Touch trend affects keypad crowd

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona earlier this week, Digit Wireless seemed happy that the industry is currently obsessed with touchscreen technology for mobile devices. That's not because Digit makes touchscreen technology--far from it. Digit Wireless is the company behind fastap technology, which is an approach to keypad design that integrates a raised set of alpha keys and a lowered set of number keys, supported by error prevention software. Fastap-enabled handsets are geared toward that middle 70 percent--not the emerging market crowd or the BlackBerry toting heavy data user.

Digit Wireless says it has seen a lot of interest since the launch of the iPhone, because consumers, carriers and handset makers are once again looking to provide a better user interface for handsets and touchscreens are too expensive for the mid-range user.

Digit Wireless' new CEO Robert Blumenthal said that touch screen feature phones are sometime limited by the technology. "The Prada phone, for example, is too sensitive," he said. Blumenthal and other Digit executives agree, however, that fastap is targeted at the middle 70 percent of wireless subscribers: Not the upper 15 percent or bottom 15 percent. -Brian