I'm afraid we're stuck with QWERTY. It's too ingrained now to abandon it even though other layouts make more sense. The whole point of it is gone now but the pattern lives on.
I don't believe the new Kobo has a touch screen. Sameer says it's a virtual keyboard you navigate with the buttons.
I'm just hoping that a few of the improvements are firmware-based and trickle down to the original Kobo.