I was reading a great article from The Verge on the death of the QWERTY keyboard in modern smartphones. In there they have the quote:
I wasn’t totally buying that the world abandoned the idea of physical keyboards overnight. It seemed more likely to me that the cellular industry never gave them a choice.
Whether based on consumer demand (which the author doubts) or due to manufacturing/cost requirements the market did shift overnight against QWERTY keyboards on modern smartphones. I can attest to being a keyboard person for years with the G1 and G2. An Android phone with a keyboard was my exact specification that both met. But something happened while I was using the G2, I found myself not using the keyboard even when responding to emails. The more comfortable I grew with the touchscreen the less the keyboard mattered.
But this is really more a lesson for every industry out there. Sometimes the ground you find yourself standing on moves suddenly and unexpectedly for seemingly no logical reason. There was no clear reason that phones with QWERTY keyboards should no longer be manufactured but none-the-less they disappeared quickly.
When events like that happen you can either ignore the tide and try to forge on with differentiation or you can move with it. However, you cannot pretend the change did not take place. A shift is necessary even if it is to consciously decide to make no change.