While the iPhone is certainly not the first touch screen-based mobile phone on the market, it has raised users' expectations on how we interact with our technology and the impact will be a lasting one. More than a phase, ABI's recent research believes 100 million mobile phones sold next year will have touch screens, and up to 500 million by 2012.
Shailendra Pandey, ABI Research analyst, said, "Handsets with intuitive user interfaces allow quick and easy access to various applications and services and can result in higher ARPUs for mobile operators by generating greater usage of their value-added services. Mobile operators are therefore keen to promote and market handsets with good UI on their networks. A good handset UI is important not just to meet and exceed users' expectations," notes Pandey, "but also to support fast and flexible design changes, operator customizations, and late software distribution, while maintaining low demands on the hardware."
I am not sure that having a touch screen automatically means a phone has a good UI, but it can help.
In response to the iPhone, both Nokia and Motorola have said that touch screens will be incorporated into their 2008 product lines. Other manufacturers, such as LG, Samsung, HTC and Sony Ericsson already have touch screen phones available.