In the good old days we'd let our fingers do the walking when using the Yellow Pages. These days our fingers do a lot more with our mobile phones.
Touchscreen technology has come along way in the last few years. It was once a technology reserved for high-end PDAs, and now touschscreens are incorporated in a large range of new mobile phones, from the most expensive all the way down to a handful of prepaid models too.
How do you choose the right touchscreen?
Firstly, there are two major touchscreen technologies being used in mobile devices: capacitive and resistive. Capacitive touchscreens work by transferring a small electrical charge from the screen to your finger and detecting the region where the charge is removed. Resistive screens use two extremely thin layers below the glass that are pressed together when the screen is touched. The difference between the two means that resistive screens can be touched with any object, like a stylus, while capacitive screens need to make contact with your body, usually through your finger. In practice we find capacitive screens, like the one used on the iPhone, to be more responsive, though recent resistive screens, like the Sony Ericsson Satio, have shown that well designed resistive displays can be nearly as responsive.
The second important element to consider is the design of the interface used by the manufacturers. Touchscreens demand that the icons are large enough to be pressed with a finger and well spaced enough to avoid accidentally pressing the icons beside it. The phones listed below represent the best of both of these necessities. They all make use of responsive touchscreen displays, while also featuring well-designed, finger-friendly interfaces.