"The humble keypad is losing the race to optimize a handset's surface."
Based on U.S. consumer purchases of mobile phones in Q4, the top 10 handsets were:
1. RIM BlackBerry Curve (all 83XX models)
2. LG enV3
3. Apple iPhone 3GS (both models)
4. Apple iPhone 3G
5. Motorola Droid
6. LG enV Touch
7. RIM Blackberry Tour
8. Samsung Intensity
9. Samsung Solstice
10. Samsung Impression
In Q4 2009 Apple, LG and RIM all declined in unit share, and Motorola's Droid, even with its mid-quarter launch, was the fifth most purchased mobile phone in the U.S.
NPD also found that 46 percent of phones sold in Q4 had QWERTY keyboards (compared to 31 % in 2008) and 34 percent had touch screens (compared to 20% the prior year.)