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  • iTwinge Bringing Physical Keyboard To the iPhone

    Image via CNET

    From business persons to hardcore gamers, the lack of a physical keyboard is a problem both for customers who already have the device and those who refuse to get one for this very reason.

    Cool as a touch-screen may be, some folks will never shake their affections for a keyboard. For those individuals, luck would have it that this longstanding problem may soon wind to a close.

    According to The New York Times:
    Toronto-based Mobile Mechatronics said it has built a Blackberry-style physical keyboard that attaches to an iPhone. The keyboard - called iTwinge - has a short kind of sleeve that you slide the phone into. It attaches to the phone’s battery port to draw power for the keyboard. It slides on and off and no special software is required to use it.
    Ironically, this attachment was initially pioneered to help people make the switch from a physical keyboard to the touch-screen keyboard of the iPhone. The exercise was intended to train individuals on where the virtual keys are located and, consequently, "build muscle memory."

    Incredibly, the exited response I received from my iPhone-loving friends was tremendous when I brought up the news about iTwinge. Sad but true, the majority were actually more pumped about this keyboard sleeve that anything Apple announced at their 9/09/09 media event.

    The keyboard will sell for $30 with $5 shipping to the U.S. There are prototypes in beta test now, which have rubber keyboards. The final version will be made of hard plastic.
    Unfortunately, we have to wait until November to get our hands on this thing. Although I'm reluctant to get on board any iPhone
    hardware's bandwagon until I've actually experimented with it, it's understandable why so many ant-iPhone people may now make the jump to Apple just because of this particular development.
    This article was originally published in forum thread: iTwinge Bringing Physical Keyboard To the iPhone started by Michael Essany View original post
    Comments 54 Comments
    1. angiepangie's Avatar
      angiepangie -
      ^Yup pretty much.
    1. santaf's Avatar
      santaf -
      Quote Originally Posted by Grassmasta View Post
      I sure hope they plan on making that ugly thing more aesthetically pleasing. iPhone = Sexy, iPhone + iTwinge = Not even with the lights off...
      would you like it drunk?
    1. BlackedOutMugen's Avatar
      BlackedOutMugen -
      No worky for me. I like the touch screen better
    1. davidmdowning42's Avatar
      davidmdowning42 -
      If it goes directly to the screen, then why does it need power? That makes it beyond too expensive. It's like some kind of mechanical prothesis. Could have come out years ago like Aries said, if that's the case. Why access the dock at all?
    1. mikerlx's Avatar
      mikerlx -
      FAIL and I would just go blackberry If I need the keyboard on my cellphone.
    1. pacmac's Avatar
      pacmac -
      any thing for a buck now a days

      wtf..for hardcore gamers!!!?? can someone tell me what game uses keyboard?? or im just stupid to know?
    1. nimavafi's Avatar
      nimavafi -
      ^+1. So you have to take this off anytime you want to use landscape? Arent most games in landscape?
    1. Melech518's Avatar
      Melech518 -
      Complete fail
    1. Napoleon_PhoneApart's Avatar
      Napoleon_PhoneApart -
      No hardware keyboard for me, thank you.
    1. Grassmasta's Avatar
      Grassmasta -
      Quote Originally Posted by santaf View Post
      would you like it drunk?
      Probably! But I'd wake up with buyers remorse and quickly return it to wherever the hell I picked it up!
    1. thetoothfairy's Avatar
      thetoothfairy -
      This keyboard.... not for me! No way!
    1. StealthBravo's Avatar
      StealthBravo -
      ^ I agree
    1. bbillh77's Avatar
      bbillh77 -
      rather then have it draw batt power put a batt in it to charge
    1. angiepangie's Avatar
      angiepangie -
      I'd rather just type on the virtual keyboard.
      I already got used to it to the point where I can text faster than normal people can type...
    1. Grassmasta's Avatar
      Grassmasta -
      Quote Originally Posted by angiepangie View Post
      I'd rather just type on the virtual keyboard.
      I already got used to it to the point where I can text faster than normal people can type...
      Superfreak @ texting eh? Video or it doesn't happen!
    1. angiepangie's Avatar
      angiepangie -
      By "normal people" I mean those people who type like 25wpm... so annoying to IM with them...
    1. luksoccer's Avatar
      luksoccer -


      now id buy something like that

      hope it works this time

      Imageshack - externalkeyboardiphone
    1. frankydabull's Avatar
      frankydabull -
      Quote Originally Posted by luksoccer View Post


      now id buy something like that

      hope it works this time

      Imageshack - externalkeyboardiphone
      Thats actually along the lines of what I thought a practical model would be. Hopefully the beta testers make good suggestions. Not if it was built into a case that had an external battery like the power slider, then we'd definitely have something good, especially if it "hid". Lets say it folds back and locks in after use quickly and convienantly? Now that would be a deal. But I'm happy with the virtual kb so no worries here, just not the product for me
    1. ZipZapp's Avatar
      ZipZapp -
      Why wouldn't they beta test the actual final product.
    1. keysloser's Avatar
      keysloser -
      Quote Originally Posted by ZipZapp View Post
      Why wouldn't they beta test the actual final product.
      Are you nuts? That's how people make money...hehe
      Lots of suckers gonna buy to test it (the company is actually expecting pre-orders b4 even explaining how it works)

      I wrote a review yesterday on a Greek iPhone site about this (based on material from 5-6 tech sites) and halfway through I realised that we live in the age of Twitter, Facebook and Skype (that use mobile interfaces where the keyboard would be useless and in the way) let alone that we are heading towards full integration of voice commands...So it's like taking a big (and ugly) step backwards.

      Old fashioned sms fanatics might go for it (for the retro feel I guess) but they probably have an old fashioned mobile for that...
      (or a Blackberry... )

      And as angiepangie said, I find I type faster and more precise on the touch screen - which also is much larger in landscape mode...