Virgin Mobile to add touchscreen phones to lineup

Virgin Mobile USA will introduce touchscreen handsets to its lineup as part of a move toward "smarter" phones, Virgin Mobile CEO Dan Schulman said Tuesday.

In an onstage interview at the Dow Jones Wireless Innovations conference, Schulman did not elaborate on what kind of touchscreen phones the company would launch or when it would launch them. However, they are likely to be aimed at Virgin Mobile's core demographic of low- and middle-income subscribers.  

The MVNO has traditionally been a value play, aimed at the 18 to 34 year-old demographic, and as such, has stayed out of the smartphone market since most smartphones are high-end devices, Schulman said. However, Schulman said the potentially explosive growth of smartphones over the next three to five years is something that needs to be watched.

In an interview with FierceWireless earlier this month, Schulman said he thought data and messaging were going to be two of the main drivers for Virgin's growth in 2009. Adding smartphones to the company's lineup would certainly seem to play into that dynamic. 

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