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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.

Like the original Stowaway keyboard, the Stowaway XT keyboard is touch-typeable, with full-size keys, full-size key spacing, full key travel and tactile feedback, just like the finest notebook computer keyboards. Constructed of an advanced aluminum alloy that is designed for years of rugged use, the Stowaway XT keyboard is quick to open and slips easily into a pocket.

Since the introduction of the original Stowaway keyboard in 2000, Think Outside has sold nearly two million units under the Palm, Targus, Sony, Motorola and Kyocera brand names. In spite of other entries into this market segment - which Think Outside created - the Stowaway keyboard remains the only full-size, touch-typeable folding keyboard, selling more than all other add-on PDA (personal digital assistant) keyboards combined. It has enjoyed a remarkably high user satisfaction level and has won many major awards for computer products and design excellence.

Think Outside's Design Philosophy
The new keyboard advances Think Outside's product philosophy, which is to create truly innovative tools that solve important needs and that take into account physical and sensory realities. The Stowaway XT Keyboard offers mobile professionals full-size, touch typing for doing real work with a handheld, without losing a bit of mobility in the bargain.

"So few products today are designed and built for how real people function," said Bob Olodort, founder and CEO of Think Outside and the keyboard's inventor. "Portable keyboards are an ideal example. Sure, you can shrink the keyboards smaller and smaller, but people's fingers don't shrink, so at a certain point the keys are so small or close together that you lose typing accuracy and comfort. By refusing to compromise on either mobility or touch-typing functionality, Think Outside has set a standard for portable keyboards that has yet to be matched."

Alan Urban, director of accessories and peripherals at Palm Solutions Group, said, "The Palm Ultra-Thin Keyboard is an excellent complement to the new Palm Tungsten handhelds. With the handheld, keyboard and available software applications, mobile professionals and other on-the-go people can compose e-mail messages of any length, write word processing documents, take notes and perform other typing-intensive tasks without having to lug a laptop."

"With the Stowaway XT Keyboard, more people will be able to use their handheld devices for serious computing and communications tasks while mobile," said Phil Baker, president and co-founder of Think Outside. "With so much expected of today's mobile computing devices, the importance of a fully mobile, touch-typeable keyboard cannot be overstated. The original Stowaway keyboard has been a runaway best-seller among users of handhelds and mobile phones, and the next-generation Stowaway XT version takes the full-size, collapsible keyboard concept to the next level of mobility, functionality, convenience and style."

The Stowaway XT keyboard is compatible with versions 4.1 and 5 of the Palm OS software and Palm handhelds that feature the Palm Universal Connector. It meets industry-standard ISO specifications for full-size keyboards, with 18 mm spacing between keys, horizontally and vertically, and 3 mm of key displacement (the distance a key travels when it is pressed). The tactile feel of the keyboard - the way the keys click, for instance - makes the experience comparable to typing on a standard desktop or laptop keyboard. Like the original Stowaway keyboard, Think Outside's newest product uses almost negligible battery power from the handheld device to which it connects, so it does not measurably reduce battery life.

Price and Availability
The Stowaway XT keyboard will be available in Q4 2002 for a suggested retail price of $99 from Palm.com Online Store and other retailers. Think Outside will offer the Stowaway XT keyboard for other handheld devices in the future. Palm and Think Outside will continue to offer the original Palm Portable Keyboard, also known as the Stowaway Portable Keyboard, for a suggested retail price of $79 from the Palm.com Online Store.

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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 :)

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