December 12, 2010

Since the iPad was released, there’s been much excitement about add-on keyboards using either Bluetooth or its dock connector. (So far, only Apple’s Keyboard Dock has taken the latter approach, and it’s not a particularly travel-friendly item.) The iPad helped inspire me to write an ode to to the old Stowaway keyboard originally developed by ThinkOutside.

So far, variations of most keyboard-case combos have met with pretty poor reviews due to the mushiness and membrane-like quality of the keyboard. The ZAGGmate, though, offers individual keys. They would also be mushy enough to earn the ire of any reviewer if they were on a notebook, but they’re an improvement over most of what’s out there as well as, of course, the existing screen-based keyboard . While I’ve seen some people sail along on its smooth surface, I find myself making at least as many errors as I do on the iPhone’s keyboard. Perhaps that is due to less frequent use.

The ZAGGmate allows the iPad can be stored  inside its aluminum housing to protect the screen. However, this leaves the back of the device unprotected. ZAGG, of course, will be happy to sell you an Invisible Shield to fix that problem, but you can also throw the combination in a standard 8” netbook slipcase for further protection. The makers of the ClamCase have updated their site to note that its product will be shipping soon. At least until then, though, the ZAGGmate is a great companion for the iPad, which I have taken to use at conferences due to its long battery life and variety of note-taking applications.

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March 25, 2010

image At Showstoppers this week, I had the opportunity to catch up with Zagg, makers of the Invisible Shield and a number of other neat accessories that the company as showing at the event.. One question I had was how a company that focused on inexpensive mobile accessories such as screen protectors got interested in making a high-end home AV multimedia tour de force such as the mighty Zaggbox.

Zagg’s nonobvious answer is that, in selling so many iPhone accessories, the company amassed a database of digital media enthusiasts who cried out for a solution like the Zaggbox, which is expected to sell for somewhere between $800 to $1,000. In any case, before going out on such a limb, the company plans to float the product and get feedback on it at the EHX trade show, where  it may come face-to-face with its first customers, custom installers.

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