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The best of both worlds?
Blackberry users the world over, but especially in the US, have been flocking to the iPhone. Talk to them and you'll hear many say that they loved the keyboard and miss it, but they couldn't do without the great iPhone software anymore.
Now a startup, co-founded and partly funded by Hollywood and radio big shot Ryan Seacrest has come out with The Typo Keyboard, a case for the iPhone 5/5S that integrates a Bluetooth keyboard obviously reminiscent of the BlackBerry's.
It's reminiscent enough that BlackBerry has filed suit against Typo Products LLC, alleging "...patent infringement and that Typo has blatantly copied BlackBerry’s keyboard..."
We claim no particular legal expertise in these matters, but we see their point. It's hard not to think of the BlackBerry when you look at and use the TYPO.
Does it succeed? As a keyboard, yes. Just like the BlackBerry, it's a pleasure to use for typing compared to the iPhones or most other soft keyboards.
We do have some problems with the design which we'll go into in some more detail on the pages that follow. When you consider them all, the many downsides of the TYPO become clear.
One big problem is that, because the TYPO covers the iPhone keyboard, it also covers the Touch ID, the fingerprint reader on the iPhone 5S. No doubt many users buy the 5S with Touch ID in mind, so that's certainly something to consider. Consider also that the iPhone 5 is no longer for sale and the TYPO doesn't fit the 5C.
The company was accepting pre-orders, but these ran out. New orders will be shipped mid-March, although the company warns that only limited quantities will be available. The TYPO keyboard costs $99. That's a lot of money for a device like this, but it could be worth it to you if you type a lot and you miss that BlackBerry keyboard feel.
A copy? What do you think?
The keyboard on the left is the BlackBerry Q10. On the right is an iPhone 5 clothed within a TYPO.
When asked about the lawsuit, TYPO issued this statement:
- "We are aware of the lawsuit that Blackberry filed today against Typo Products. Although we respect Blackberry and its intellectual property, we believe that Blackberry’s claims against Typo lack merit and we intend to defend the case vigorously. We are excited about our innovative keyboard design, which is the culmination of years of development and research. The Typo keyboard has garnered an overwhelmingly positive response from the public. We are also looking forward to our product launch at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas next week and remain on track to begin shipping pre-orders at the end of January."