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BlackBerrify your iPhone with Spike keyboard case

You won't have to charge this compact accessory, but you'll need very small fingers.

Tim Hornyak
Crave freelancer Tim Hornyak is the author of "Loving the Machine: The Art and Science of Japanese Robots." He has been writing about Japanese culture and technology for a decade. E-mail Tim.
Tim Hornyak
2 min read
Tim Hornyak/CNET

LAS VEGAS--No one likes typing on a touch screen. So what if your iPhone case had a very mini QWERTY keyboard?

That's just what Spike from SoloMatrix is designed to be. When we heard about it last year, the Spike TypeSmart keyboard was part of a Kickstarter campaign that proved successful.

The tactile keyboard swivels out from its case and its keys make contact with the iPhone's on-screen keyboard.

It doesn't require separate charging, docking, or an app, and it works with capacitive conductivity through the screens on the iPhone 4 and iPhone 5.

Whenever a key is pressed and makes contact with the screen, it creates a grounded state.

Spike attaches to the phones in a snap. There's a number key that pushes the number menu on the iPhone's on-screen keyboard. Then you can type using the alternate number designations for the TypeSmart.

But your fingers better be very nimble indeed to get the hang of it. When I tried typing a few sentences, certain keys didn't register and words were missing letters.

I have a BlackBerry Curve, and there's really no comparison between the ease of use of its keyboard and Spike. The former wins hands down.

But if you want something very compact that doesn't require separate power or Bluetooth, Spike may be worth considering.

The iPhone 4/4s version will launch in February for $49.95, with the iPhone 5 edition following.

The price may drop if there's high order volume, according to Cody Solomon, SoloMatrix co-founder.

Since its Kickstarter campaign raised some $81,000, Spike could prove popular indeed.