This time we review the Mobis RoKy˛, a flexible, lightweight, water repellent, fabric keyboard created for use with Windows Mobile, Symbian and BlackBerry mobile devices. This is an interesting accessory for mobile users who feel the need to write longer documents and e-mails while on the go, but don't want to carry a heavier keyboard or larger mobile device.
The RoKy˛ uses the ElekTex technology, a smart fabric buit on conductive textiles that can be used to create garments and accessories.
With 63-key and QWERTY format, the keyboard includes full size cursor keys, shortcut functions and weighs only 68g (2.4 oz). It measures 306 x 124mm (12 x 4.5") when open, or 124 x 48 x 32mm (5 x 2 x 1.2") when rolled up and stored.
The RoKy˛ keyboard utilises Bluetooth wireless technology to communicate with your mobile device. It requires a program that will act as a driver, and communication between device and keyboard is through the Bluetooth serial port, not the HID profile. This means the RoKy˛ cannot be used with a Bluetooth enabled laptop or desktop - it would be perfect for UMPCs and we can only hope Mobis create a Windows driver, or update the RoKy˛ to connect via HID instead of a serial port.
Users can utilise the keyboard for up to 10 hours with a pair of AAA batteries. It is compatible with Palm handhelds, RIM BlackBerry, Symbian Smartphone S60 (v2.0, 2.1), Symbian Smartphone UIQ (v2.0, 2.1), Windows Mobile 2003 and Windows Mobile 5.0.
For my tests I connected the RoKy˛ to a Palm Treo 700wx running Windows Mobile 5. The drive installation was really easy, but pairing the RoKy˛ with my Pocket PC wasn't that easy. It could have been my review unit, but it took me many attempts to place the RoKy˛ in pairing mode. And after completing the pairing, it took me some more attempts to make the green LED come up and stay up, waiting for my Pocket PC connection.
Once you pair your mobile device and the RoKy˛ you will need to create new outgoing COM port to connect to it. Very easy and it's intuitive on Windows Mobile. Once the COM port is created, you can start the driver program and connect. It will automatically scan available COM ports until it matches the keyboard.
Once this was sorted the RoKy˛ was really easy to use. Don't expect tactile feedback though - it's so thin and light it's like typing on the desk. But it works and you have the option to head "clicks" when typing.
You can be quite fast once you get used to the lack of feeback, and there are some shortcut keys you need to learn - the most important is "Alt S" to bring the Start Menu.
You will find CTRL, ALT, SHIFT and CAPS keys in the RoKy˛ and you just have to remember to press one key, release it, and then press the other key.
Brilliant piece of technology - light, flexible
Good space between keys
Ten hours battery life
My unit had some problem with the On/Off button or firmware because it wouldn't turn on and stay on for longer than a few seconds, unless a connection existed - regardless of setting on driver