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ThinkGeek’s TK-421 Adds Physical Keypad to iPhone

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Typing with a virtual keypad can be difficult for anybody to get used to, and ease-of-use is a major focal point for ElderGadget when we review tablets and smartphones.

Issues with touchscreen typing can also be compounded for seniors who might suffer from declines in vision, hand-eye coordination or dexterity. This often means they require the physical touch of a real keypad to properly control today’s high-tech gadgets.

If the problems associated with virtual typing are the only thing holding you back from purchasing a smartphone that utilizes touchscreen technology, such as the iPhone, you’re problems are solved. That’s because ThinkGeek has created a physical flip-out keyboard that’s compatible with the iPhone 3GS and 4.

With iPhone’s iOS4 now featuring Bluetooth keyboard support, ThinkGeek has become the first company to create such a mechanism, which it’s calling TK-421. With TK-421 you’ll be able to feel the keys as you type. It also works with all iPhone apps.

The keypad consists of hard plastic keys, often referred to as a chiclet keyboard. The layout is as large as it can get without exceeding the iPhone’s physical dimensions. Best of all? It doesn’t add any significant weight to the iPhone – a huge plus for seniors.

The only downside is that a few keys have been moved from their positions on a traditional keyboard layout to accommodate for TK-421’s compact design, which could initially throw some seniors off.

The operating systems of older iPhone models do not support Bluetooth keyboards. Thus, the ThinkGeek TK-421 iPhone case with flip-out keyboard is only available for the iPhone 3GS and iPhone 4. If you already own one of these models, or are looking to take advantage of the iPhone’s intuitive design and more than 300,000 apps, then this innovative flip-out keyboard could be a convenient, senior-friendly addition.


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