Brydge iPad keyboard gets a reboot

Brydge iPad keyboard gets a reboot

Summary: Generally I'm not a huge fan of iPad keyboards but I'm secretly carrying a torch for the Brydge Kickstarter project -- which just got a reboot.

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TOPICS: Apple, iPad, Reviews
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Brydge iPad keyboard gets a reboot - Old

There has to be dozens (hundreds?) of iPad keyboard accessories on the market and I'm not a fan of any of them. Mostly because I don't find iOS particularly well-suited for long-form typing because it lacks multiple windows and a mouse. 

Call me old school, but I usually unpair any iPad keyboard after about a day or so and never use it again.

But I have to admit that I'm secretly rooting for Brydge (which I covered back in April) -- not because it solves any of the above-mentioned issues, but because it looks so damn cool. (It might also be because it looks like a MacBook Air, but I digress...)

Brydge crushed its $90,000 funding goal (netting almost $800,000) on Kickstarter and has promised an October delivery barring any "major delays."

On Monday the developers announced that they've completely reworked the hinge to be more compatible with future iPad models. The new hinges (below) are fabricated from anodized aluminum (as opposed to plastic, above) and include silicon shim inserts that are much cleaner looking the plastic v1's.

Brydge iPad keyboard gets a reboot - New

The new hinge future-proofs Brydge's design. For example, if you upgrade from an iPad 2 to an iPad 3 you can simply replace the silicon shims in the hinges. Brydge will ship with shims for the iPad 2 and 3 and new shims will be available for future versions of the iPad, provided the design doesn't differ too drastically.

What are your thoughts on the new Brydge design? What about iPad keyboards in general? Can they replace a notebook computer in your setup?

Topics: Apple, iPad, Reviews

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19 comments
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  • Got a pic of the keyboard when opened?

    Got a pic of the keyboard when opened?
    CobraA1
  • This is some sort of hoax!

    I would think that this has to be some kind of joke! Right? There is no way that the people who designed the original had anything to do with the joke redesign.
    Raul Roman
  • Yuck...

    The original looked pretty good. The redesigned model looks like a pair of clothespins. But ultimately, I've just got to say: if you want an ASUS Transformer, just go out and buy yourself an ASUS transformer.
    dsf3g
    • ?

      Will it run IOS? ;)
      Raul Roman
      • Better

        Even better: it will run an OS with built-in support for mice and trackpads, which makes the tablet/laptop hybrid a more sensible proposition.
        dsf3g
  • Wow...

    That thing is ugly. I thought the original design looked really good, this new design looks like some kind of cheap, clip-on system and the silicone inserts don't do anything for the looks either. Maybe they could have made an interchangeable hinge design based around the original. Maybe even make it so you can attach it to the iPad and the whole thing is removable from the keyboard itself so if you had multiple iPads you could easily snap it into place on the keyboard. Or, if a new iPad comes out, you can easily get a new hinge piece for the new iPad and snap it on the keyboard.

    But that new hinge design is horrible. Sad to see that...
    heymatthew
    • Silocone inserts

      that's a shame. Most people who get silicone inserts do so to look better
      HugoM
  • I have to agree ...

    ... the new hinge design looks hideous. It does look like a couple giant clothespins.

    I've been eagerly awaiting the Kickstarter, because I don't care for any of the other iPad keyboards currently available, but this new design won't entice me to buy one.

    The old design reminded me a bit of the old candy-colored iBook laptops (probably the wave-like look of the hinge). It might have been bulkier, but it looked solid and kinda stylish.

    Why can't they make that style hinge but use their little silicon shims to taylor the fit for different iPad models?

    But this solution looks like it was designed by committee ... without a single person concerned about aesthetics, which are huge for most Apple customers ... including me.
    imalugnut
  • Ask the Kickstarter backers what they think . . .

    @Jason -- not sure if you are a Kickstarter backer of Brydge or not, but if you were you'd see that the feedback from the backers on the redesign is negative. Actually, "negative" doesn't quite cut it. I'd say incensed, vitriolic and threatening would be more to the point. Backers are absolutely livid about the new design -- and if you think about it, who can blame them? The Brydge guys have given us a textbook example of how *not* to handle a significant product change.

    First, in the original design, the hinge was described as composed of "metal alloys and magnets, with a thermoplastic elastomer shell" -- sounds pretty cool and high-tech, right? And backers were originally told that it worked with both the iPad 2 and new iPad. However, when this disaster of a new design was unveiled, the old hinge was suddenly described simply as "plastic," in a clear attempt to make it sound outdated and unappealing in the face of the "improved" design.

