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Portable Pandemic: Now 36 Products Including Notebooks!

Think Outside Bluetooth Stowaway Keyboard

By Mark Raby

PDAs are just about the best portable gadget ever, but there's one thing that's always remained annoying about them - typing. You either have to mess with a tiny built-in keyboard, muddle through a tedious on-screen keyboard, master handwriting recognition, or hook up a clunky keyboard that takes up more space than the device itself. I love my PDA to death, but when it comes to typing something, I really just have to wait until I get to a computer, because it's simply not worth the hassle to write anything of substance on a handheld device. Think Outside has thought outside the box a little bit and they've come up with something that makes typing on the go a little more convenient - it's a portable stowaway keyboard. It links up via Bluetooth so there are no cords to get in the way, and it nicely folds up to half the size when you're not using it.

This is a full-size keyboard (without the numeric keypad), including symbols and international characters. When folded, it's thin enough and light enough (the whole thing only weighs about 6 ounces) to easily carry around in a purse or pocket. A couple other features worth noting are the user-programmable shortcuts and slip-proof rubber padding on the bottom. It's really a great PDA keyboard in its own right, and its emphasis on portability makes it even more worthwhile.

What's even better, though, is that the keyboard is pretty much universally usable with all Bluetooth devices. It's built with pocket gadgets in mind, especially since it does come with a PDA/phone stand, but you can use it with pretty much any computer that has Bluetooth compatibility. So if you want to type on your notebook remotely for some reason (say, if you're watching Big Brother on the couch while your notebook is being charged up, and need to write a psychology term paper at the same time), this keyboard will let you type without even getting up to go over to your laptop. This, of course, assumes you can see the screen or attached monitor on your laptop.

Think Outside boasts that the keyboard has wide compatibility with all sorts of Bluetooth devices. It works with Palm OS, Windows Mobile, Symbian, Mac, and Windows XP, so if you need some sort of extra keyboard, more likely than not the Bluetooth Stowaway Keyboard will work for you. At $150 retail it's a little pricier than other standalone keyboards, but if you really need something that's transportable, the price premium should be well worth it.