TextBlade Tries To Reinvent The Portable Keyboard

I have been in search of the perfect iPad keyboard for awhile—something compact enough to keep in a small bag, but actually decent to type on. Keyboard cases pretty much universally suck, so I went with a folding keyboard from Matias for a long time. The keys on that are on the mushy side, and the full-size keyboard takes up a lot of space at a coffee shop. I then moved on to the Oragami case and Apple Wireless keyboard. (I bought a cool set of decals for the keys, as well.) That has worked pretty well, other than the times when it decides to turn itself on in my bag and drain the batteries.

But the TextBlade promises to be the next big thing in portable keyboards. Thanks to a unique set of multitouch keys, it promises to allow touch-typing on a device that’s smaller than an iPhone: It has actual, tactile keys, but each key can input multiple characters—the S key is also the W and X key—and the TextBlade’s multitouch technology determines which letter to type based on which letter your finger taps as you type.

Each of your fingers’ typing range centers on a single multitouch key. You type numbers and symbols via a modifier key that sits where the caps lock key normally lives. It’s all a little hard to describe, so watch the videos on WayTools’s site.

TextBlade’s creators seem to at least have the kernel of a great idea here. It’s an intriguing concept and design, but of course the truth is in the typing. You can pre-order the TextBlade for $99: The first units ship to customers in late February.

Mac geek? Gamer? Why not both? Mike is a writer from Wisconsin who enjoys wasting immense amounts of time on the Internet. You can follow him on Twitter.