Someone went ahead and did the impossible, they’ve created a BlackBerry keyboard for the iPhone.
Called the Typo
, this keyboard-case costs $99.00 and is currently out-of-stock until March because supply just can’t meet demand.
Typo works on iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s
smartphones and provides a secure case that covers the front and back of the iPhone.
What users are really paying for, however, is the tactile QWERTY keyboard which allows users to type on physical keys, just like they would on a BlackBerry keyboard.
The Typo has attracted a lot of attention, not just because it is backed by American Idol host and DJ Ryan Seacrest, but because it closely resembles a BlackBerry keyboard.
Typo has copied BlackBerry’s design, the shape and curvature of the thumb-keys, the metal frets that separate the rows of keys and even the tactile feel, or travel of the keys as one taps on them.
The Typo, which was shown off at CES 2014 in Las Vegas, also attracted the attention of BlackBerry
who sued Typo soon after they started taking orders for the keyboard case.
Newly-minted BlackBerry CEO John Chen said that, “The keyboard is our identity, If you copy our keyboard, of course we need to assert that right… If somebody wants to license it they’re welcome to do that, but they can’t just take it.”
This isn’t the first time BlackBerry has sued to protect its inventions. Early in the days of the first smartphone, BlackBerry went after Handspring in 2002
for using a similar keyboard in their Palm-powered device, the Treo 180. Handspring eventually licensed certain keyboard patents from BlackBerry.
Typo has responded to BlackBerry’s claim by dismissively stating in a press release, "although we respect Blackberry and its intellectual property, we believe that Blackberry's claims against Typo lack merit and we intend to defend the case vigorously."
"We are excited about our innovative keyboard design, which is the culmination of years of development and research," Typo said.
As someone who is familiar with BlackBerry keyboards having used them through the years, the Typo looks like a complete copy of what BlackBerry has created and refined through years of research.
The iPhone slides into the Typo Keyboard Case but to use it, you need to connect it via Bluetooth. Once connected, the Typo takes over all the typing duties on iOS so you won’t get the onscreen keyboard. The result is that you get more screen real estate available on the iPhone since the Typo takes care of the typing aspect.
The negative is that users lose access to the all-important home button and in the iPhone 5s Touch ID feature
which is completely obscured. This is certainly not how Apple wants people to use their popular device.
But for users who want an iPhone but miss the QWERTY keyboard function, the Typo seems to be the most popular compromise out there