On new cell phones, QWERTY keyboard eases out 1-2-3

The Associated PressApril 3, 2009 

— Goodbye, numeric cell phone keypads. You're going the way of the rotary dial. Touch screens and QWERTY keyboards will take over from here, thank you.

At North America's largest cell phone trade show, running this week in Las Vegas, there were few new phones for the U.S. market that had a numerical keypad. Touch screens were out in force.

These changes are a recognition of the popularity of text messaging and wireless Internet use. Industry organization CTIA Wireless, which hosts the show, said U.S. subscribers sent 1 trillion text messages last year, three times the 2007 volume.

According to NPD Group, 31 percent of phones sold in U.S. stores in the fourth quarter of 2008 had full-alphabet keyboards, up from 5 percent two years earlier.

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