'Transformer' keyboard to meet handheld needs

PUBLISHED : Tuesday, 09 November, 1999, 12:00am
UPDATED : Tuesday, 09 November, 1999, 12:00am

I have long been a PalmPilot user and like writing about related software or gadgets I come across.

Last week, after dragging my feet in this regard for about a year, I bought a Go Type keyboard for the Palm V.

You install a small piece of software in the handheld device, slot it into a space on the top of the keyboard and begin typing. Very convenient, since I can type about three times faster than I write - and that's under normal circumstances, not when I use the Graffiti Palm input method.

Being somewhat proud of my purchase, I used it to take notes at a seminar at the Internet World conference.

Afterwards, a British journalist came up with a big grin and said: 'I see you're using the Go Type. Just you wait till you see what I've got.' He reached into his jacket pocket and whipped out what looked like a Palm V. When he pressed a button it went through a Star Trek-type metamorphosis, flipping open and extending itself to become a full-size keyboard with a docking slot for the Palm.

The device - with proper keys that fight back when you type - is made by Think Outside (www.thinkoutside.

com) and unfortunately is only in beta test mode at the moment.

But since the unit I was lucky enough to be allowed to play with for a few minutes worked well for that time, it ought to be available in a few months.

The Go Type costs $988. I cannot imagine the Think Outside keyboard will cost much more.

I am in the market for a new notebook. How important is it that I get one that includes USB (universal serial bus) connectivity? JASON MA Hong Kong Very. Actually, I think you would be hard-pressed to find a new notebook without a USB port because these things have really caught on since Apple popularised them with the iMac.

You can buy adapters to turn serial and parallel ports into USB slots, but I would not consider any computer that does not have a proper USB port. There are plenty of USB-connectable peripherals on the market.

E-mail Larry Campbell at techtalk atscmp.com . Questions to Tech Talk will not be answered personally. Technology Post reserves the right to edit letters.