Comments on: Pocketop Portable Keyboard Now Available

Since it was announced several months ago, many handheld users have been eagerly waiting for the release of the Pocketop Portable Keyboard, which works with almost any handheld with an infrared port. A company spokesperson says the product is now shipping to retail stores and users have confirmed finding them on shelves. The manufacturer's suggested price is $120. It will be available from Pocketop's webstore on July 1.
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Found for $80

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/20/2002 9:32:50 AM #
CompUSA in Utah had them for $80 dollars. Cool idea but the keyboard seemed a little cramped. 3/4 size keyboard without the top row of numbers (there was a numlock function to enable the numbers which were on the same keys as the first row of letters.)
3/4 keyboard
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/20/2002 9:56:03 AM #
Would you pay for the full product and accept 75%????

A Mini-review from a T615C user

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/20/2002 9:57:11 AM #
I was very excited to find it at CompUSA and picked it up, as I've been waiting much too long for a usable keyboard.

Overall, the construction seems pretty solid. I was not very pleased with the plastic feel of the PDA stand/reflector. It feels like it could break pretty easily, and my PDA gets a lot of hard use.

I took it home and installed the driver on my T615C. Right after hotsyncing, it asked to reboot the Clie. It came back up and displayed a Fatal Exception with the screen flickering over and over. Oh oh. Something conflicted. The only way I could get it to come back was to hold the Up Arrow button and press the reset button on the back. It came back up, but the whole Palm felt sluggish.

I checked my software. X-Master was still there but everything was disabled. Under Preferences, the HiRes Assist was turned off. It refused to enable. This means that I couldn't use high res fonts with Avant Go and most of my other programs. Unacceptable!

I was able to get the keyboard working. When I held the IR Port right up against the keyboard, I could get letters to appear every time. But when I actually put the Clie on the stand, I could almost never get anything through. I had to place the keyboard about a foot away from the Clie, and even then it was intermitent.

The overall feel of the kyboard isn't bad, if I coudl get it to work. The rubber feet need to be upgraded. If I put something sticky on the spine, maybe it wouldn't slide around on the table so much. As is, the sliding makes it almost unusable.

I have somewhat big hands. I must say that something isn't right with my ergonimics because my right thumb hits the spacebar right at the spine where it folds, missing both keys. I have to force my thumb to the left or right. It's just in the wrong spot.

The software problems with the T615C make it disable the HiRes Assist, removing the main reason for having a Clie. There is some serious conflict going on. I will try a hard reset to wipe all the software off my Clie and see if I can get it to work right.

The IR link is very bad. Even if the software was working right, I don't know how useful it would be. I'd spend more time trying to keep it aligned than getting useful work done. Hopefully this is only a driver issue.

Mechanically, it isn't too bad. It takes some getting used to and the keyboard needs much better grip on the spine.

It is certainly a compromise compared to the Targus series of keyboards. The Targus for my old Palm IIIxe was a beautiful piece of engineering what worked wonderfully. If a Targus was available for the T series today, I would definately take that instead.

Final Question:
Has anyone else had better luck with the keyboard driver on the T615C?

-- Anthony

RE: A Mini-review from a Samsung I300 user
kilo94 @ 5/20/2002 8:21:23 PM #
I posted this on an another forum, so I apologize for those who've read it on PalmVenue. For Samsung I300 owners, this is presently your ONLY choice for a keyboard (a thumboard it out, but I didn't want that).

Here is my initial evaluation, it seems to be working fine. The part that does not work is the rotation function. This might be why the I300 is not listed on the compatible list. But the infared portion is working, and the phone fits nicel on the PDA stand. You have to tilt the stand slightly to make sure the port interfaces, but on the whole this isn't a problem. The keyboard does move slightly if you're not an experienced typer, so you may have the sucker slide a little bit here and there...

The buttons are smaller than normal keyboards, but not by much. In fact, I'd saythe keys are nearly the same size as my old Go-Type keyboard. I prefer this layout much better than a thumboard. I don't like the spacebar (split down the middle b/c of the folding nature of the k/b) but I'll get used to it. Punctuation also requires a different key since the shift key works numbers.

I signed a number of command keys to open up my most used applications (i.e Quickword, Quicksheet, HanDBase, Blazer, and Eudora). I also surfed, and typed an entry using the keyboard successfully on Palmvenue

The first couple of times I tried to type after activating the driver, it hard reset the Palm. I figured it was probably a hack, and sure enough it turns out FontHack does not like the Wireless Link. No big deal, just need to deactivate it when using the keyboard. I went ahead and deactivated Afterburner just to be safe, but all of Jake's hacks seem to be functioning properly.

Overall it's a keeper since I don't know what I'm missing with the rotation feature, everything else seems to work fine. In fact, I wrote this entire mini-review in Quickword via the keyboard, then exported into memo and pasted it onto the website.

(Now I'm adding via the PC). Just have to make sure you don't tilt the k/b the wrong way or you'll lose the connection (and slide it back to regain, there's nothing to it). But there wasn't any real delay when the port was lined up correctly, quite surprising how fast it was. Looks like I finally have me a keyboard!!!!!

