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.
It’s been just over a year since we learned about a company called Celluon and their nifty laser-keyboard product. But at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show we finally got a chance to try the technology for ourselves. Does it work? Yes – it does. In fact, depending on the surface onto which your project the keyboard, the experience can feel exactly the same as using the soft keyboard on most touch screen devices. The big advantage of course is that you don’t have to give up screen real-estate on your phone or tablet, and you don’t have to lug around a bulky bluetooth keyboard – just Celluon’s Magic Cube.