On March 7th, I stumbled upon a report highlighting a new gadget. It was the first time I heard of WayTools’ TextBlade, a really tiny and foldable keyboard (not just) for mobile devices. I ordered it right away. Within the next weeks I hope to receive the TextBlade. I’m going to post a series of reviews here on ContentSphere based on my experience as soon as I can get my hands on it. But it won’t be the sort of reviews you can read anywhere — because I’m going to have a very particular and personal kind of view. 

Actually, the TextBlade had been announced as early as of January 2015. Unfortunately I can’t locate the report that made me that curious, but you can find a very detailed description including pictures and videos on MacRumors.

SciFi Coolness

So, yes, it’s cool, it looks like a nifty crossover between understatement and spy gadget, and it certainly comes with the aura of true innovation. But what is it that I’m expecting, or, what is my core interest? It certainly is not that I want to type faster — which is one of the USPs it is sold with. The reason is a rather personal one.

Crooked Fingers

Anyone who has met me in person might have noticed that I’m „sporting“ a few partly stiffened fingers (for those who’d like to know more: caused by Rheumatoid Arthritis). Nothing to be scared or happy about, but hey. Due to another medical reason, add a tremor to the stiffened fingers.

Now, I’m working at various screens day in, day out. It’s one (easy) thing to adjust your fingers’ position on a standard keyboard. It’s a by far more complicated challenge to hit the right keys with trembling fingers on your mobile when texting or writing mails.

Flipping Vowels

Enter the TextBlade. Being a German writer, I was always a fan of the older key layout for iPhones and iPads that enabled the typing of characters for mutated vowels (‚ä‘, ‚ö‘, ‚ü‘) by „flipping“ the soft key. I got used to it extremely fast and even missed it on the hardware keyboard. Then Apple scrapped it. Now, similarily to the „flipping“ layout, the TextBlade forces you to change typing behaviour. Yet the positive idea is to heavily reduce vertical and horizontal movement from key to key. At least that is one of its selling propositions. This might enable the user to type faster.

But that’s not the effect I’m looking for.

Relax, Don’t Hack Hectically

I’m looking for an improvement to stay on the keys — being more sure to hit the right ones. On every screen.

TextBlade’s nine keys layout (including the space bar) seems to essentially demand that. One finger per key, both thumbs on the space bar. That’s it.

Cons? Sure.

I don’t expect any wonders. I’m sure I will have to urge my little fingers to be part of the action. My tremor might limit the ability to develop the sensitiveness for the multi character layout of one single key. But I’ve got a feeling telling me it’s worth checking it out.

According to WayTools’ website, the TextBlade should be in around mid of July, maybe August. I’m really excited and can’t wait.

So, let’s see if it’s going to be a relief or rather the opposite.

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