New keyboards toggle between your computer and iDevice

By on January 16, 2012, 5:30 PM

Although there are plenty of third-party keyboards available for your iPhone or iPad, most conflict with Apple's minimalist philosophy. Folks who require a full size keyboard for their mobile iDevice must clutter their workspace with a second keyboard alongside their primary computer. Solving that problem, Matias recently unveiled three keyboards that allow you to toggle between your desktop and mobile systems.

Priced at $99.95, the Matias "One Keyboard" looks similar enough to your typical rubber dome keyboard with a number pad, media controls on the F keys and the added luxury of a two-port USB 2.0 hub. However, the area above the arrow keys has been gutted to make room for an iPhone cradle. Print screen and other missing buttons exist as secondary keys (the function modifier is positioned left of the arrows).

 

The One Keyboard connects to your computer via USB and to your iGadget via Bluetooth. You can switch between the two with a button on the top bezel. The Bluetooth chip is fully powered via the USB connectivity to your machine, so there are no batteries involved. Both the Mac and PC models (FK301MI and FK301PI) appear to have some controls for your mobile device, such as the ability to adjust screen brightness.

For folks who prefer compact chiclet-style keyboards, Matias offers the $79.95 "Slim One Keyboard." This setup sheds the number pad and the integrated iPhone/iPod touch holder, but lefties might appreciate the external "MiniRizer" stand that allows you to position the handset on either side of the board. You can also adjust the angle of your handset between 15, 25 or 50 degrees, making the screen more visible.

The "Tactile One" is Matias' priciest option at $199.95 and offers similar features to the standard One Keyboard, except its USB 2.0 hub gains an extra port and it has mechanical switches. Instead of Cherry MX switches like most mechanical keyboards today, the Tactile One uses switches by Alps Electric Co., just like the old school Apple Extended and Extended II, which shipped with Macs in the late 80s and early 90s.

In fact, Matias makes modern versions of the Extended boards without the iPhone connectivity called the "Tactile Pro," if you're interested. Like Cherry, Alps makes a broad selection of switch models so we're not sure what's inside the Tactile One. From what we've been able to discern, the Tactile Pro 3.0 uses white Alps switches (clicky and tactile) and logic stands to reason that the Tactile One uses the same parts.

Besides its physical and audible feedback, the Tactile One offers n-key rollover (NKRO), a feature commonly aimed at gamers as it allows them to press any key combo without missing a beat. True NKRO generally requires keyboards to connect via PS/2, whereas USB limits the keyboard to 6KRO (the ability to press six keys simultaneously). Matias doesn't explain this, but again, it seems like a safe assumption.




User Comments: 9

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hahahanoobs hahahanoobs said:

full size keyboard w/number keys to use with a phone? god help us all.

TrueBooleanFals TrueBooleanFals said:

Wow... you gotta be a freakin ***** buy something like this... seriously, WHY!?

Guest said:

as dumb and useless as it may seem, this is the exact reason im going to pay for an early upgrade in august, and upgrade to an iPhone 5 (if its out by then, if not ill wait for it)

its just SO difficult to find accessories for android phones, their seems to be so many of them thrown into the market so often, companies can't seem to keep up.

so it's just easier for them to stick with iDevices which are announced less often.

guess its a win-win!

cliffordcooley cliffordcooley, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Just the thing we need while driving!!

Honestly, I wish we would stop trying to link phones to the keyboard world.

Guest said:

I don't understand why this product has received so much hate in the comments.

Personally, I find it something that will quickly become an essential in my office environment.

When you find yourself dealing with hundred of customers, you tend to find that a large number of them would rather text you than email you. Whatever that reason may be, you have to work around your customer, not the other way around.. so when you're in your office, and you're at your computer, with the nice luxury of typing out emails and suddenly a client texts you, you don't want to have to drop everything to type out a long message on a touchscreen. It's a lot easier to hit a button and look at a different screen.

It is a little over priced in my opinion, but I guess it's reasonable for the bluetooth capabilities as well as the unique concept. Prices will surely come down over time.

slh28 slh28, TechSpot Paladin, said:

$100 for a membrane keyboard??

Sarcasm Sarcasm said:

Guest said:

I don't understand why this product has received so much hate in the comments.

Personally, I find it something that will quickly become an essential in my office environment.

When you find yourself dealing with hundred of customers, you tend to find that a large number of them would rather text you than email you. Whatever that reason may be, you have to work around your customer, not the other way around.. so when you're in your office, and you're at your computer, with the nice luxury of typing out emails and suddenly a client texts you, you don't want to have to drop everything to type out a long message on a touchscreen. It's a lot easier to hit a button and look at a different screen.

It is a little over priced in my opinion, but I guess it's reasonable for the bluetooth capabilities as well as the unique concept. Prices will surely come down over time.

I think they missed the point. It's not for you to take on the road, but its for desktop users who want to be able to switch back and forth between the computer and the iDevice. I personally think it's genius for texting quickly and then switching back to the computer if needed. Heck, someone out there will find a use for this thing. I don't get why people bash such an option. If you don't like the prospect of it, then simply don't buy it.

Arris Arris said:

A phone I had about 5 generations ago allowed me to connect it to the computer and send text messages using the computer keyboard. Why they would want to do this in hardware rather than software is beyond me.

tehbanz tehbanz said:

Arris said:

A phone I had about 5 generations ago allowed me to connect it to the computer and send text messages using the computer keyboard. Why they would want to do this in hardware rather than software is beyond me.

for rooted droids, VNC server (free on market). nuff said... I just plug my phone in (power) when i get to the office, VNC to it and use my mouse to "touch" and then can type with my keyboard.

it's pretty amazing.

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