By Todd Bernhard on Tue, 01/21/2014
Forget that BlackBerry is suing Typo Products, the company that makes the TYPO Keyboard. Forget that Ryan Seacrest is a backer of Typo Products. Forget that their initial production run has sold out. I picked up one of the keyboard cases at CES and was able to try it out.
I really wanted to like the TYPO, but I'm afraid the TYPO is a case of too little, too late. So what about the TYPO keyboard is too little? The keys are almost an exact duplicate of the BlackBerry design, hence the lawsuit. However, the iPhone width is smaller than a traditional BlackBerry, so the keys are small and close together. The iPhone and iOS apps are designed for touchscreen data entry, so your hands have to leave the keyboard frequently to access onscreen buttons.
The TYPO is also too late because tens of millions of users have already adapted to touchscreen data entry. If it had arrived when BlackBerry was popular and the iPhone was new, there might have been an opportunity. The TYPO uses Bluetooth, so it has its own microUSB charger. It might have been novel if the $100 case had a battery and powered the iPhone, so you only needed one charging cable.
Finally, if the TYPO had been released before the iPhone 5s, I wouldn't mind covering the Home button. But with the TYPO, not only do you lose the iPhone's built-in auto correct feature, but, because the home button is covered, you lose the iPhone 5s Touch ID fingerprint reader functionality.
The market for the TYPO may be shrinking, but if you count yourself among those who really miss their BlackBerry keyboard, you may want to check it out.