    And what reason was given for this radical change? "To be compatible with both the iPad 2 and new iPad." Seriously guys? You told us that the *original* hinge was already compatible with both. Oh, and the new hinge also allows compatibility with "future iPads" merely by changing out the silicone shims. Really? So we're just assuming Cupertino is going to make sure that every iPad now and forever is going to be 241.2 mm x 185.7 mm? The odds on that seem pretty long -- I'm not sure I'd radically redesign a product people loved and backed in droves just on that basis.

    In short, there might be one or two positive or neutral comments on the new design -- but when you have literally hundreds of your backers telling you that they *hate* (that is the most common word used) the new design and the best you can do is respond, "Well, you might hate it now, but you'll love it eventually" (which was essentially the response from the creators), that's just bad management and bad PR.

    I'll make a prediction now that unless they revert back to the old design, and soon, you're goign to see a mass revolt of the kind that Kickstarter has never seen before -- and I wouldn't be surprised if there was legal action.
    mrmediaguy
  • Ask the Kickstarter backers what they think . . .

    @Jason -- not sure if you are a Kickstarter backer of Brydge or not, but if you were you'd see that the feedback from the backers on the redesign is negative. Actually, "negative" doesn't quite cut it. I'd say incensed, vitriolic and threatening would be more to the point. Backers are absolutely livid about the new design -- and if you think about it, who can blame them? The Brydge guys have given us a textbook example of how *not* to handle a significant product change.

    First, in the original design, the hinge was described as composed of "metal alloys and magnets, with a thermoplastic elastomer shell" -- sounds pretty cool and high-tech, right? And backers were originally told that it worked with both the iPad 2 and new iPad. However, when this disaster of a new design was unveiled, the old hinge was suddenly described simply as "plastic," in a clear attempt to make it sound outdated and unappealing in the face of the "improved" design.

    And what reason was given for this radical change? "To be compatible with both the iPad 2 and new iPad." Seriously guys? You told us that the *original* hinge was already compatible with both. Oh, and the new hinge also allows compatibility with "future iPads" merely by changing out the silicone shims. Really? So we're just assuming Cupertino is going to make sure that every iPad now and forever is going to be 241.2 mm x 185.7 mm? The odds on that seem pretty long -- I'm not sure I'd radically redesign a product people loved and backed in droves just on that basis.

    In short, there might be one or two positive or neutral comments on the new design -- but when you have literally hundreds of your backers telling you that they *hate* (that is the most common word used) the new design and the best you can do is respond, "Well, you might hate it now, but you'll love it eventually" (which was essentially the response from the creators), that's just bad management and bad PR.

    I'll make a prediction now that unless they revert back to the old design, and soon, you're goign to see a mass revolt of the kind that Kickstarter has never seen before -- and I wouldn't be surprised if there was legal action.
    mrmediaguy
  • Reality Check please

    I'm a backer of this project, I saw the new design and I've read the comments. I really think we need to step back and take a breath. The idea behind Kickstarter is to help start up projects come to market. It's an ongoing project, not a final product. Give the designers a chance to take in the comments and decide how to move forward.

    I think it's fine to provide feedback if we don't think the new design is to our liking but it seems everyone is jumping at the chance to say really negative things about the project and people behind it. Kickstarter is a great idea and a great community - let's keep it positive!
    Wayne Frenso
  • Iffy but hopeful

    I just recently preordered the keyboard myself and once I heard of the redesign being less than favorable I got scared...$210 is not an amount to just be throwing around...I viewed the new keyboard and my jaw dropped. Gross. But, I will agree with Wayne that this is a process and cross our fingers that this isn't the final model. Keep it up guys we know this can only get better :/
    Andrewtabo
    • I'd like my money back

      I did the same thing and bought it off the web page which did NOT feature the redesign but still had the old model. At this point this is bait and switch and I would like my money back.
      michael6265@...
  • lame

    That's massive and bulky. I'll get a Surface with a type cover thanks. I'll also get the benefit of having a usable device.
    Drobilliard
  • The Kickstarter

    I have just learned of this near perfect match for the iPad. That is because I am going to purchase the latest version iPad tomorrow; and, I have been looking for the accessories I plan to buy. I want one of these. But I have to agree that the first version is more appealing than this later version. I was set to go out to buy one of these. Alas, not yet. I have my own ideas about an aesthetic hinge design; but,...

