mobile “keyboards”

Since I’m doing a project on chording based input devices next term, I thought I’d ask for a few opinions.

We already have a working 5-button keyboard which can be learned within one hour. Sound interesting?

There are quite a few ideas for small chorded input devices to fit in the hand out there. The basic motivation is: you have a very small keyboard, operated with a single hand, which can be used standing, sitting, running, diving, more-or-less wherever you want. I’ll put some links to existing ideas on the web below; unfortunately only one is available to purchase and that’s not exactly great value for money (I’ll post a review if anyone’s interested).

So, do you think something like this would be marketable? Which designs do you like best, and would you want an integrated mouse (thinkpad-style stick or ball) too?



About dhardy

A software developer who landed in Switzerland, I love conjecturing over a few things computer-related, open collaboration, and quietly promoting linux/KDE as a desktop OS.
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4 Responses to mobile “keyboards”

  1. John McKown says:

    I’ve been messing around with chord keyboards so long it all seems perfectly obvious to me.
    1 Anything like a qwerty should not be in the same plane as the display screen.
    2 Any input device that requires 2 hands to operate is not appropriate for pedestrian use (NAFPU).
    3 Any input scheme that requires you to look at it while you operate it is NAFPU.
    3 Wireless connections between separate parts (e.g., keyboard and phone) are much better than wired ones for pedestrian use or even mobile use.
    4 Gloves are less desirable than held devices because you have to remove them so often.
    5 Electronic systems for normal, non-geek pedestrians should be stowable; pocketable or otherwise able to be made invisible or very inconspicuous.
    6 It is unnecessarily difficult to type with fingers that must also grasp something.

    To review: a keyboard for pedestrians should (must) be a graspable, pocketable, one-hand, wireless, device that allows touch typing with fingers that do not have to support the device.

    • John McKown says:

      I mis-numbered and mis-spoke: … fingers that do –> NOT <– have to support the device.

      • John McKown says:

        And (8) yes of course it must have a mouse/trackball/joystick/etc. The main reason we want efficient, non-tiring text input to pedestrian-portable devices is to accomplish useful work outside the office or lab. This includes cutting and pasting in word processors, spread sheets and all the other applications that expect mice.

    • dhardy says:

      Hey, I hadn’t expected a reply from the guy behind chordite! Cool!

      1) I mostly agree with, but the keyboard on my N900 is perfectly usable (with two hands only). For the rest I agree with you; I’m not entirely sure whether the phone-wrapper idea would work without holding the phone with the other hand (if it’s bulky enough to sit in the hand well it might).

      Really I was asking about marketability. Did you ever try selling chordite devices?

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