HolidayBuyer's Guide

Try before you buy, the 20-key keyboard

Kooky keyboard concocts test drive

The problem with trying to sell a new keyboard to the world is that consumers have to learn to use it. FrogPad, which makes a kooky one-handed, minimal-key keyboard, will try to get around that through an alliance with German software developer Giletech.

Giletech has developed a tutorial that lets you learn how to use the FrogPad in a few hours. It also serves as a simulator so you can effectively test out what it would be like to type on a FrogPad before you plunk down $120 to $150 for one of the keyboards.

I actually tried one out in 2004. It took a little getting used to, but it was fun to use. The keyboard has 15 letter keys and 4 function keys. Hitting the missing function keys lets you get to the letters not represented on the main keypad. The main thing you have to remember is to keep track of what function keys you hit, so you don't spell things like ]/$!@