RIM intros BlackBerry Mini Keyboard for PlayBook


Now that RIM has managed to sell a decent amount of their BlackBerry PlayBook tablets, it’s time for something a little different.

Check out their newest addition to the PlayBook line of accessories: the BlackBerry Mini Keyboard. It’s roughly the same size as the PlayBook itself, it has a 30-day battery life and can be recharged from any Micro-USB connection including the one that shipped with the PlayBook, and it connects via Bluetooth.

And none of those specs are a reason to buy this $119 keyboard, which by the way, ships with that stylish case pictured above.

No, the real reason you’re going to want this keyboard is the integrated touchpad placed right below the space bar. This one feature not only make using the PlayBook for productivity much better than the tablet on its own, it might just make it the PlayBook the best productivity tablet on the market, period. I say this of course without every having tried the device, but if the description from RIM is accurate, this is the rare exception when an accessory dramatically improves the functionality of the original device.

Consider: The touch pad enables full mouse control when using an app called Citrix Receiver – designed to connect you to a remote Windows machine so you can have complete remote-control of that desktop. This means you can move the PC’s cursor, click by tapping, right-click by two-finger tapping and scroll vertically by swiping up and down on the pad with two fingers.

The result is that, unlike using bluetooth keyboards with the iPad, you no longer have to reach for the PlayBook’s screen when you want to interact with an on-screen element. Basically, it turns the PlayBook into a proper laptop replacement, at least from an ergonomics point of view. The trackpad even works when navigating the PlayBook’s homescreens and apps.

The  BlackBerry Mini Keyboard goes on sale next month for $119, but you can pre-order it now from The Source and save yourself $20.

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4 comments

  1. Jon

    Like I have said before, regarding the ipad the addition of this just goes to prove that the laptop is alive ad well and hiding as a kids toy. The two major manufactures have now admitted that this type of device will never replace the laptop or the pc.

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    • manuel zorro

      totally agree! why nit just stick with a laptop! in fact, laptop manufacturers should have developed the trackpad to simulate touch-screen capability!! If they had done that a while back, there would never have arisen the need for tablets in the first place, ha ha!

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  2. Dan White

    ? Why not just buy a netbook? I have a playbook, and I have a laptop. I can’t imagine why I would bother trying to turn my tablet into a netbook?

    The playbook, is ok…kind of a cool toy… but I would not waste money on accessories for it.

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  3. TN

    For the question about why not just getting a netbook, in my situation, I have a normal-sized laptop and a playbook. Carrying a chunky laptop in a 3hr commute isn’t exactly ideal, hence I’d buy the keyboard. It’d be completely useless for me to buy a netbook instead of the keyboard because I already have the playbook that can function just as well as a netbook. Why would I buy a third device when I can just add to one I already have?

    (Mind you, I’ve had my laptop for almost 3 years now, so it’s obviously much bigger and thicker than the newer laptops out today. It still functions well, but it’s too heavy for me to be carrying around everywhere.)

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