Bluetooth Flexible Keyboard in Development

Bluetooth PDA KeyboardFlexis, a company known for their flexible waterproof keyboard reviewed previously, have posted information on a new Bluetooth keyboard, the FXCube Bluetooth. The first of its kind for mobile devices, it is assumed that this keyboard will work with any bluetooth enabled device.

The Keypad, made out of silicon, can be carried or stored in folded or rolled up form without becoming crumpled. Due to its material characteristic that enables perfect restoration the keypad maintains its original shape even after time. It is also water resistant and the elastic and flexible nature of the keyboard enables it to be stored and rolled up in many ways.

Bluetooth PDA Keyboard

The keypad has an 86 key design. It weights in at 180 grams and has dimensions of 320x110x2.5mm. Through not specifically stated on the website, it is likely to be powered by removable battery. It is not yet known when this will be available or at what price point. As always we will bring you more on this when we get more details.

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keyboard and BT?

dhchung @ 1/15/2003 1:11:42 PM #
So I need to take out the keyboard as well when I use bluetooth only?

RE: keyboard and BT?
Token User @ 1/15/2003 2:05:54 PM #
If there were a smiley for :rolleyes: available, I'd use it.

This keyboard DOES NOT give you bluetooth access FROM your PDA, it uses BT to CONNECT TO your BT ENABLED PDA.

BT is not a replacement network technology (though, using the correct profile, you can establish a network connection via a mechanism akin to PPP over a serial modem). Think of BT more as wireless USB, allowing you to connect peripherals together without the need for cable.

~ "Don't be too proud of this technological terror you've constructed." - DV ~

Impartial @ 1/15/2003 5:47:04 PM #
Wireless USB is actually it's own standard. It's fairly new, and so hasn't caught on yet. After a total evaluation, I really don't think it ever will.

Am I helping yet?
pdangel @ 1/16/2003 3:30:35 AM #
WirelessUSB is just another new short range "wireless" technology imho. This time it's from Cypress. They are trying to push it as a better standard for short range wireless. Have we heard this before? It could be a good technology, but with all the important heavy BACKERS behind standards like Bluetooth it will be tough to promote/hype it imho: "Cypress faces an uphill struggle with the technology unless it could persuade Microsoft to switch. And with Microsoft now committed to the Bluetooth solution, several players in the market said that the only hope for Cypress was to cut the price. That could be hard. When Cypress first touted the WirelessUSB technology to insiders, it was predicting that it would heavily undercut Bluetooth, with an ultimate $1 per chip incremental cost to the builder. However, its announcement this month talked about a $4 end-user price - which gives it virtually no advantage over Bluetooth - and thus, no reason for the industry to switch."

According to the industry on Dec.1, Bluetooth chipmakers are seeking to offer less than $5-a-unit prices (e.g TI, Broadcom) by improving yield ratios, while pushing for commercial launches early next year in league with mobile phone, PDA and notebook makers after tests on software stability. CSR is set to reduce the unit price to less than $3 to gain an upper hand in the emerging market.

"There are 2 kind of people my friend....those with wires and those without"

Some Bluetooth Wireless Keyboards
pdangel @ 1/16/2003 3:44:06 AM #
Review of Pocketop's Foldable Wireless PDA Keyboard.

Pocketop is also considering producing drivers for mobile phones based on the Symbian operating system, although a decision has not been made yet. Bluetooth is another option being considered, but again there are no specific plans, said Ferguson. "Bluetooth would be very natural and obvious move for us," he said. "Bluetooth will be a core part of the future of mobile computing. Also, we aren't huge believers in converged device. For the majority of consumers the idea of modularity will be the favoured solution. You will have Bluetooth phone, a Bluetooth PDA and a Bluetooth keyboard.",,t269-s2122596,00.html

RAST Associates' Vario Keyboard adds a new twist to the concept; it doesn't fold, but stretches - and it's got Bluetooth and 802.11b.

Microsoft shows Bluetooth hub, keyboard and mouse,10801,70344,00.html

Bluelogic Bluetooth Keyboard

CES - New Bluetooth Keyboard With Mouse Input On The Way ....could this one be Flexis Keyboard maybe?

