“Hoping to appeal to those who like their iPhones but don’t like typing on them, the 4iThumbs2, from 4iConcepts, places a thin plastic film above the keyboard; ridges on the screen define the area of each virtual key,” Eric A. Taub reports for The New York Times. “The ridges fall between each key, not on top of them. When typing, the ridges help guide your finger into the correct location, rather than slip off to the left or right, which might otherwise result in a word like hello turning into hellp.”
Taub reports, “The overlay is held in place by its own iPhone bumper, similar to the ones supplied by Apple; the overlay and bumper together cost $29.95 at the company’s Web site. You slip the overlay into the bumper frame; when you don’t need it, for example while playing a video game, you slip it out and put it in the frame facing the back of the phone.”
“Unfortunately, the overlay didn’t stay flat on the phone; instead, it buckled up a bit in the center, which meant that each time you pressed a key, the overlay first got pressed against the phone’s screen, adding an unpleasant feel to the underlying hardware. It’s as if the plastic tint on your car’s window no longer adhered tightly to the glass,” Taub reports. “The company says the lack of flatness has mostly been solved in the actual production units, but ‘you will still have some raise on the panel,’ said Gerald Rosengarten, the company’s director.”
Read more in the full article here.
MacDailyNews Take: Kludge for BlackBerry refugees. People who “don’t like typing on iPhones” have rarely or never typed on iPhones or have not yet allowed themselves to let the iPhone do it’s job. Trust the iPhone, don’t fight it. Remember, a Jedi can feel the Force flowing through him.
A hardware keyboard is a significant selling point for only one group of customers: those who already own a phone with a hardware keyboard, and that group is a niche. A nice niche, but a niche nonetheless… I type far better on my iPhone than I expected I’d be able to, and that seems to be true for everyone I know who owns one. The only people who struggle with the iPhone keyboard are those who are already accustomed to a hardware smartphone keyboard. – John Gruber, June 5, 2009
Antiquate your iPhone – and cover half the screen – with plastic-buttoned slide-on keyboard – September 17, 2009
iPhone typist hits 56 WPM (with video) – February 10, 2010