13
Aug
TREWGrip-Thumb

There have been plenty of times over the course of many lengthy emails sent from my smartphone that I've wished for a keyboard shaped like something between a heavily armored headless bird and a stingray that's missing its tail. Okay, I may not have worded the wish quite in that way, but the point is that a new Kickstarter project is available that promises to make it come true nonetheless. The TREWGrip Mobile QWERTY is a handheld typing device and mouse that will give your smartphone wings.

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The TREWGrip wants to give mobile typists an alternative to the on-screen "hunt-and-peck" game we've been playing for years. Unlike most other Bluetooth keyboards, this accessory has a built-in mouse and intends to be usable while walking. Its wonky curvature is there for users to more easily grip the device with two hands. There are buttons on both sides and the grips can be removed or replaced, allowing users to type using whichever set of keys they prefer.

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Quirky appearance aside, there is a real draw for a device like this. There may already be Bluetooth keyboards that can integrate with desktops, TVs, tablets, and smartphones, but they generally are either too small for heavy typing or large enough that they work best resting on a flat surface. The TREWGrip, if it lives up to its promise, will be comfortable to use sitting on the couch, standing in line at a restaurant, or while trying to stay in touch during the morning jog.

The TREWGrip uses Bluetooth 3.0 and has a lithium ion battery that can be charged using, thankfully, a micro USB cable, and it will ideally have ten hours of battery life. It will weigh just over a pound, and it comes with one set of small, medium, or large rubber grips. Each are available in black, green, blue, and red.

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I imagine this is one of those proposals that you either love or you hate, but if you happen to be on the fence about this, the price might sway you one way or the other. While it's possible to pledge less and get your hands on a t-shirt, you will need to pledge $249 or more if you want to receive a TREWGrip when they've scheduled to ship in February. The project has raised over ten percent of its $100,000 goal so far, and there's still 22 days left to go for anyone who wants to jump in.

TREWGrip Mobile QWERTY: The next evolution in typing

Bertel King, Jr.
Born and raised in the rural South, Bertel knows what it's like to live without 4G LTE - or 3G, for that matter. He now lives in the City of Bridges, adjusting to the presence of actual snow. His phone of choice is the HTC One.

  • Kenny O

    A little steep pricing IMO

  • bydavidrosen

    i miss physical slide out qwerty keyboards so bad but that is that just looks awful.

  • tylerbrainerd

    This is just confusing and awful.

    • mesmorino

      Not particularly. I'm a touch typist (and I learned to type on an actual typewriter too!), and I think it's a nifty idea. Completely useless for me, since I have no trouble with typing on electronic or physical keyboards, but I can see the utility. It may also need better execution, but it's not a bad start

      • Ark

        No, his assessment is pretty much exactly right.

        • mesmorino

          Yes, because he obviously knows everything about keyboard design and Human-Machine Interfaces and Input systems. I don't know how I missed it before, I mean his breadth of knowledge and experience is so universal and omniscient that it is concisely expressed in a statement as meaningless as "This is just confusing and awful"

    • James Gibbons

      Interesting concept, but I think it is confusing too.. I have used the Split version of Thumb Keyboard on a tablet, and the actual QWERTY layout was great. This layout would throw me off..
      EDIT: Nevermind, I misunderstood the concept.. :

  • skylarkpilot

    I love the idea, but the size + price of this thing just don't add up. That thing is huge.
    I would like to have a sleek case for a 10 inch tablet with MS Surface like keys on the backside...that could be interesting.

  • http://papped.webatu.com papped

    ........why

    • Sorian

      When you must, absolutely, positively, type using something larger than the virtual keyboard while walking, on a couch with no flat armrests, and/or standing in line looking like a goober.

  • Ark

    Hahaha what the fuck

  • wideopn11

    Once you get used to swype/swiftkey and now google swipe keyboards everything else seems slow to me. I have a work issued ipad and I really wish it had swipe keyboard. I hate trying to type on that thing. I still wouldn't buy this though.

  • Matthew Fry

    This looks like an ok size for a 7/8" tablet but looks ridiculous on a tiny little iphone. They should have made a smartphone size and a tablet size. That aside, kind of a cool idea to flip the qwerty keyboard for vertical typing. Definitely not worth $249.

    • moelsen8

      Now that's kind of a brilliant idea...

  • Penumbra

    I don't think anyone can have a truly informed opinion until they've had a chance to try this out. Unfortunately, the Kickstarter crowdfunding approach doesn't give us the opportunity to do that. For many reasons, some of them legitimate, it looks doomed to failure.

  • Sergii Pylypenko

    Why no one implemented a dual-stick gamepad input yet? Where you're using analog sticks to select a key from QWERTY keyboard. This paper claims you can achieve 13 words per minute with little effort, and gamepad is certainly more compact than this thing.

    http://vis.berkeley.edu/papers/text_entry_joystick/2006-TextEntryJoystick-CHI.pdf

    I guess I should copy that to Ouya forums. Or maybe I'm blind and cannot find such app on Google Play.

    • Davis Hernandez

      that would only make sense on ouya, pretty hard to select keys with a stick while carying your phone and gamepad (which in the street you would look weird, even having a compact ipega or a moga, maybe an xperia play would work just as the psp did) but still trying to focus on the screen while you select the keys and walking its pretty hard compared to swype keyboards, after trying touchpal everything else seems just slow for typing to me now

  • sivkai

    I'll pass.

  • Keyz Karanza

    Having a hard time seeing how this is not a joke. It seems right about in line with this monstrosity...

  • jmlares

    My dad told me never to buy accessories or cases that cost more than the device itself. This would be one of those times. This is ridiculous.

  • Colin Kealty

    I think the main problem is it's vertical height, it does seem an interesting and unique approach, and not necessarily an unusable one, but just awkward in shape. Other than that, the fact that it weighs a pound seems like a bit much, no? That's over 3 times the weight of the HTC One, one of the heavier flagships at the moment with the S4 and iPhone 5 coming in weighing a fair amount less.. Just seems too bulky to me