by Steve Siercks, Jordan Streiff, & Chris Rogers
computer news with the teen perspective
iTeen Review Of The Palm Portable Keyboard
by Brandon Drezner
May 4th, 2000
The Palm series of organizers have been the front page of many a review or commentary of late. However, this time it is not so much the Palm per se that I am reviewing, but rather the new keyboard for it. No, not the GoType, but the Stowaway from Think Outside.
Originally, Think Outside developed the keyboard, but Palm bought the idea and is now selling the miracle keyboard for both the III & V series Palms. They are in such demand right now that the order I placed for mine in late February, is not expected to ship for another several weeks. Constant shopping, however, allowed me to buy the only one from Office depot before it was sold.
Now what makes this keyboard so special? Well to start, even the GoType is special. The functionality of having a keyboard for the Palm device is unbelievable. What makes this keyboard so much better is that it folds up to a size that is not much larger than a Palm Pilot. The keyboard folds open and locks into itself to form a full sized keyboard. (69 keys). The size of each key is about the same size, if not larger than those on a laptop. This eliminates the difficulty in typing that one may have experienced on the GoType's short (top to bottom) keys.
Both keyboards have rather shallow keystrokes. This is one of the ways that the manufacturers can keep them smaller and more portable. With Palm's new keyboard, I experienced a slight learning curve. I am used to a 105 key keyboard with full spring action keys, but after only 10 minutes or so, the Palm keyboard felt as if I'd been typing on it for years.
For the more hard-core "Palmies," you'll find that this keyboard doesn't lack any of the niceties that the keyboard for your desktop has. To the right hand side of the keyboard there are four buttons. Each of them correspond to one of the hardware buttons on the Palm device. The keyboard also includes fn, alt, cmd, and ctrl keys to allow you to assign more than one command to a key. The keyboard has many built in features that allow you to turn on the backlight, create a "new" whatever in an application, delete and get details on memos etc., and respond to dialog boxes with "ok," "cancel," or "done."
Most importantly, since everyone knows how to "use a keyboard," the keyboard driver is a cinch to install and setup. Just hotsync the driver to the Palm and use the keyboard. The options in the driver for the keyboard are just that, completely optional. The setup of this keyboard takes only as long as your hotsync.
For those teens that already use a Palm in school, the keyboard would make life much easier. I have been typing up vocabulary lists, homework assignments, and notes for all my classes. It is difficult to keep up with your class with the stylus, but with this keyboard, keeping pace is no problem at all. It is small and light and will would travel easily in your backpack. For more info on how to use your Palm, take a look at Chris Rodger's article "A Powerful, Yet Cheap Alternative To A Laptop."
What better proof of the power of this keyboard than the fact that I speedily wrote this article on my Palm V with it. That's right, the entire article was written with this wonder keyboard. OK, so now that you want to buy a keyboard, you're wanting to know how much it costs. A whopping $99. For some people this may be an extravagant price, for others, a small price to pay for such a useful piece of equipment.
- Brandon Drezner
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Offering computer news with the teen perspectiv, iTeen Online started with a weekly column at theimac.com under the supervision of Robert Aldridge. When they realized that there was a huge demand for teen computer news, iTeen Online was born. iTeen Online posted daily, original content that anyone (including adults) could read. Hits soared and iTeen Online became the number one source for teen computer news.
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