Keyboards come in many shapes and sizes, but the one that Elecom came up with skirts the edges of the word's meaning, since it is not a “board” at all.
Elecom has created the TK-PBL042BK, what it calls the “wireless projection keyboard.” The choice of words doesn't exactly make it clear what it is.
Basically, the product doesn't actually have keys, or a board, or anything of that sort.
Instead, all of the buttons are replaced by projections from a small, black, rectangular item that also houses the Bluetooth components and the rechargeable battery.
All it takes for it to go to work is a flat surface upon which the “light” keyboard is created.
As one may guess, the Elecom TK-PBL042BK is not something that PC owners will find much use for. After all, all desktops and notebooks possess physical keyboards that are easier to use thanks to familiarity, not to mention size.
As such, this new invention is something that will most benefit tablets, phones and other consumer electronics devices with Bluetooth support.
It definitely helps that the host interface model is already natively supported by iOS and the Android operating system.
The company most likely hopes to play on how end-users wish for mobility while still craving a means to type.
Tablets may have big enough screens for touch-based typing not to feel overly awkward, but phone on-screen keyboards leave much to be desired.
Unfortunately, prospective buyers will have to wait some time before they can feel for themselves if the gadget is worth all the fuss.
Elecom won't start shipping it until next month (April, 2012), and only in Japan apparently. At least we know how much it will cost: the price tag is of 28,875 JPY, which is the same as $352 / 268.10 Euro, according to exchange rates.