Getting Your Input
If you’re serious about leaving your laptop at home, you should consider buying a keyboard for your handheld. After using various Palm organizers over the years, I’m very proficient at Graffiti, the Palm OS’s shorthand for writing characters. But there’s a limit to how much I can write before my hand cramps up, not to mention the drastic decline in accuracy that occurs when I try to write quickly. I can recommend two keyboards for your Palm device.
The GoType! and GoType! Pro keyboards from Landware, Inc. were the original models designed specifically for the Palm platform. With a clamshell design, they’re light, relatively inexpensive ($70), and slip easily into a carry-on bag. They feature Palm OS-specific keys, such as programmable function keys that launch the Palm’s built-in applications, plus command-key shortcuts for activating on-screen buttons and responding to dialog boxes.
The only downside is the GoType!’s slightly smaller keys, which take some adjusting to if you’re accustomed to typing on a full-size keyboard. But, as with the keyboards found on PowerBook Duos and the PowerBook 2400c, people whose fingers are smaller than most often prefer these scaled-down keys.
The GoType! works with Palm III and Palm VII devices; the Pro models come in versions for the Palm V and Handspring Visor and let you synchronize your handheld with a computer directly from the keyboard.
The newcomer to the field is the Palm Portable Keyboard, which is the only Palm accessory I carry that consistently elicits oohs and ahhs from people. It too includes Palm-specific features like programmable function keys and shortcut keys, but the kicker is that it’s a full-size keyboard that folds up to roughly the size of the Palm organizer itself. Palm licensed the design from a company called Think Outside and sells the $100 keyboard for its line of organizers. Targus will offer a version for the Visor in mid-June.