    I am a creator, a musician by profession, and an artist by interest. I know that it takes more than a few shots at creating something before you find the perfect combination. I hope these guys do exactly that. I am willing to invest a little bit in this. There is nothing that looks this good; not that I have seen, so far. Up to the point of the hinge, this looks like it IS Apple.

    I do not know what any may have invested. I have no investment, yet. I would have to believe there is a desire to see this succeed. I certainly want to see that.

    Having been an Apple loyalist for more than a decade, as well as having spent enough money for Apple products to buy a new car. I have to say the overall idea for this product is great. The latest design change--as has been said in so many ways, is not. But, if this is a work in progress, the key should be allow it to progress. I am going to hold off on buying an aftermarket keyboard case/cover till the product has had a chance to develop. I'll just get Apple's bluetooth keyboard which will work with the iPad and my MBP. I'll get a Smart cover and be happy, till...
    dDeaconSC
  • Huge downgrade from original concept

    Check out http://www.cpeel.net/23-ipad-notebook-case-adds-notebook-capabilities-to-your-ipad-2.html for something that looks cool and way more for 85 bucks.
    gerrywieder
    • iPad case

      Gerry, that's what I am currently using and I only paid $59 for it. It's plastic and falling apart after almost year of heavy use but it's getting the job done for now.

      I'd happily sell my Brydge for a discounted price so I can pick up I've been eyeing but need to wait until I can sell the Brydge.
      Annette Ciotola
  • As a backer - 11-13-2012

    Sadly the design has not change other then they reduced some of the keys on the keyboard (which upset more people) and now, as of two days ago, they announced the non-speaker model is ready to ship but the speaker model ($210 and the one I backed) is being delayed because they decided to upgrade the speakers.

    They are shipping with the plastic hinges and they are coming with both the sliver and black colored. And for those who want a black front and the silver backs they are including black stickers.

    So that's what we're getting ... as some point. They have no committed to an exact date on with the models with speakers will ship. We can only hope for Christmas.

    Hey, if anyone wants to buy me out just let me know but I doubt I'll get any takers and I highly doubt this will fetch what I paid for it on eBay because that's exactly where it's going when I receive mine.
    Annette Ciotola
  • Brydge with speakers arrived today (Nov. 30th, 2012)

    Just received my Brydge with speakers today Nov. 30th, 2012. I had mixed feelings about the redesigned hinges when I read about it online and from the updates, but I have to say it's not all that bad in person. It came with aluminum hinges (not plastic) so it looks infinitely better than the black plastic color shown in the photos. It also comes with multiple sets of colored shim inserts. It came with the white shim inserts attached, but I swapped it for the black ones that I think look much better personally. Think.....silver/black vs. silver/white. I have the iPad 2 which it came set up for, but it includes 2 additional shims in black and white for the generation 3 iPad in case you upgrade. Black stickers are also included so you have a choice to make the inside front black to match your screen border....which I also thinks looks better. I'm still trying to determine if the speakers are actually louder or better than the iPad speakers. They are "stereo" but that's not readily discernible since it's like having 2 small speakers side by side .....but the volume on max really only sounds maybe slightly louder ...and I attribute that more to the keyboards speaker facing you .....more than it actually being much louder than the side/back facing iPad speaker. I did hope it would be somewhat louder than it is. If this was the new upgraded speaker, then I would not have wanted to hear whatever it was before the upgrade. In my opinion the speaker is the biggest let down in terms of what I had expected for paying the extra bucks. It's not that much of an improvement in sound.....except if you are sitting directly in front of the keyboard. If you walk away from it, it's probably about the same. Not a deal breaker for me ..... but not sure I'd opt for the speakers if I had to order all over again.

    It would have been interesting to have actually seen and touched the old hinge design since that is what attracted most of us backers to the design in the first place....but I'm not horrified by the new hinge design as it serves it's purpose to securely hold fast to the iPad. I believe the original hinge would have made seating the iPad "perfectly centered" easier.....with the new design you have "manually" try to "center it" so that it's aligned properly with the keyboard edges when it's closed....but you can adjust it fairly easily with slight pressure when it's closed to align it perfectly. I suspect the new design is probably lighter than the original hinge as well.

    Bottom line for me is that when I first opened it I did immediately wonder if the old design would be better. Visually I had a moment of "Ummm, this isn't as good looking as I had hoped, nor as intriguing as the original looked the first time I saw it advertised online in Kickstarter"......but in short order it DID grow on me as soon as I swapped to the black shim inserts and black stickers...it has a cleaner/sleeker look in black (the white looked a little cheap-ish-er)
    B_Koool