Should touch screen smart phones have buttons at all?
I have used so many smart phones from when HTC did windows phone, actually who remembers the old HP Compaq touchscreen windows mobile phones that needed some stabbing from the thick stylus that comes with it.
So I havent been thinking for a while, every manufacturer who makes a fully touch interactive handset always put their own twist to what buttons are provided, from Apple only having one home button, HTC having capacitive touch buttons one for multitasking view alone ,some having dedicated search button and RIM giving Blackberry users extra button just to return to previous apps or options.
The question I have in mind is why do they need to include so manny buttons for pointless purposes that could have been replaced with gestures, I mean gestures is not a new thing with Smart phones and should be the thing of the norm by now. The return button could be replaced with some sort of swipe gesture, the multitasking button could be replaced with a double tap gesture.
If you have played with the Blackberry Playbook or seen some tweaks jailbreakers of the iPhone devices have been able to implement, you will see that it is actually possible to run you smart phone with no buttons at all and once you get used to the like of how the Playbook works, I can’t help but turn on my iPhone or Blackberry smart phone and trying to do the gestures. I know I am talking about Smart phones but I do the same after few hours with my MacBook Pro then trying to do the same double finger scroll gesture on a windows laptop.
So over to you, should they have buttons or if they do how many buttons and what would be the most important button if you were to have one? or should they be configurable as well?