TouchFire Keyboard the Ideal iPad 2 Companion?

Last week while up in Boston shooting videos of a number of tech and telecom companies in the area, I realized I left my laptop power cord ipad-keyboard-dock.jpgat home. Thankfully I took my clunky “luggable” Apple iPad keyboard with me and used it and the iPad to approximate the functionality laptop. It wasn’t the same due to some challenges I had with blogging software but I hope this annoyance gets resolved soon.

But what the experience showed me is the iPad can be even better with a solid keyboard. Sure, not really breaking news but I was pretty surprised at how much more productive it made me.

The challenge is I like the iPad the way it is with the Smart Cover and if I get a new case with a keyboard in it I then have to give up the Smart Cover. If I get an external bluetooth keyboard then I have to take that with me.

Interestingly I read about the ZAGG/Logitech keyboard case for the iPad 2 and it intrigued me. Coincidentally as I finished the article my next interviewee actually had the case. He swore by it… Loved it and told me to go to the Apple store immediately and purchase it. I didn’t. logitech-zagg-ipad-keyboard.jpgPartly because I didn’t want to – once again, give up the smart cover for something which wasn’t as easy and convenient to use. After all, there are many times I use this device where I don’t want a keyboard which makes all sorts of clicking noises.

So I searched more and found another keyboard by ZAGG. This one was a portfolio type but the same issue remained.

I also read about a new type of keyboard the TouchFire being featured by Kickstarter labs. I finally spent some time digesting what the keyboard can do today and am intrigued. It is ultra-thin, light and transparent and actually “lives” within the Smart Cover. In sort, it is a hybrid approach – not an external keyboard but it takes the onscreen keyboard and adds tactile feel. Moreover it uses the magnets on the iPad 2 to align itself. It also works with the original iPad so don’t jettison your old tablet just yet.

The downside to this solution is you don’t get the benefit of moving the iPad farther away – like you can do utilizing a bluetooth device. But then again, you really can’t move the tablet that far away since you still need to touch it to delete emails, etc.Kensington-KeyFolio.jpg

At $45 the keyboard is pricey but then again something possessed me to spend $69 on an iPad cover. But then again, right now I can spend $49.99 on a Kensington KeyFolio bluetooth keyboard and case – a 50% savings from I suppose it all boils down to how good this new translucent keyboard is. Should you pay that much for it I wonder? In addition, is it the ideal iPad 2 companion?

By the way, Kickstarter Labs is a community-based gadget organization – allowing users to fund and prepurchase projects they believe in and/or want to purchase. I just purchased the TouchFire and will be sure to share more once it arrives.

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