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Comments on: Think Outside debuts the Stowaway XT Keyboard

PPK 2 ~ Click for LargerThink Outside, makers of the Stowaway Portable Keyboard (PPK) for handheld devices, introduced their next generation Stowaway XT Keyboard. The XT keyboard is even smaller than the original Stowaway keyboard when closed yet remains rigid when open. The Stowaway XT keyboard is half the thickness and 30 percent lighter than the original Stowaway keyboard. Initially designed to work with the new Palm Tungsten handhelds, the keyboard is marketed by Palm as the Ultra-Thin Keyboard.
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Sony

He||Raiser @ 10/30/2002 12:57:21 PM #
Now, when are they coming out with a Sony version??? 6 months from now?

Whoo, 1st post!

RE: Sony
a @ 10/30/2002 1:04:21 PM #
Sweet Keyboard.....too bad i will never be able to use it with my handspring treo. --this thing would make it worth buying a T.T.
i say that palms universal connector becomes truly universal between the "big three" (plam, sony, handspring) do you know what that would do for accessories?!?!?!
this way i could use my favorite keyboard, instead of buying a new one every time i buy a new plam device.
....im still waiting for one to be compatible for the treo...

-------------------
I love my Treo 90
-------------------
RE: Sony
jjsoh @ 10/30/2002 1:12:56 PM #
: Now, when are they coming out with a Sony version??? 6 months from now?

Given that the new Clie NX models from Sony already have a built-in keyboard, I think they're right not to rush in bringing it out something that might not sell well (or in this case, at all) to market.

Jim

RE: Sony
ronlach @ 10/31/2002 9:20:08 AM #
Check out Think Outside's website. They have Sony and other models available for purchase.

RE: Sony
tadams @ 11/25/2002 3:05:57 PM #
Only the older Stowaway is available, not the newer XT keyboard.

Cool

PFloyd @ 10/30/2002 12:59:47 PM #
I'm pretty happy with my current PPK but I'm thinking of getting a TT. I read the new XT Keyboard (or Ultra-thin I think Palm calls it) will work with existing Palms with the universal connector as well as the TT. Has anyone confirmed if the PPK won't work with the TT?

RE: Cool
Ronin @ 10/30/2002 1:03:10 PM #
The current PPK will not work with the TT. But I believe it is simply a driver issue. Every other peripheral I have works fine with the universal connector.

I just hope that the release of this new keyboard is not an indication that Palm is not going to release a driver for the current PPK compatible with OS5.

The Palm website has conflicting information on this: the FAQ says that the PPK is not compatible with the TT but the compatibility list says that it is.


In the Spirit of Umoja,
Ronin

RE: Cool
Admin @ 10/30/2002 1:13:27 PM #
I got to check out the XT at the Tungsten launch and cool doesn't even begin to describe this model :)
RE: Cool
sralmas @ 10/30/2002 3:38:47 PM #
I just got off of a conference call with Palm SG about the release of the Zire, TT, TW and, although the PPK was not specifically discussed, there was discussion about peripherals' use of the Universal Connector and it was stated that it is purely a driver issue.

RE: Cool
mashby @ 11/22/2002 10:48:15 AM #
The current PPK works with the Tungsten T just fine. You will need to get a new driver though. Palm.com has a beta driver available that works just fine. I've been using it for a week or so, with no troubles what so ever.

You can find the drivers at this link: http://www.palm.com/support/beta/tungstent_keyboard.html

Michael T. Ashby
Director
InterPUG
http://www.interpug.com

Is bluetooth keyboard a reality ?

Konstantin @ 10/30/2002 1:01:48 PM #
I would be more impress with a bluetooth enabeled keyboard , tho this one looks very nice. I have more like an idea to write documents with the palm inside of my pocket ( I dont realy need to see the screen when typing), so if im in a bumpy enviroment I didnt worry about breaking the UC.

RE: Is bluetooth keyboard a reality ?
a @ 10/30/2002 1:12:01 PM #
that would be sweet! ....but just another thing to pop $3 worth of batteries every week.

We want more bluetooth...We want more bluetooth... ;)
(just a hint to the hardware dovelopers, dont pretend you dont read these posts too)

-------------------
I love my Treo 90
-------------------

RE: Is bluetooth keyboard a reality ?
jjsoh @ 10/30/2002 1:16:30 PM #
: that would be sweet! ....but just another thing to pop $3 worth of batteries every week.

My thoughts exactly. Since the keyboard also acts as a stand for the PDA for easier viewing, why would you want BT in it?

