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Gadgets & Gizmos

From the staff of the Tampa Bay Times

These keyboards may tempt you to leave your laptop at home

23

September

The more I use my iPad the more I realize how capable it is for most daily tasks. For blogging, email, Facebooking (that should be a word now), tweeting, web surfing and pretty much anything that has to do with Internet access it's great. The built-in touch keyboard works well but for me it still doesn't feel natural to type on a piece of glass. I need a keyboard with keys that respond to my touch.

Apple has the iPad Keyboard Dock which is nice, but it's not something you can easily carry in a travel bag with your iPad. Luckily some better solutions are starting to surface.    

The Jorno folding Bluetooth keyboard folds to just 3.5-inches square and 0.9-inches thick and weighs just 8.8 ounces. It runs on a rechargeable lithium-ion battery and is said to run for up to a month without recharging. Made to be used with a variety of different mobile devices, it connects through Bluetooth. It's available for preorder now for $79 and is not scheduled to ship until early 2011, so you might not want it on your holiday list.

Jorno 1      Jorno 2

I didn't want to wait for the Jorno so I went looking for other solutions and found the Micro Innovations, folding Bluetooth keyboard ($60). It folds to 4.5 by 3-inches and only .75-inches thick. Powered by one AAA battery, it also comes with a stand for phones and smaller devices and although it does work with the iPad the stand is not large enough to support it. I have a separate stand for the iPad and packaged with this keyboard everything is very portable and works extremely well.

Micro Innovations 1      Micro Innovations 2

Specifically for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4, ThinkGeek has released the TK-421 iPhone Case with Flip-Out Keyboard ($50). This may be the answer for iPhone users (me) who are constantly taunted (me) by their Blackberry-loving (not me) friends. It does look like a cool way to have a physical keyboard but I'm not sure it's worthe extra bulk. It's a ThinkGeek-designed exclusive and to get one you need to get on their email notification list. It's supposed to ship in November.

e66e_iphone_case_with_keyboard_grid.jpg

With Apple reporting that iPads are now outselling laptops we can expect more accessories like these in the future. Analysts also predict other tablets will soon replace the popular Netbooks. So we may see a trickle-down effect where laptops will become the desktop computers and tablets will become the laptops. Honestly, if I didn't do so much video editing I could probably leave my MacBook Pro home a lot of the time now.

[Last modified: Thursday, September 23, 2010 12:31pm]

    

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