Finding the perfect mobile keyboard accessory is essentially chasing a moving target as new and better products hit the market nearly every month. But one idea that has been envisioned in a number of concept drawings over the years might finally be real: a roll-up keyboard.
The Qii is presented as a full-sized roll-up keyboard designed for use with your smartphone or tablet device. In addition to keyboard functions, the designers claim that the device also uses its housing unit as a touchpad for functions normally associated with a mouse device. However, before you get too excited, we should note that the Qii is an IndieGogo project, which means that although the standard model of the device is offered for only $140, there's still a question as to whether it will actually hit the market.
And then there's the issue of credibility when it comes to these kinds of campaigns. Normally, when a team introduces an innovative product like this on Kickstarter or Indiegogo, they trot out their credentials and provide a company website link, thus assuring would-be funders/consumers that the effort isn't simply a lark by a few creative individuals. But in this case, there's no readily identifiable company or research website associated with the product.
After doing some digging, I found out that the man shown using the keyboard in the video, David Brown, based in Orlando, Florida, is also listed as the Chief Technology Officer for a Finland-based company devoted to flexible touch devices called Canatu on its website. However, on Crunchbase Brown is listed as Canatu's CEO, and you can see him talking about the company's latest innovations just a few months ago in this video.
These connections aren't clearly drawn on the campaign website, which could account for the relatively slow activity on the part of funders who may have, like myself, had questions about the credibility of the inventors. Canatu raised around $6 million from investors in 2010, and Brown refers to his role at Canatu in the past tense in his Indiegogo bio, so the details on the background of this device remain somewhat unclear.
Nevertheless, it does appear that this clever concept is something that Brown has actually been working on. The campaign is looking to raise a whopping $1,850,000 in order to launch, but it has only raised just over $11,000 so far, with roughly 26 days left in the campaign. Therefore, this ingenious device will only become commercial unless it becomes a mega-hit in the next couple of weeks.
You can see the Qii roll-up keyboard concept presentation in the video below.