Just because the technology is available doesn't mean it has to be implemented in everything. Especially, when it's not practical for a user to charge or replace batteries for a peripheral/add-on device. I would think that is both annoying and unnecessary. For the desktop PC, I can understand how a BT keyboard would be tolerable, or even beneficial in some cases, but not for a PDA. YMMV.

Jim

RE: Is bluetooth keyboard a reality ?
razorpit @ 10/30/2002 2:21:16 PM #
Konstantin, I've been asking myself the same question. It would be intersting to see what would happen to their sales if it were implemented. On one hand people wouldn't be forced to purchase a new keyboard almost eveytime they bought a new unit. But how many people would buy one knowing they would never have to purchase another unless they wore it out.

I'm in the latter group. I bought a keyboard for my HS Deluxe which worked well on my Prism. Now that the Prism is dead so is the usefulness of that keyboard. For as little as I used the keyboard I can't justify the price of buying a new one for my next unit so I bought a Treo instead.

jjosh in answer to your question it would be very easy to create some sort of universal adapter to hold the PDA up. And I doubt a BT keyboard would go through a set of batteries every week. You would only need enough juice to transmit the signal a few inches.

--Dave

RE: Is bluetooth keyboard a reality ?
Nate @ 10/30/2002 2:40:39 PM #
The real advantage of BT would be that it would do away with the connector problem.
RE: Is bluetooth keyboard a reality ?
jjsoh @ 10/30/2002 3:07:10 PM #
Good point(s) to all.

Unfortunately, I haven't had the opportunity (yet ;) to give BT usability a real world test in terms of how long batteries would last in such a scenario, but I suppose if someone did implement it the right way, I could be proven embarassingly wrong on my views of PDA keyboards. :)

Jim

RE: Is bluetooth keyboard a reality ?
Sparkman @ 10/30/2002 5:55:42 PM #
Another problem with a Bluetooth keyboard: Bluetooth is supposed to be deactivated on airplanes, where you're not supposed to transmit any radio frequencies from consumer electronics.


RE: Is bluetooth keyboard a reality ?
jmpage2 @ 10/30/2002 10:21:56 PM #
Bluetooth emits approximately 1% of the output radiation of a cellular phone and it's theoretical operable range is about 10 meters.

Considering that the Palm itself could have it's BT transmitter turned on and noone would ever know I don't see a BT keyboard being such a big problem.

One use for a BT keyboard... you could have your BT PDA on a car mounting stand and compose an email through the BT keyboard at stoplights or even do it easily if you were away from traffic on an open highway.


http://home.attbi.com/~page.jason/Pics/new_blueTT.jpg
____________________________________
My PALM OS 5 Tungsten Bluetooth Setup

RE: Is bluetooth keyboard a reality ?
Fly-By-Night @ 10/31/2002 5:05:46 AM #
It is a reality! Check out RAST Assoc's BT keyboard at http://www.infosync.no/show.php?id=2012. Very cool, and obviously can be used with *ANY* BT device making it considerably more universal than Palm's Universal Connector.

FBN

A quibble

Timothy Rapson @ 10/30/2002 1:08:50 PM #
Landware's GoType created the segment of accessories.

RE: A quibble
Admin @ 10/30/2002 1:12:10 PM #
True true, it's all marketing spin, but I think they are refering to the slim foldable keyboard market.
RE: A quibble
Mead Lawson @ 10/30/2002 3:10:52 PM #
Very true indeed. I dislike any company trying to falsly stake such claims. It's as rediculous as Lee Iacocca claiming Chrysler invented the minivan. Like, the Volkswagon Microbus wasn't a minivan? Puh-lease!

Best,

Mead

RE: A quibble
Altema @ 11/22/2002 2:31:50 PM #
"It's as rediculous as Lee Iacocca claiming Chrysler invented the minivan. Like, the Volkswagon Microbus wasn't a minivan? Puh-lease!"

I know this is an old post, but I'm bored and was digging around. We had two or three of the VW vans while I was growing up (all died to the #3 exhaust valve going out), and I think it qualifies closer to a full size van. Not the 15 passenger maxivans, but the standard wheelbase van.

One of the first imitators of the VW bus was by Dodge and it had the engine in the middle. Both of these vehicles were MUCH larger than the 1984 caravan which was based on the k car platform. In the microbus, you have about 4 feet between the back of the third seat and the rear window. I know because I used to sleep there on long trips! (not the best place, but at least it was warm...) No such room on the standard length Caravan. As time has passed, the Chrysler has grown, and the VW as become more compact, making them much closer in size than they were in the beginning.

