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PDA Keyboard Reviews

Stowaway, Palm Portable and Targus Stowaway
For Palm, Handspring Visor, Clié, iPAQ, HP Jornada, Kyocera 6035 and 7135
- Posted in 2002 by Lisa G., Editor in Chief

What's in a Name?

ThinkOutside developed the Stowaway and sells it under their own name. They supply the keyboard to Targus and Palm, who sell the keyboard under their own brand names. So, regardless of whether you buy a Palm Portable Keyboard, Targus Stowaway or a ThinkOutside Stowaway, you're getting the same keyboard and driver software. The Palm Portable is available for all Palm devices, the Targus is available for all models listed above except Palm and Kyocera, and the ThinkOutside is available for all models listed above. You'll find Palm and Targus brands at most retail outlets, while you can buy ThinkOutside Stowaways directly from ThinkOutside.

The Stowaway is the most popular PDA keyboard to date, and has become the standard by which other keyboards are judged. Why? When unfolded open, the keyboard is a reasonably rigid keyboard with full-sized keys and notebook key travel (how far the keys move down when pressed). When not in use, it folds into a neat little rectangle not much bigger than a Pocket PC or Visor. You won't have to adjust your typing style to use a Stowaway.

Open the spring latch, unfold the keyboard and use the red-lined grips to lock the panels together and you've got a rigid keyboard that flexes only in the center joint when picked up and moved. This means you can use the keyboard on uneven surfaces, though you may be bothered by a bit of center joint flexing if you use it on your lap. Offset of center, there's a flip-up stand that supports your PDA for easy viewing when it's docked via the sync port to the Stowaway.

Installation and Driver

The software is excellent. You do not need to disable the keyboard driver when you wish to sync your PDA to your computer. The Targus and Palm branded keyboards come with drivers in the box on CD. If you buy the Think Outside branded keyboard, you'll have to download the drivers from their website.


Palm OS:
No Hackmaster required on the Palm. The driver installs as an application called "Keyboard" on your PDA. The application's screen, is similar to Palm prefs: it has a popup menu on the upper left to select between additional screens: General, Command Keys, Layout, Pointer and Help.

You can set repeat delay and rate, enable and disable keyboard, turn on key clicks (audible typing feedback on the PDA, but not really necessary since you can hear the Stowaway keys as you type), assign applications to 9 command keys, enable the Jog-Dial on the Sony Clié, select between Dvorak and normal keyboard layouts, and you even have the option of having an on-screen pointer display by pressing the Alt key (ever lost track of your cursor?).

Pocket PC: The "stowaway" application installs into your Programs group. It's a 4-tabbed interface which allows you to enable the keyboard driver, enable Hot-Docking, set key repeat and repeat delay, assign 10 Hot-Keys which can launch the applications of your choice, and set keyboard layout (normal, Dvorak, French, Japanese, German, Italian and Spanish). Unlike the Palm, there's no help tab, but then again, everything is pretty self-explanatory.

Conclusion:

As one of the most usable, portable and durable PDA keyboards available today for many popular PDAs, we strongly recommend the Stowaway family. Awesome driver software, closest to real keyboard feel and folds up quite small. Our favorite!

www.thinkoutside.com $99
www.targus.com $99
www.palm.com $99

 

stowaway keyboards

Dimensions:
Closed: 3.6" x 5.1" x 0.8"
(93mm x 130mm x 20mm)
Open: 13.8" x 5.1" x 0.44"
(352mm x 130mm x 11mm)

Weight:
7.9 ounces (224 grams)

Keyboard Layout: 100% full size standard QWERTY

Key Spacing and Travel: 19mm horizontally and vertically - the same as desktop computer keyboards, travel: 3mm- the same as notebook computers.

Stowaway keyboard for Kyocera 7135

Above: the Stowaway for Kyocera 7135 Palm OS Smartphone.

 

 

 

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