I support PIC and Palmvenue Visit

RE: A Mini-review from a T615C user
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 5:18:23 PM #
I bought one of the Micro Innovations / Pocketop keyboards at CompUSA today for $100+tax minus an eventual $20 rebate. The included driver software installed on my T615c without problem (Hackmaster with a couple hacks and HiRes assist still seem to be working just fine.) I used the provided stand instead of playing with any screen rotation software. I put the stand about an inch behind the keyboard and had to futz with the mirror on the stand for around 30 seconds in order to get the keyboard to talk to the Clie. The keys seem small but usable to me, but I'm not a very fast touch-typist. There are no numeric keys. Instead the top QWERTY row requires *3* shift keys to get to all the capitals, numbers and punctuation that's probably the worst feature. Not as nice as the Stowaway, but usable.

- hotpaw4

RE: A Mini-review from a T615C user
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2002 8:39:52 AM #
A follow-up note for T615C users.

I previously posted as having all sorts of software problems with the driver. I've had a chance to dig into the problem.

I turned off all the hacks under X-Master and installed the driver on my old Palm IIIxe. It worked great... for a while. After about 2 minutes of typing, the screen went crazy and it crashed. After pushing the reset pin, it came back. Again, I could use the wireless keyboard for another 2 minutes before it crashed hard, turning the screen into a dazzling show of blinkng dots.

Okay, so it didn't work there either. I tried to delete the W-Link keyboard driver, but kept getting exceptions and crashes everytime I tried to list the files on my IIIxe. Filex, the Beam menu, the Delete menu were all the same. The only way I could get it back was to wipe the memory and resync from scratch. Not good.

I played with the T615C some more and deleted files over and over until I could figure out what caused the problem. I think I found it. The IR patch fromt he official Sony website seems to the the culprit. I don't know what the reason is, but when I delete those files (using Filez), the Clie boots up fine and I can even use the driver properly. I can run my hacks without problems. The only one I have to disable is Afterburner, and that's only when I'm using the keyboard itself. No surprise there. I'm still playing with the system. Their driver definately needs some work, though.

-- Anthony

Not NR70 friendly

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/20/2002 10:15:51 AM #

So it's not compatiable with NR70 actually.

RE: Not NR70 friendly
jimski @ 5/23/2002 6:50:37 PM #
Hey, it's not perfect, but it sure beats taking notes using graffiti or the thumbpad on my NR70V.

I set the keyboard up using the supplied stand. With the reflector raised all the way up, the keyboard responds perfectly when it is between 1" and 3" from the stand. I don't know where this 1' away came from.

Yes, I did add some new rubber feet to the bottom of the keyboard to keep it from sliding, but like I said it's not perfect.

Until a bluetooth solution comes along, this will just have to do.

Nice, but I'd still prefer a Bluetooth keyboard...

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/20/2002 11:04:57 AM #
One that I could use with a Palm, cell phone, computer, etc. Have yet to see one, though.
RE: Nice, but I'd still prefer a Bluetooth keyboard...
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/20/2002 1:43:09 PM #
If you use Bluetooth, then you can't use a (SD or memory stick) memory card, because the Bluetooth adapter will occupy your memory card slot.

I think that this makes a Bluetooth keyboard close to useless. If you use a keyboard, you'll want to do word processing. Word processing files are pretty big. A memory card is the right place to put them.

RE: Nice, but I'd still prefer a Bluetooth keyboard...
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/20/2002 2:42:04 PM #
You'll like this Bluetooth keyboard then,

And for storage how about this Bluetooth hard drive,

RE: Nice, but I'd still prefer a Bluetooth keyboard...
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 9:00:17 AM #
that's great, especially since the referenced keyboard is a *desktop* model. I hope it comes with little straps so I can wear it like a backpack when I want to carry it with me.
RE: Nice, but I'd still prefer a Bluetooth keyboard...
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 10:41:17 AM #
That's a great idea for Fashion 2003

other keyboards...

choong @ 5/20/2002 12:54:05 PM #
i had the old folding keyboard for the vx and loved it... i've since gotten an ipaq and a clie and am now looking for a different keyboard solution.

there are two that i am considering at the moment. there's this one and the halfkeyboard.

this ir keyboard looks great and most importantly is platform and make independent. however, does anyone know how reliable the ir is? does it get affected by the usual things like different lighting situations etc? what about positioning of the keyboard and unit?

and with regards to the halfkeyboard? how practical is it to use everyday? does it actually just get irritating to use as opposed to being intuitive? i downloaded the demo and i can get a reasonable speed on it but nothing compared to touch typing on a full size keyboard. the other thing is, i would have to make my own cable connectors for it - so i can use it with all my different pda's... a prospect i don't relish.

any thoughts would be much appreciated.


RE: other keyboards...
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 4:18:55 AM #
I tried that half-keyboard. It worked well, but you end up with a strap on your left hand and typing on your right, so you don't need to sit down. Although it does take a LOT of training to become proficient. I still use the Targus keyboard on my Visor. It works.

Wireless web just got easier!

Strider_mt2k @ 5/20/2002 7:33:21 PM #
I look forward to trying this out while connected online!

