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This is what a backwards keyboard looks like

Mon, 01/06/2014 - 4:41pm
Allegra Sparta, Editorial Intern

The TrewGrip backwards keyboard looks like a toy, but it’s a lot more expensive than your average LeapFrog. The Mobile QWERTY keyboard from TrewGrip will set you back anywhere from $250 to $350 when they hit the market later this year. This keyboard seems one of those advancements that’s just “technology for the sake of new technology” instead of something that will actually be useful and popular. At least it looks kind of cool.

TrewGrip unveiled their new product at CES, alongside other devices and innovations due to come out in the near future. The keyboard aims to allow people to reclaim some of the typing speed lost by downsizing tablets and other touchscreen technology into sleek and attractive devices.

It’s no secret that consumers have whole-heartedly embraced touchscreen gadgets. Personally, I can’t handle them, and when I try to type words tend to come out as indecipherable letter-blocks. The idea of a device that makes touch technology easier to use seems pretty appealing, especially in a world where texting and other silent communication is key.

That being said, TrewGrip’s new backwards keyboard seems like a worthwhile investment in theory, but lacks the functionality to be truly successful. First of all, it will take you about 10 hours of practice to memorize the layout of the keys, and you’ll probably look like a confused accordion player the whole time. They’re arranged like a typical QWERTY keyboard, but on the back of the device. This allows for 4-fingered texting instead of just thumbs as we are used to. Users can ease into the new setup by following the light-up guide on the front, but practice seems to be the only way to truly perfect the use of the technology.

Once you’ve mastered the keys, you’ll add about 15 words per minute to the average amount possible using only a touchscreen. This improvement comes at a cost, though. Tablets and smartphones are touted as sleek, space-saving devices. Users choose to sacrifice typing speeds for a phone that can be easily pocketed. TrewGrip’s keyboard adds a lot of heft to touchscreen devices, and it also looks pretty silly – especially in comparison to Apple’s paper-thin tablets.

Plus, when it comes to portability, TrewGrip’s keyboard just seems a bit counterproductive. Consumers want tablets and smartphones that are shiny and portable, not clunky and awkward-looking. It seems that $350 for one of these backwards keyboards will be more effectively used towards the purchase of a laptop, which is the preferred device for typing.

Maybe it’ll solve the “smartphone facial assault” issue that tends to arise when users text while laying down by allowing people to hold tight to its grippy edges. Alternatively, it could just make it hurt more when a heavier device slips out of your hands and smacks you in the face. All in all, people probably won’t line up for a bulky product that does what most already do on a laptop.

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