Touchscreen keyboards were once an exciting addition to smartphones. “So streamline, so easy, it doesn’t even feel like I’m typing!” But it seems like after they’ve been integrated into nearly every technology we buy, we’re all getting a bit tired of them now; we miss the responsive feeling of buttons under our fingers as we type. Companies appear to be anticipating our increasing disaffection with touchscreen keyboards, with Samsung releasing the detachable qwerty keyboard for “heavy duty typing” to accompany their new Note 5 phone, and Apple working to improve the touchscreen experience with their Force Touch developments.
Now, LG are also planning to add to our standard touchscreen alternatives; the company have announced the industry’s first solid rollable keyboard, calling it the “Rolly Keyboard”. Inspired naming. They’re suggesting that it’s small enough to fit in your pocket, however, as possible as that may be, I do wonder if they’ve ever seen the limited pocket space in women’s clothing. Fortunately, it will also fit in bags and laptop cases.
The “Rolly Keyboard” folds up across four rows into an easily transportable stick and, unlike flexible foldable keyboards, is made from solid durable polycarbonate and ABS plastics, making it feel more tactile when used. Unrolled, it reveals two arms t either end to support a smartphone or tablet, and it’s only a little smaller than a standard keyboard; each high contrast key is 17mm, only one mm smaller than regular desktop keys, which should make it very easy to type on. The keyboard is Bluetooth 3.0 enabled, powered by a single AAA battery, which should be enough to power it for around 3 months. Conveniently, auto-pairing is enabled so that you can get to work as soon as you unroll it, and it can toggle between two different Bluetooth-connected devices at a time.
Having an easily portable and sturdy keyboard certainly seems useful for tablets, or for when you have a particularly long email to type up on your phone, and you don’t want to risk the socially deadly combination of your mashing fingers and autocorrect. Just imagine going into Starbucks, sitting at your table and looking at everyone clutching their smartphones. You’ll throw back your head in laughter at their efforts to type eloquently on such a cramped surface. Then you’ll pull the LG “Rolly” out of your pocket, unfurl that wide open field of keys and type with wild abandon as everyone watches on with a combination of fear and admiration at your ability to conquer the touchscreen that has been forced on us all.*
LG plan to unveil the keyboard at IFA Electronics event in Berlin next week, alongside their new G Pad II tablet. At the moment no cost has been revealed, but it seems that the “Rolly” will go on sale in the U.S. in September, before a wider release at the end of the year.
*the experience described does not reflect anything that is likely to happen in reality.
Main Image: © LG