RE: Wireless web just got easier!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 2:13:07 PM #

I own a Handspring Visor Pro and a Samsung 8500 (with sprint pcs). I'm looking to this keyboard to allow me to type while simutaneously connected online (using a supplynet cable).

Does anyone know of technical obstacles to this. Does anyone know of other products that would allow this to be possible. My understanding of Stowaway, Go2Type and other keyboards is that they cannot be used at the same time as a supplynet cable.

Thanks for any input/ideas.


RE: Wireless web just got easier!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2002 12:26:53 PM #

you might want to try a visorphone module. i use visor pro with visorphone and attach stowaway keyboard to bottom. so far its worked great for me. visorphones are available for free(not including tax) with activation.

RE: Wireless web just got easier!
I.M. Anonymous @ 5/22/2002 2:42:23 PM #
thanks for the comment, i already have a sprint pcs phone plan though, is it possible to incorporate a visorphone into a plan which already exists?

perhaps i'll look into that.

RE: Wireless web just got easier!
terrysalmi @ 6/2/2002 7:23:53 PM #
You can, but the only problem is the SprintPCS compatible version of the VisorPhone is $250 (Though they are offering a $70 mail-in rebate right now)

Wireless Universal Keyboard

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/21/2002 12:55:54 PM #
I love it! I've been patiently (okay, not so patiently) waiting for a keyboard to come out that is compatible with the Samsung I300 phone/pda combo. The I300 is not listed on the compatibility list but I decided to give it a try. The only function that doesn't work is the screen rotation, other than that it is a beauty!

I will confess that this is my first experience with a Palm folding keyboard so I in my naivte' I have nothing to compare it to, so I think it is great!....Good thing since I have no other option.


PIC mobile user @ 5/21/2002 1:09:23 PM #
Anyone have one of these yet?
RE: Anyone?
jimski @ 5/23/2002 7:08:32 PM #
I picked one up this morning at CompUSA. Using the provided stand with my NR70V, it works just fine. I had a bit of trouble figuring out exactly when I was in range (wish there was some type of tone when IR device was within range), but I got it to work. I left the PDA in the stand and moved the keyboard around until I found the "sweet spot" which for me was having the Keyboard IR port centered over the PDA stand and from 1" to 3" away from the stand. Perfect for working in cramped spaces.

As they state in the documentation, the driver does not permit the screen orientation to be changed on a Sony so I am stuck with the default screen configuration, but using the stand works fine.

The only problem I have encountered is if you move the keyboard out of range while typing, the device seems to get hung up and you need to disable/reenable the driver to get the keyboard working again. You can stop typing and move/return the keyboard. Just don't move it while pressing any keys. Other than that it works great.

The keyboard takes a bit of getting used to, but so did the GoType, Targus and iBiz keyboards I have previously used, so this was sort of expected. You will need to add some little felt or rubber feet to the bottom of the keyboard as the supplied rubber feet sit higher than the center hinge whey lying flat on a desk which causes the unit to pivot from the center when typing. You can find these little rubber cabinet door sticky buttons at Home Depot or other home center. After applying these, the keyboard does not move at all.

Pocketop with a Palm M515?

hmgreen @ 5/22/2002 9:30:25 AM #
Anyone use this yet with the Palm M500 series devices yet? It sounds like the device works better with some devices than others and that it takes some "fiddling" to position it for good IR reception - which in a meeting would be too much of a distraction. Since CompUSA will not take a return on an opened item for a full refund, I would like to know how this works before I spend $100.

Also, the company's site is unclear on this, but does the closed keyboard attach to the Palm's left channel and act as a cover for the Palm screen?

RE: Pocketop with a Palm M515?
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/21/2002 10:59:36 PM #
Yes, I use the Pockettop Wireless Keyboard with an M515. It generally works fine although there is some conflict that activates it randomly for a few seconds and then deactivates it for a few seconds. It cycles this way forever. It especially happens with DateBk5.

I emailed the company but they did not reply.

Jerry Zurek

Kyocera tips - may help with others

I.M. Anonymous @ 5/31/2002 11:42:39 PM #
For starters - DO NOT use screen rotation on kyocera, you'll have to do a hard reset to recover.

Even though they say it doesn't work with a Kyocera 6035 - I got it to work. I keep a piece of aluminum foil folded between the keyboard and stand. When I want to use the keyboard, I unfold it and curve it around the the phone while it's in the stand (think "beach umbrella").

It reflects from anywhere, amazing reception!

RE: Kyocera tips - may help with others
I.M. Anonymous @ 7/13/2002 12:49:59 PM #
thanks for the good tip for using with kyocera, I don't have it yet but will get it now that i see it does work my phone,

Pocketop Portable Keyboard Software Compatibility

I.M. Anonymous @ 8/22/2002 3:06:09 PM #
I just bought the Pocketop keyboard for my Palm m505 and it works great until I tried to use it with WordSmith while running SilverScreen. The unit crashed and I had to do a hard reset.

I then retried using the keyboard with WordSmith (no SilverScreen), same problem. I then retried it using memopad within SilverScreen (no WordSmith), crashed.

Anyone else have the same problem?



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