I guess they were looking at themselves being first with a specific type.

No numeric row

pontif @ 10/30/2002 1:46:59 PM #
Has anybody noticed the number row is missing...

Reminds me of the IR keyboard, which I didn't like for that very reason.


RE: No numeric row
fcardona @ 10/31/2002 11:17:10 AM #
Yes...no one else seems to have mentioned it. That could be a drawback...imagine working on a spreadsheet!

Because of that, I'll have to wait and see reveiews about it when it's released. I have the PPK and usually have hard surfaces to type on. The trade off seems high.

At the Arthur Andersen headquarters: "oh s**t, now we're in deep trouble"

RE: No numeric row
MikeInDM @ 10/31/2002 1:20:35 PM #
I believe you will find that the numbers are included in the "uiojklm,." keys by hitting a "number shift" key. Seems like a workable solution (and puts the numbers closer to a true "10 key" setup than stringing them across the top of the keyboard).

Mike

Remains rigid when open.

I.M Anonymous @ 10/30/2002 2:11:30 PM #
Does this mean I can use it on my lap (a major gripe with the old stowaway)? I'm sold!

RE: Remains rigid when open.
ganoe @ 10/30/2002 3:01:00 PM #
That was what they said about the old one too, so I would not believe it. It is unlikely they could make it even thinner but more rigid.
RE: Remains rigid when open.
sralmas @ 10/30/2002 3:33:33 PM #
See my other post. I have been using this XT for months. It is rigid and can be used on your lap. It clicks into place. It is much thinner and lighter than the Stowaway.

RE: Remains rigid when open.
ganoe @ 10/30/2002 3:57:57 PM #
Others have sworn up and down to me that the original one of these keyboards was stable and rigid too. I'll believe it when I actually get to see it.
RE: Remains rigid when open.
sralmas @ 10/30/2002 4:37:24 PM #
It is worth repeating. I have an XT. It clicks open and is rigid. If you don't believe me, see it for yourself:

http://home.nycap.rr.com/almas/xt1.jpg
http://home.nycap.rr.com/almas/xt2.jpg
http://home.nycap.rr.com/almas/xt3.jpg

RE: Remains rigid when open.
Mead Lawson @ 10/30/2002 6:16:17 PM #
Thanks for the pix. It looks like the kybd is raised a bit, the ends about 1/4" higher than the center section. Is this correct?

Best,

Mead

RE: Remains rigid when open.
miradu @ 10/30/2002 7:01:57 PM #
Also - while the unit salrams has can stay rigid well (I have the same unit), the final model out now through Palm ahs a physical latch insuring that it will not pop closed while using.

RE: Remains rigid when open.
mashby @ 11/22/2002 10:51:37 AM #
Yes, it's solid and you can type in your lap.

Michael T. Ashby
Director
InterPUG
http://www.interpug.com

Visor Central Preview

drac @ 10/30/2002 2:46:28 PM #
Visor Central has a preview up, with a couple of photos:

http://www.visorcentral.com/content/Stories/1492-1.htm

--
"If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each person's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility." ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, (1819-1892)

d r. a. c h a r l e s
barbados

RE: Visor Central Preview
Mead Lawson @ 10/30/2002 3:34:49 PM #
Thanks for writing the cursory review. I usually don't enjoy wierd layouts and options when using laptop keyboards, but I don't mind sacrificing the number key row in favor of an option button in this case. Thanks for the web link. I wrote Handspring requesting a ThinkOutside keyboard for my Treo. I'd certainly buy one immediately upon their availability.

Best,

Mead

Treo Support?

Mead Lawson @ 10/30/2002 3:16:17 PM #
Anyone know if ThinkOutside has plans to support the Treo line in either the Stowaway or the XT keyboards?

Best,

Mead

PALM BIASED

masitti @ 10/30/2002 6:23:32 PM #
So, 2 days after Palm comes out with a handheld, Think Outside already has a stowaway for it... yet when Sony released the T series (and others with the connector) TO says "there isn't enough market for it". What a load of bull in my book.

------------------------
Mario Masitti
O/T Mod
I Love Tennis :)
RE: PALM BIASED
miradu @ 10/30/2002 6:59:56 PM #
This model is based off a pre existing connector - the Universal connector. Sony needed a new connector, and thus a new design and is a lot of work. It just so happened that Palm chose to release the new design for the keyboard with the T.

