Better User Interface with Silicone Keyboards?

If you own an iPad or a tablet, you’re no stranger to the frustrating moments where the device recognizes a different key when you’re typing. Plain glass just isn’t as accommodating as traditional keyboards.

However, as expected by many, the market has provided a solution for this. One of which is the use of an external keyboard made of silicone. Why not traditional keyboard? Well, the idea behind the tablets and iPads is their portability, right? Traditional keyboard doesn’t really fit with that category.

Silicone keyboards, however, are just roll ‘em and stuff ‘em alongside your tablets and you’re ready to go. But as devices tend to be, silicone keyboards aren’t free from drawbacks. So let’s look and weigh the advantages and disadvantages of a silicone keyboard.

Let’s start with its drawbacks.
• Lesser words per minute – as the keyboard is made of silicone it would take more effort to type on it as oppose to its traditional kind. People who are quite fast when typing will find their WPM lessen when using a silicone keyboard.
• Requires a flat surface – the keyboard also needs a firm, flat surface in order to be use effectively as it’s made of flexible silicone. That means placing it on your lap, bed, carpet, or couch is out of the question.
• Double button recognition – the keys of traditional keyboards are individually spaced while silicone ones aren’t. This means that users will find themselves pressing the backspace often as your iPad will usually recognize only half of what was type during a sentence run. This is due to the keys sticking together. The device won’t register the pressed letters or symbols as it thinks that two keys are being pressed simultaneously.

Now for the conveniences offered.
• Portable – as mentioned above, silicone keyboards can be rolled and stuffed in small bags along with your iPad or tablet device. Either you’re going to school or your local coffee shop, bringing with you your silicone keyboard isn’t as much a hassle as opting for the traditional kind.
• Quiet – you won’t be conscious to the noise you make to those near you inside coffee shops or the library when you’re using a silicone keyboard as it’s quiet as a mouse when used. No more of that click clacks from your desktop keyboard.
• Water resistant – no more worrying about spilling your coffee or latte near your keyboard either. Also, because it’s made of rubber it’s also shock resistant. You can drop it off a table and it would still function fine.

The New Breed

But silicone keyboard have evolve over the years. Recently, a start-up company from the Bay Area has developed a case for an iPad that actually “grows” a keyboard with just a flick of a switch. The case is filled with fluid that pushes the rubber up providing buttons parallel to the keys of your iPad.

This new breed silicone case/keyboard certainly increases the efficiency of iPads during use. No more pressing the wrong keys as the pop up buttons provides accuracy during typing. The developers even said that it increases your typing speed by encouraging the development of muscle memory.

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