However, the original FlyShark keyboard (also known as the iLepo) broke that barrier with a minimalist, affordable four-line keyboard that offered a quality typing experience. After dabbling in smartwatches, the company has come back to Kickstarter with a new FlyShark keyboard that makes addresses a few issues with the original. The company has made the device a bit thinner, strengthened the hinge and given it a bit more traction to stay put on surfaces. The company also promises a more responsive typing experience.
The introduction of touch screen devices necessitated the use of touch screen keyboards, a pretty difficult problem even now. Most people, though, would agree they’re a necessary evil. They can be unreliable for anything more than short notes or messages, take up half the screen they’re being used on, and can’t be felt. For people whose jobs rely on any amount of typing, that last downside is a deal breaker, relegating the touch screen keyboard to the very last option on the list.
Bluetooth keyboards have long been available for these platforms, generally to underwhelming response. They can be too big, or if they’re small enough, they aren’t practical for long typing sessions. WayTools’ TextBlade marries multi-touch functionality with a very physical, tactile typing experience to give users the best of both worlds — all while maintaining an incredibly slim profile with little tricks like a space bar/battery combo to save space. Indeed, the whole combo stacks neatly enough to fit into the coin holder of a jeans pocket.
Utilizing magnets gives the TextBlade its svelte construction along, but what it does best is reduce the standard 70 key QWERTY keyboard to just eight, intelligent multi-touch keys complete with full-finger spacing. The creators insist the keys are smart enough to know exactly what the users intend want to write, but those who purchase it will have to see for themselves. Some may want to take that plunge, while other may want a more certain solution like the FlyShark. The $99 keyboard is compatible with iOS, Android, Mac, and Windows platforms and is shipping on a rolling basis.
The Premise. Although smartphone and tablet keyboards are generally acceptable for writing in short bursts, more involved work ultimately requires the physicality of a Bluetooth keyboard. Unfortunately, many of these keyboards are just badly designed leading to unnecessary typing mistakes, and even the more responsive ones can be bulky, even if they fold.
The Product. Flyshark is a Bluetooth keyboard compatible with iOS, Android, and Windows 8 platforms that keeps a slim profile when folded. When unfolded, each full-size key retains that clicky and tactile experience people expect when they type on a physical keyboard, with a life of an estimated five million button presses per key.
An aluminum alloy shell joined together by composite aerospace plastic makes the keyboard extremely sturdy without adding unnecessary heft to the final 130g product. Flyshark also touts a low power Broadcom Bluetooth chip inside the unit giving it a standby time of 60 hours. With white, black, silver, and gold color options along with the choice of a laser engraved set of words or picture, each Flyshark Keyboard is extremely customizable to suit anyone’s needs.
The Pitch. Flyshark’s Kickstarter page is full of detailed information that can veer into the confusing. The video of the product, although certainly not the best, does a great job explaining what the product is and, more importantly, comparing the Flyshark to other competing products (most notably Microsoft’s Surface keyboard). In the video, you also get the chance to check out the build quality and exactly how impressively small it is. Flyshark is aiming for an influx of $30,000 to both mass produce and market the product.
The Perks. Flyshark is offering the retail product in exchange for a contribution of $55. Increments of $10-$15 give you the choice of different color and engraving options. The product is due to ship in September, which would be a contrast to the painful two-year wait backers of crowdfunded Jorno keyboard have endured.
The Potential. Although foldable Bluetooth keyboards are nothing new, Flyshark’s blend of minimalism and materials looks like a strong alternative to what’s out there. Its size and aluminum alloy construction come together in a slim design that will certainly attract those hankering for a comfortable typing solution on the go without having to entertain novel ways to type.. Travelers, businesspeople and students will have their eye on this one.