"There are 2 kind of people my friend....those with wires and those without"

Flexis Bluetooth Flexible Keyboard
pdangel @ 1/16/2003 4:12:08 AM #
Flexis Bluetooth Flexible Keyboard

"There are 2 kind of people my friend....those with wires and those without"

More Bluetooth Keyboards Coming
pdangel @ 1/22/2003 4:20:41 AM #
Belkin is working on a Bluetooth-enabled keyboard that should be available around May of this year, though it declined to give any details at this time.

Targus is also working on one, though it also was unwilling to give any details.

Pocketop says it expects to have a Bluetooth version by the first quarter of next year.

Think Outside, maker of the Stowaway folding keyboard and the 600 lb. gorilla of the handheld keyboard market, says it is investigating the possibilities but isn't willing to disclose any firm plans.

"There are 2 kind of people my friend....those with wires and those without"

This will Rock

Doo @ 1/15/2003 1:30:56 PM #
Imagine. Blue Tooth headset conntect to the PDA, listening to MP3s, sufring the web as your PDA connects to a BT cell phone, and working on the keyboard at an angle and set you you think is comfortable. This will rock. I can't wait for BT to come of age.

RE: This will Rock
cbowers @ 1/15/2003 1:49:39 PM #
I think if you look into the issue, this is in fact possible in OS5.

It's also possible on OS3/4 if your mp3 player has licenced that right from Kadak. It's been done in one app I'm aware of.

As for OS5, quoting Ben Combee from Metrowerks

"OS 5 already supports background threads, although in a very limited scope. The sound manager lets you setup a callback function to supply one of the sound channels with audio data. This callback runs in its own thread, and you actually could setup a task to run in that thread and never return to the OS. You would use one of the 16 channels allowed by the OS 5 audio manager, but you would, effectively, be running in the background."

RE: This will Rock
alanjrobertson @ 1/15/2003 2:23:43 PM #
The limitation may be more on the bluetooth side of things - it's not the best at coping with multiple connections (many devices can't cope with it and some, such as headset often only yet you pair with one device).

Does sound cool tho'!


RE: This will Rock
Lidocaineus @ 1/15/2003 3:33:15 PM #
Man, if ska isn't *the definition* of a troll, I don't know what is! It's hillarious watching the guy make a fool of himself.

RE: This will Rock
mtg101 @ 1/15/2003 6:24:19 PM #
Don't get too excited about BT headsets and MP3s yet... The current BT spec only provides for mono sound...

Here's hpoing BT2 (haven't read that spec yet) will provide decent stereo sound!


RE: This will Rock
cbowers @ 1/15/2003 6:52:16 PM #
Whoops, and SKA's comment has vanished. While I may also feel a good deal of his posts are trollish, giving the benefit of the doubt, doesn't he have the right to post even if he's wrong? The lack of the post means the lack of an answer. And who knows how many people silently have the same question? I know I for one have been surprised at the number of my own posts that have vanished, minutes after sending.

If his post is nuked for irelavancy, I would think my reply should go out along with it. Otherwise it's hangs out in left field... A reply to a now non-existant interjection.

RE: This will Rock
Lidocaineus @ 1/16/2003 4:19:44 AM #
Answers or comments that are wrong I don't mind; discussion is good. Ska, however, always posts for one reason, and it's goal isn't constructive. I for one am not blindly loyal to PalmOS devices, nor am I a fanatic for PPC - each platform has its plusses and minuses, and all have various price points which factor heavily into the picture.

In other words, there is no one size fits all PDA. Unfortunately, ska either doesn't know this, is blindly loyal to Microsoft (though the idea is so ludicrous to believe there are people like that), or just wants to rile people up. I supposed it's a combo of all of the above.

The poor kid really needs to focus on more important things in life than worrying about what's "the best" and "who wins".

RE: This will Rock
Admin @ 1/16/2003 12:10:48 PM #
I removed the post because it was blantant misinformation. Ska and/or anyone else is welcome to post about anything on-topic, however I have NO tolerance for spreading false info and any posts that do so without any valid explination will be deleted.

opportunity being missed

cbowers @ 1/15/2003 2:00:05 PM #
Rather than this approach I'd like to see BT clip-ons for the PPK/stowaway's already out there. At comdex one OEM company was displaying just such a thing for a PocketPC version of the Stowaway. One would think that as popular as this keyboard has been, this module could sell in numbers if various connector options were available for the other versions.

