Spike physical keyboards for iPhone let you type with ease

SoloMatrix's Spike keyboards offer iPhone users a physical keypad.

With these Spike prototypes users can type on their iPhones through a physical keyboard. Josh Miller/CNET

For consumers who have an iPhone, but yearn for the feel and touch of a physical, BlackBerry-esque QWERTY keyboard, SoloMatrix may have the solution.

Its product, Spike, is a protective case that has a hinged physical keyboard, which can be overlaid on an iPhone's display.

This lets users type away on a tactile keyboard, without the need for wires, docking, Bluetooth, or an app to download. You can help fund (and consequently preorder) Spike through its Kickstarter page.

Slated for a September/October release, Spike will be available in two versions. With an estimated price tag of $30, Spike 1 is the cheaper model. Its physical keyboard flaps open when you need quick access to your screen. You can also remove and turn over the bottom half of the case entirely to move the keyboard to the handset's back.

Spike 2 has a hinged keyboard door as well; however, its keyboard can swing all the way around the back of the iPhone and snap into place for later use. This version will cost about $50.

The Spike 2 keyboard can swing all the way back and snap into place when not in use. Josh Miller/CNET

Though using it is easy enough -- you simply start typing once the keyboard is over the screen and snapped into place with the case -- the technology behind it took nearly two years to develop.

SoloMatric CEO Robert Solomon told CNET that a misconception people have about Spike is that people think its buttons push against the touch-screen keyboard.

However, the keyboard uses a printed circuit board to simulate akeystrokes without physically needing to touch the screen.

In addition to the two black versions of Spike, SoloMatrix developed an all-aluminum version for $150. It also anticipates releasing an updated version of Spike once the new iPhone is unveiled later this year.

About the author

Lynn La is a CNET editor who reviews and reports on all things mobile. She also writes about visual arts/design and the ways it intersects with tech. Before CNET, Lynn has also written for The Global Post, The Sacramento Bee, and Macworld.

 

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