I admit it — Before iPhone 3.0, I used to curse my iPhone every time I had a long-ish email to send on the go. My fingernails always got in the way. My thick-thumbed husband fared no better. Sure, the new software update made living la vida landscape possible, which really helped, but I still found myself admiring the hardware keyboard on my friends’ BlackBerries.
Well the iTwinge QWERTY slide-on keyboard presumably fills the gap. But, I have to ask, at what price? I mean, look at the thing. That is some powerful ugly.
Like putting orthopedic shoes on a runway model, I’d hesitate to saddle my sleek, minimalist phone with this baggage. But my longing for a real keyboard could win out. It all depends on whether this lives up to the promise of easier and more accurate data entry.
From the looks of it, the iTwinge cover seems to match the virtual keys below, which are triggered when the user taps on the corresponding physical buttons. Interesting concept, but this implementation covers nearly half the phone’s screen. To get it out of the way of other functions and apps, Mobile Mechatronics (the maker of iTwinge) made it simple and quick to slip on and off. There’s no battery to charge or bog the accessory down, so it weighs just 1 ounce.
It does draw a little of the iPhone’s precious (and limited) power, but the company promises it’s not much. There’s also no software required to run it, and, the maker claims, the iTwinge can help average users type faster by 30 to 40 percent, and minimize errors by 70 to 80 percent.
Mobile Mechatronics is positioning this as a training tool for people crossing over from physical keyboard–equipped phones to the iPhone. It even developed an iPhone app — which is waiting for approval — to help "users build muscle memory & improve typing skills."
Interesting. But I can’t help but wish they had saved the effort of developing an iPhone app and put it into the hardware design instead.
Maybe in the next version. As for this one, the iTwinge, which is compatible with the 3G and the 3G S, has opened for pre-orders. Shipping starts November 17, and the price is $29.99.