For example the PalmIII series keyboards can still be purchased at incredible prices. With a BT clip-on you could use the same keyboard with the Tungsten T or the Sony NZ-70.

I bought my last PPK for $34 Canadian. They dropped to $9 (yes, single digit price for a PPK) over Christmas and are back up to $24 now. It's still about a bill and a half for the same keyboard in a universal connector or clie version.

I've not been one of the staunchest BT supporters by any means, but I'm not blind to the potential cost savings to be had here by not rebuying the same keyboards, cradles, cables, and connectors with each new PDA.

I've been able to keep the same gear from my Palm Pro, IIIx, IIIxe, TrgPro, HandEra 330, but I think that free ride has likely run it's course.

"will work with any bluetooth enabled device"

mtg101 @ 1/15/2003 6:15:36 PM #
"The first of its kind for mobile devices, it is assumed that this keyboard will work with any bluetooth enabled device."

Erm.... did I miss the part of the Bluetooth spec that provided a profile for keyboards?

I know none of the BT enables device I've worked with have this mysterious profile...

Artur C Clarke said that "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.". Thing is he wrote that some time ago. The updated version, especially in this context, would be: "Any sufficiently advanced technology, assuming you've got the corect driver installed, is indistinguishable from magic."



cbowers @ 1/15/2003 6:44:47 PM #
I think you're over complicating. Keyboards like this, the PPK/Stowaway, and even the Newton keyboard (which with an adaptor and driver was actually my first PalmOS keyboard) are serial keyboards. Therefore only a BT serial profile would be required.

Regardless, Bluetooth keyboards and mice aren't new. Microsoft's own use the Bluetooth HID (Human Interface Device) profile.

ganoe @ 1/15/2003 9:52:37 PM #
> Therefore only a BT serial profile would be required.

Therefore, if it was just serial, it would require a separate driver for every device you tried to use it with. One would hope that there is a keyboard profile that it uses.

Fly-By-Night @ 1/16/2003 8:57:53 AM #
I shouldn't imagine writing a Symbian driver for a keyboard would be too tricky. The articles states the keyboard is only likely to work for Symbian phones/devices. I can't see myself using one with my T68 in the near future!


Ceci n'est pas une signature.

One key feature that seems to be missing...

TobyG @ 1/16/2003 12:41:17 PM #
How is your PDA going to remain upright? I guess, they'll have to sell little tripods or easy chairs to prop up the PDA. ;)

"Never offend people with style when you can offend them with substance." - Sam Brown
RE: One key feature that seems to be missing...
Palm Cow @ 1/16/2003 1:05:18 PM #
You could just turn it on, connect, and put it in your pocket. That would be okay, but you couldn't see your horrid typos. If, however, there [b]was[/b] a stand, what would stop it from rolling over or something...?

Hail the Cow!
RE: One key feature that seems to be missing...
RogerC @ 1/16/2003 1:08:59 PM #
That idea might not be too far-fetched. The material from which that keyboard is made (silicone, not silicon, BTW; see returns to its molded form when allowed to relax. How about a PDA stand made of that stuff, molded in the shape of a section of a circular cylinder having a diameter just less that the width of the typical PDA, cut at an angle of, say, 60 degrees? When you're done with it, just roll it up with the keyboard.
RE: One key feature that seems to be missing...
ganoe @ 1/17/2003 11:02:08 AM #
Logitech KeyCase Keyboard:

Flexible keyboard, case and stand all-in-one. It's not Bluetooth though.

Why don't we all forgetaboutit??

alexito @ 1/17/2003 1:27:17 AM #
We have powerful procesors now!! and even more powerful ones coming. So why not just forget the keyboards that are from the age of stone and push the developers and manufacturers to give us REAL SPEECH RECOGNITION (real-time, failsafe, context aware, etc.) and just forget keyboards for good sake.

This is 2003!! C'mon.

Technology moves faster than you can afford... at least for me.

RE: Why don't we all forgetaboutit??
Impartial @ 1/22/2003 6:35:05 PM #
Even our desktop computer voice recognition programs aren't perfect. Plus, there are some situations where voice recog is NOT an option.
note taking
mj6798 @ 2/4/2003 6:24:18 PM #
Just imagine a room full of executives or students trying to take notes via voice dictation. I don't think so. And handwriting is slow and cumbersome compared to typing. Typing is pretty much the best input method there is: it's efficient, precise, and simple.



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