New Flexible Keyboard Under Development

Flexis Corp., a Korean company, is developing a new flexible keyboard that will work with several handhelds, including ones from Palm and Sony. The FX100 will have a key spacing of .55 inches and key travel of 1.5 mm. Most full-sized keyboards have a key spacing of .75 inches and a key travel of 3 mm. It weighs only 2.8 ounces and gets its power from the handheld. It will come in purple, yellow, white, pearl, and four shades of black. It is expected to be available in July. A final price hasn't been set yet but will be in the $30 to $40 range.

I got this from a Babelfish translation of a Japanese article. If there are any errors in translation, I apologize. I know that Japanese article has at least some problems because, according to it, the keyboard is 238 x 0.25cm when unrolled and 3.58 x 2.5cm rolled. That's 93 x .1 inches unrolled and 1.4 x 1.0 inches rolled. I strongly doubt that it is over 7 feet long unrolled. -Ed

On the Web:

p.s. Thanks to Mike Cane for pointing this out. -Ed

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Thanks, Ed!

mikecane @ 4/19/2001 11:28:28 AM #
For posting the keyboard working with a CLIE. I've alerted the gang over at PalmBlvd's CLIE board to come see it.

nice....... very nice......

uvdude @ 4/19/2001 11:29:47 AM #
Very promising indeed :-)

Do you think it will work with my palm m100??

If so, i'm definately buying it


I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2001 11:57:13 AM #
it's neat that the keyboard can fold (or roll) up an become very compact. However, from the picture, it appears to connect to the cradle. So now I have to lug my cradle around with the roll up keyboard???

not too convenient...i'll stick with my stowaway.

RE: why?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2001 12:09:02 PM #
It probably will not require that you connect through the cradle. I'm sure that this was done for easy prototype creation. It would be fairly easy to remove the cradle requirement by slapping on a stadard Palm connector where the cradle is connected now.

RE: why?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2001 12:44:41 PM #
I don't think that's the sync cradle. It's probably a cradle to hold the device, hopefully that rolls up as well.


RE: why?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2001 1:55:47 PM #
ok, so they add a palm connector to the end, now whenever you want to type your palm is either laying flat or you have to prop it up on your beer can, or something.

RE: why?
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2001 3:43:11 PM #
What it looks like to me in the photo is the connector and "stand" from a Stowaway keyboard that the unit is in with some prototype wiring from the keyboard to the connector.


Nate @ 4/19/2001 1:49:50 PM #
I get enough stares when I pull out the folding keyboard, I can only imagine how people would react if I pulled out a keyboard that appears to be printed on a fruit roll-up.

It does look cool. I wonder if they are really going to bother coming out with 8 different colors though. Who needs 4 shades of black? Either way, if they can bring it in at $40, that would make it the cheapest keyboard around, and it would be the smallest and lightest too, though it might not be the easiest to use.

Syncplicity. Redefining Simple.

RE: cool
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2001 2:57:07 PM #
Well five of those 8 colors could match the visor deluxes, 1 for the prism, 1 for the platinum, ...


I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2001 3:39:46 PM #
This device sounds really really cool, I just hope it'll reach the North American (*really* hope in Canada!) market soon, and be available for all the Palms, inc. the new m50x series.

at 40$US (60$cdn) that is cheap, they could sell it for double that price and many would still buy them

hopefully its not as clicked-y as the palm portable k/b...

ElectroTextiles Cloth Keyboard

Ed @ 4/19/2001 4:25:11 PM #
Back last year we ran a report on ElectroTextiles who is developing the soft&Qwerty, a fabric keyboard. I checked their website and they still don't seem to have a firm release date.

If you want to learn more:

Palm Infocenter

RE: ElectroTextiles Cloth Keyboard
I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 6:45:35 AM #
yea. I was very surprised that their's was not relased yet....

Roll Up Keyboard

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/19/2001 4:41:16 PM #
It would be neat if the roll up part was sort of self-contained like a retractable dog leash, also make sure the cable disconnects not only from the PDA, but also the keyboard. Just my 2 cents.


GrouchoMarx @ 4/19/2001 11:11:59 PM #
I really hope the dimentions for the key size and key spacing are the fault of the fish. There is no way in hell that my hands are going to fit a keyboard that small. I barely fit the Palm PPK!

I want to see a roll-up keyboard with the same key spacing and travel as the full-sized desktop 104-key keyboard I'm typing on now. Since it's roll-up, it should be possible to include the function keys, arrow keys, numeric keypad, and all that fun stuff that laptop users don't know they're missing. Is that so hard?


Maybe it REALLY IS that long...

I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 10:49:29 AM #
Of course, if the keyboard is designed to work with the Kanji alphabet, then may it really is that long!


I.M. Anonymous @ 4/20/2001 11:26:39 AM #
This roll-up keyboard is a nice idea, and the price is nice too. But users will trade off price for usability. I like my portable palm keyboard, because I can rest it in my lap and still type. This is important when I'm at the airport, or just somewhere where tables are in short supply. This new keyboard definetely requires a table, briefcase, or some other flat surface. And when the handheld is wrapped in the keyboard, it won't slide in and out of pockets easily. The surface of the keyboard is rubber (sticky). I'm happy with the technology advance, but would like to see a better implementation.



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