iPhone Touch Screen is Showing the Way

Consumers like the convenience of tapping a screen

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The iPhone 3G.
The iPhone 3G.

It's all about touch, it seems. The iPhone's intuitive touch screen has made Apple's once-nervy goal of selling 10 million iPhones this year now look laughable. The company blew through that mark after a boffo third quarter, selling 6.9 million of the handsets in those three months alone, say analysts at Canalys. Next comes the holiday-pumped fourth quarter.

Apple displaced the touchless BlackBerry in second place for worldwide smart phone sales. Research in Motion sold 6.1 million BlackBerrys. Nokia retained its long running leading spot. But it has been slow to get a modern touch-screen phone to market, and is the only major maker to see smart phone sales actually fall.

Further proof on how much we like finger-smudged displays: A Canalys survey suggests three quarters of consumers want a screen they can tap, at least in the European countries where the marketing firm surveyed.

Touch alone won't bring market dominance. Handsets powered by Microsoft, with tap-powered phones sold by a variety of makers, rose 14 percent in the quarter. But that trailed the overall market, which saw smart phone sales jump 28 percent.

RIM could recapture second place this quarter. The company is releasing new phones after some delays, Canalys notes, including this week's Bold and the upcoming BlackBerry Storm -- with its touch screen.