Microsoft flappy-keyboard looks like a wallet. I love it!

Posted on 02 March 2015 by

The new Microsoft Universal Foldable Keyboard is tiny and desirable, but pricey. Here’s my hands-on thoughts and video.

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If there’s one sub-thread that has existed throughout the last 9 years of UMPCPortal it has to be mobile keyboards. PDAs generated a reasonable market for folding, rolling, laser-projected and even fabric keyboards but it hasn’t been until recently that the market picked up again with practical engineering, materials and features. I run a Microsoft Wedge keyboard across a number of tablets and am currently typing this article on a Type Cover with a Surface Pro 3. It’s that Type Cover technology that appears in one of the lightest keyboards I’ve seen since my all-time favorite, the Samsung Q1 UMPC keyboard. The Microsoft universal folding keyboard is incredibly light and although it has a slightly split keyboard I like the layout.

 

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The key sizes are slightly smaller than you get on a Type Cover but not by much and there’s dual Bluetooth connectivity option for switching between two devices. My guess is 120 grams in weight but I could be wrong. Microsoft haven’t made the weight official yet.

What Microsoft have declared is an integrated a battery that lasts for three months, auto-shutdown on close, a spill-resistant design and a total height, when folded, of 11.5mm. Naturally, the Bluetooth HID profile support means it’s going to work across many, many devices and that includes some of those old PDAs!

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There’s a problem though. Where simple portable Bluetooth keyboards start at around $20, this one is going to set you back just under $100. That’s more than a low-cost Windows 8, 8-inch tablet PC!

Microsoft have a sales page up now. It’s ‘Coming Soon.’

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  • Clio

    Not “lappable” at all and too many pieces. To me ideal mobility still means all Human-interface hardware (KVM, mic, speakers, cameras, card readers, USB ports, NFC, etc) in a single rigid package. Some shape-shifting and detachable designs are ok, but the end result need to be one-piece and lappable.

    Note I havn’t included CPU/GPU/RAM/Storage in above list, if the technology allows, these can go into separate package.

    • Jon

      To me, ideal mobility is it being usable while standing like those old UMPCs: OQO, Viliv N5, Umid Mbook, etc. which included the keyboard and mouse in a single rigid body.

      • tmarks11

        It is a crying shame that companies decided that touch input was not only “the wave of the future”, but the only future.

        Physical buttons are what made all those UMPC’s great. You could quickly access features and functions without stepping through hardware menus, and editing documents was made easier with keyboards and cursor controls.

        The Everun UMPC “optical mouse” control was (too me) the ultimate cursor control on a device this size. I wish iPad’s used this; the stupid “highlight something with your finger and hold to drop the cursor… whoops I missed where I want it… can’t move it over cause no-curso buttons… try again… whoops… my fat finger is over where I am trying to place the cursor” is an exercise in frustration that drove me away from iOS (and I tried to like it for 2-3 years).

  • digi_owl

    A but sharp of a price indeed. But may be well worth it given the thinness when folded.

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  • This thing looks awesome. It would be perfect for my tablet. Lets be honest – if you want to type but dont have the motivation to carry a big note book with you, this thing will be a lifechanger.

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