RE: PALM BIASED
masitti @ 10/30/2002 7:08:10 PM #
Yea, but the T series has been out for almost 6 months, there have been a ton of purchases of T, S, and NR series... you'd think they have one. :(

But I guess I see your point with it being an existing connector. :)

------------------------
Mario Masitti
O/T Mod
I Love Tennis :)

Tungsten compatible ???

Zorglub @ 10/30/2002 6:58:41 PM #
Does anyone know why the current Palm keyboard (m500 series) is not compatible with the Tungsten ?

See:

http://205.141.210.149/SRVS/CGI-BIN/WEBCGI.EXE/,/?St=1,E=0000000000249009822,K=7157,Sxi=4,Case=obj(20415)

Is it just a matter of the driver not being ported over? I cant see any other reasons.. the connector is the same. I'd be terribly unhappy if I have to buy a 3rd keyboard (already had to upgrade going from Vx to m505).

RE: Tungsten compatible ???
drac @ 10/31/2002 9:05:38 AM #
The problem with TT-XT compatibility is apparently limited to driver issues, and I have read that suitable drivers should be out in a few days.

My cynical nature is such, however, that I'd wait for them to be out before making a purchase that depended on them!

--
"If we could read the secret history of our enemies, we would find in each person's life sorrow and suffering enough to disarm all hostility." ~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, (1819-1892)

d r. a. c h a r l e s
barbados

RE: Tungsten compatible ???
hkklife @ 10/31/2002 9:43:53 AM #
Bah, folks, do you guys really think that it's THAT hard to port over a simple little driver (for a device using an existing standard-the UC) from OS 4 to OS 5? What we have here is called GREED. They'd rather have you buy the new keyboard that, lo and behold, somehow already HAS a driver written for it!

It happens ALL of the time in the PC world. Let's look at a few recent examples: Nvidia touts their Detonator display drivers as being universally compatible with all NVIDIA cards of the TNT and GeForce families. However, the last few revs. of that driver have slyly omitted support for TNT1 and TNT Aladdin (integrated video) chipsets. The differences between the TNT1 and TNT2 are very minor-and past Detonators supported all. Nvidia is trying to artificially introduce obsolesence into their older cards, many of which are still happily in use by non-gamers worldwide. And adding a few more kb to the download size is a non-issue as well (since most of these TNTs are in office environments where broadband is common).

2nd example: Creative had XP drivers ready at the launch of their spankin' new Audigy sound cards last fall. Yet it took them a few weeks (or longer) to deliver on XP drivers for their legacy products such as old SB pci cards and modems. I am sure it's easier to code a simple WDM driver for those old cards than it is for an Audigy anyday...

Finally, Umax (the scanner company) has always had a history of shoddy customer support. Recently they began charging fees upwards of $30 for a driver CD and have removed almost every downloadable driver from their US website (some foreign sites still offer the downloads). To add insult to injury, the handful of customers that have ponied up the $ for a driver disk get nothing more than a blank CD-R in the mail!

So while driver issues have traditionally not plagued the Palm market, this could be a new trend (read: area to suck in a bit more revenue) for OS6 and beyond. I personally will not buy at T|T until the mythical keyboard driver and mp3 software are released.

Side Note:
Having Real releasing the mp3 player strikes fear into my heart-don't you guys worry that they will stuff the Palm as full as possible of the same unwieldy interface and bloatware that's symbolized their PC player for several years now?

RE: Tungsten compatible ???
joens @ 10/31/2002 9:47:40 AM #
Well said!

I will not upgrade to Tungsten until a driver for the PPK is released.

We are waiting, Palm.

RE: Tungsten compatible ???
nyates @ 11/1/2002 11:41:29 AM #
If you look under the Tungsten support on Palm's website they have a beta driver for the PPK out.

RE: Tungsten Compatable
PAIDINFULLMUSIC @ 11/2/2002 9:00:40 PM #
hey guys!
i bought the new tungsten t under the impression (from palm cs) that the keyboard and camera i used with my palm m505 was compatable. but apparently THEY DON'T!

when i made the transition all the programs and stuff transferred over smoothly. even the keyboard driver! i did try to remove it and it won't delete!! i was attempting to do this to put the new beta driver on, but that won't even work... it won't even load on there.

does anyone know what i am suppose to do?? any help would be greatly appreciated. you can either post here or email me (ericdblackburn@yahoo.com).

the keyboard is the foldout one from palm... that worked with the m500/505. and the camera is the kodak palm pix that was discontinued.

thanks
-eric

RE: Tungsten compatible ???
Ces @ 11/10/2002 1:13:54 PM #
Here's the driver...

http://palm.com/support/beta/tungstent_keyboard.html

Now would you guys please stop talking so much nonsence??

