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Mobile Accessories

Tiny magnetic keyboard delivers touch-typing with just eight keys

The portable keyboard has been reinvented once again, this time as the TextBlade, a miniscule magnetic click-together gadget with multitouch keys.

TextBlade portable keyboard
This dainty keyboard is made for traveling. WayTools

Typing on tablet and smartphone screens isn't everyone's idea of a good time. They're small, it's easy to tap the wrong key and you don't get the satisfying tactile feedback you get from a regular keyboard. A new take on portable keyboards hopes to remedy those problems in a package just one-third the size of an iPhone.

The TextBlade from WayTools packs down into an itty-bitty rectangle. Take out the three pieces and magnetically click them together to create a stripped-down keyboard. The angled key sections will appeal to fans of split and curved keyboards who like the enhanced ergonomics. If you look closely, you'll see the main keyboard consists of eight chunks, with each one covering multiple keys. WayTools describes this as a patented "MultiTouch Key technology."

The space bar is generously sized and hides a thin rechargeable battery inside. WayTools says the keyboard can run for a month, which is a little vague and will likely vary with usage.

The little Bluetooth-connected keyboard is compatible with both Android and iOS devices. It weighs a slim 1.5 ounces, so it won't drag your pocket, purse or briefcase down with either size or weight. The TextBlade is on sale for $99 (about £65, AU$122).

WayTools says the TextBlade provides desktop keyboard-style finger spacing and key travel that rivals that of a laptop. The idea is that touch typers can make a seamless transition from full-size keyboards to a travel keyboard.

It's hard to really judge a portable keyboard until you've had some actual fingers-on time with it. The TextBlade does look like an intriguing solution to a nagging problem with tablets and smartphones. For people who are sick of thumb-typing and accidentally stabbing at the wrong keys, it could help make working on the go a lot more convenient, minus all the bulk of a regular Bluetooth portable keyboard.