Wednesday, May 04, 2005

Is that a keyboard in your pocket, or...

Eleksen's Bluetooth portable fabric keyboard

What the christ? Keyboards are getting pretty funky. Check out Eleksen's new Bluetooth portable fabric keyboard originally found here. Score big geek points when you roll this sucker out on the subway to type a nice long text message to your sweetie, or watch as the guy in the business suit rolls it out and clumsily tries to type with it on his lap.

Now Eleksen is an interesting company, mainly for their devotion to "its ability to replace existing hard componentry with a soft alternative", which translates into "we want to make everything squishy". I admire that in a weird sort of way. Squishy things are nice sometimes, but probably not for keyboards.

From a usability standpoint, I see a lot of people trying to use these keyboards with difficulty as they fumble for a hard enough surface on which to lay the sucker down to start typing. Sure you might have a book or something which you could use as a hard surface, but I thought the reason this keyboard was so great was because it can roll up to take up very little space. Whatever hard flat thing you plan on using as a surface is going to take up that much room if you are bringing it with you.

Another stumbling block is that these type of keyboards don't have tactile button depression, which means that there will be a lot of adjusting to do for anyone who is used to a hard keyboard. Feeling the give of a hard keyboard key under your finger signals that you have successfully typed something, which is very different from a soft keyboard with it's far less noticeable key sensors.

Finally, does anyone really want to type something while looking at a 2.5 by 4 inch screen? That's hardly optimal, and I can only imagine this working if you hunched over the keyboard, face to the PDA/cell phone screen, and with eyes squinted. Now, if that if the sight of someone in that position doesn't scream "geek", then I don't know what does.


Anonymous someone said...

this is old news... came out a few yrs back...

5/04/2005 03:55:00 PM  

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