All PDA users know that hand writing recognition can fail. Because of this various software solutions are available in the market. Builtin soft keyboards exist on Palm and Pocket PC. Third party solutions, like Spb Full Screen Keyboard are also available.
There are also many hardware based solutions. Models available reproduce the standard QWERTY keys disposition, bringing a familiar feeling to users already accustomed to the desktop or laptop keyboard.
The biggest benefit of these hardware solutions are increased speed. Although some software solutions bring speed improvements, some users are just not comfortable with writing on the small screen. Specially people that constantly need to put the PDA down on the table while looking for some information - a book for instance.
PDA Keyboards are a great invention, but users can't expect to keep agile while using full size desktop-based keyboards. That's why foldable keyboards were invented in first place.
These models are easily tucked away on a handbag, a PDA bag or a suitcase. But when open, they give the users the sensation of using a full-size QWERTY keyboard.
Targus sells the succesfull Stowaway series of foldable keyboards. The problem with this, and other series of keyboards, is that one solution doesn't fit all. Users needed to buy the appropriate keyboard model for their PDA. And often changing a PDA meant having to buy a replacement keyboard for it.
Targus is now producing the Universal Wireless Keyboard. This model is not tied to a specific PDA. The PDA is connected through an infrared link, with a software driver that will perform the communication control.
When folded this keyboard is only 14.2cm x 10cm x 2.5cm, and when open it uses an area of 28cm x 10cm. The key travel is 3mm, which gives a good feedback while typing. The keyboard uses two CR2025 batteries for the infrared communication.
Targus Universal Wireless Keyboard size comparison with a H3970
When open the keyboard presents a platform with holders, one of them with a spring mechanism. This will hold the PDA in place. A movable arm with the infrared can be adjusted around the PDA. This way regardless of where the infrared is located the user can still get a link.
Targus Universal Wireless Keyboard open
The software comes on a mini-CD. The user just have to choose between Palm .prc or Pocket PC .exe installation. The software provide controls to enable and disable the driver, key repeat, sound feedback and mouse control.
Yes, a mouse control! The software enables a rocking button on the botton right side of the keyboard to be used as a mouse. The confirm button right next to it is the click button. There's even a cursor on the screen. This allows total control of the PDA, without the need to use a stylus to select text or issue commands. The cool thing is that usual Windows commands for jumping for selecting characters, words and lines are present (like CTRL + arrow keys or CTRL + SHIFT + arrow keys).
There are keys to access the basic functions in both types of PDAs, plus a Windows key (doubles as a Command on Palm OS or Start Menu on Pocket PC). A Fn key gives some keys a double (and sometimes triple function), extending the functionality. There are function keys for New, Cancel, Delete, which are both used in the Palm and Pocket PC worlds.
There are also more small things that make the whole set more interesting. Like the MMC/SD card holder inside the cover, or the stylus well, so you can have the stylus always available on an upright position even while typing.
Yes, this is another cool product with our nod of approval .