RE: Tungsten compatible ???
mashby @ 11/22/2002 10:53:05 AM #
You need an updated driver: http://www.palm.com/support/beta/tungstent_keyboard.html

Michael T. Ashby
Director
InterPUG
http://www.interpug.com

Why Not Wireless?

Jeff-Russell @ 10/30/2002 7:23:00 PM #
Looks nice, but the problem I have always had was using a keyboard that requires the UC. I want the UC open for internet connectivity. For this purpose, I bought the Micro Innovations Wireless foldable keyboard. Same form factor, nice usability and IR enabled. I use it constantly on the road and love being able to easily respond to emails and type memos while connected to the internet. Battery life is great and it's easy to pack away.

http://www.mi-products.com/pda_accessories_notes.html

RE: Why Not Wireless?
bytor @ 10/31/2002 9:25:05 AM #
Internet connectivity is not a real problem now with Bluetooth... :o)

Long Live Visor Prism
RE: Why Not Wireless?
Jeff-Russell @ 10/31/2002 8:38:36 PM #
Except for those of us who are BT have-nots! :)

RE: Why Not Wireless?
robman @ 11/3/2002 7:23:58 PM #
I guess I wouldn't mind the keyboard using the UC if you could daisy chain UC devices, like you can with USB. That's one of the greatest features of USB, is that you can build a hub into anything so it doesn't really matter that you're using up your only slot.

For a while you couldn't use Palm add-ons and the IR port simultaneously---was this a Palm 3.x issue only?



Palm Researcher at the University of Texas at Austin
http://www.edb.utexas.edu/petrosino/pda

I prefer the old one

M3wThr33 @ 10/31/2002 1:26:07 AM #
Come on, I avoided that IR one like the plauge when they got rid of the number row. I'll take bigger and floppier any day for a number-key row. Let's hope they give us a choice or something.

I don't think you understand the gravity of the situation. We're in space.

Keyboard for Tungsten

bytor @ 10/31/2002 9:10:37 AM #
I have been a Hanspring user for some time and use the Stowaway keyboard which I really like. What I was curious about is whether or not an existing Stowaway for one of the other Palms (705would work with the Tungsten since it has the universal connector. I would not buy a keyboard that did not have a separate row of number buttons across the top.

Long Live Visor Prism

RE: Tungsten compatible ???

scoopster @ 10/31/2002 10:23:02 AM #
Why don't you email both Palm and Think Outside and push them to offer the driver upgrade? If Palm is going to continue to sell the original PPK (as the Think Outside press release indicates), then they must recognize that some people will prefer one keyboard over the other...and therefore need drivers for the TT to work with the PPK.

RE: Tungsten compatible ???
bytor @ 11/1/2002 9:20:46 AM #
I contacted Palm yesterday in regards to this and here is the reply I got..

"Thank you very much for your inquiry.

I understand that you wish to have information on the drivers for the Palm(TM) Portable Keyboard for the Palm(TM) Tungsten(TM) T handheld.

Please be aware that our Palm Technical Experts are working forward in this direction and an update should be available soon. However we at Palm Technical Support are unable to comment on the exact
release date of the update as we do not have the necessary resources to do so."

Why do they always have to put some sort of disclaimer...Id rather them say..."We're working on it and hope to have it available soon"


Long Live Visor Prism

RE: Tungsten compatible ???
nyates @ 11/1/2002 11:43:08 AM #
There is a beta version of the driver available on Palm's Tungsten support page.

RE: Tungsten compatible ???
mashby @ 11/22/2002 10:54:46 AM #
And you can find it here: http://www.palm.com/support/beta/tungstent_keyboard.html

It works just fine, I've been using it for over a week.

Michael T. Ashby
Director
InterPUG
http://www.interpug.com

A fragile Keyboard (PUTK)

friviere @ 7/1/2003 7:24:24 AM #
I bought a new PUTK two days ago and it came out of the package with the black black support form the Tungsten broken on one end. Seems it is very fragile, just look at how it is tight to the keyboard, nothing to do with my old Palm Portable Keyboard. Maybe the package does not resist the trip. Anyway nor Palm nor the final seller accepted my claim, si I will have to repair it at my cost. DO NOT BUY THAT KEYBOARD !

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