Cell Phone Accessories Input

Octodon seeks a come-from-behind victory in smartphone typing

The iPhone pioneered the idea that  a bigger screen was worth giving up the tiny thumb keyboard that had been the hallmark of the BlackBerry. That idea won in the marketplace. However, it hasn’t stopped people from giving up the idea that a portable device could restore the tactile response of a phycial keyboard.

Octodon may be the most unusual handheld keyboard ever created. After being unfolded from its pocket-friendly flat form factor and placed behind the smartphone magnetically, it appears ti give the smartphone a pair of wings. The user’s fingers cradle the Occtodon, which includes a number of discs to navigate among letters in its keyboard app. Once someone masters the controls needed to input certain keys, the custom keyboard can be hidden for full-screen typing.  The developers seek $150,000 in their Kickstarter campaign by May 15. The device, which costs $145 (with a $20 early bird discount aavailable) is due to ship in October.

The Octodon isn’t the first project that facilitates text input while standing with a rear-facing keyboard. In late 2013, the TrewGrip failed to meet its funding goal but nonetheless made it to market. The Octodon is far smaller than that device, but seems to have an even steeper learning curve. That and its price will loom large as barriers to adoption.

Tech Accessories

Lappito reclaims desk writing space from your laptop keyboard

This may be the perfect item for college students required to attend lots of lectures, and perhaps traveling business professionals. Situations such as these can mean that desktop space is limited, so if a person wants to make notes in a notebook, it can be an annoying hassle. Lappito fits over the keyboard of a standard sized laptop, and has tiny legs that raise it up just enough so that it isn’t touching the keyboard. Seems like it should be easily transportable since it is supposed to fit right inside the laptop bag with the computer. As long as access to the keyboard while making those notes isn’t necessary, this seems like it has the potential to be a rather handy item to have available. This campaign is seeking to raise $38,000 by November 13, 2014. For $20, early bird backers get two Lappitos with free shipping and an expected delivery of January 2015.

Tablet Accessories

Battery-free SleeKeys makes iPad typing less of a pain in the glass

The Premise. One of the iPad’s weaknesses, and perhaps its Achille’s heel, is typing. No matter how Apple tries to frame it, it isn’t fun. Unwieldy and generally imprecise, it isn’t a reliable solution if you actually want to type something of substance. Since its introduction, companies have created a sea of Bluetooth keyboards to address the issue but the vast majority are bulky and drain battery, giving you more problems than you began with. 

The Product. SleeKeys wants to convince you its case/keyboard combination is the only one you’ll ever need, and the product’s features make a strong case. Their keyboard is a Bluetooth-free, variant that utilizes patent-pending technology to interact with the iPad. Since it has no battery, the tactile keyboard never needs to be paired or charged, placing no additional drain on the tablet itself. Weighing only 3.5 ounces and measuring in at a svelte 1/4″ , SleeKeys stows directly behind the iPad when not in use, retaining accessibility for short status updates or long reports. 

The Pitch. SleekTech has spent two years honing the nuances of their flagship product with over 20 prototypes, and their video showcases the results of that work. The remainder of the campaign expands on SleeKeys as a product, its development process, and expected manufacturing schedule. SleekTech is looking for $20,000 to kick production into high-gear for all those interested. 

The Perks. Enterprising individuals can obtain their very own SleeKeys case for just $45 with an early bird special, with the price shooting up to $55 if you miss out. If you like a little more luxury with your innovative keyboards, you can shell out $70 or more to receive a SleeKeys iPad Air case made with real leather. Backers will receive their SleeKeys on doorsteps in December 2014.

The Potential. SleeKeys isn’t the first battey-free typing aid for iPad. Another crowdfunded product, Touchfire’s iPad Keyboard Case, is SleeKey’s most direct competition. These product’s most obvious similarities lie in the versatility they offer users in being able to comfortably type anywhere. Their differences lie in their designs: the SleeKeys keyboard and case combo is a bit heavier than the Touchfire’s version by a few ounces. Although that may not sound like much, every bit of weight alters the iPad’s usability and that matters to the many wanting to keep it as light and thin as possible. Touchfire’s design is also much thinner, making it less intrusive than SleeKeys. But the SkeeKeys seems to offer better key travel and should appeal to those for whom the Touchfire isn’t enough and Bluetooth keyboards are too much.