back to article Would YOU touch-type on this chunk-tastic keyboard?

The TREWGrip keyboard is designed for butter-fingered mobile users who are keen to touch type as fluidly on their smartphones as they would on a desktop keyboard. The keys are positioned on the back of the pad, piano accordion style, allowing you to depress them with the outstretched fingers of your hand, which is firmly …

  1. JDX Gold badge

    Niche but interesting

    Sounds like if it were on Dragons' Den they'd say "great idea but it's not a big enough business to invest in".

  2. Pen-y-gors

    Very interesting but...

    But rather large. Smartphones fit in pocket/handbag. TREWgrip doesn't. If you've got room in your bag for one of these, you've probably got room for an 11" notebook with real keyboard anyway.

    Yes, handy for people who need to type standing up, but that's about it.

  3. TRT Silver badge

    I'm busy typing this before my train...

    leaves in... *tilts arm to read time off new Apple iWatch*

    Oh poo! I've just erased everything.

  4. Nick Kew


    Sounds like a solution to a problem we shouldn't have in the first place. I want my Nokia E71 back, and the bigger blackberries from the same era had some great keyboards too!

    1. AceRimmer

      "I want my Nokia E71 back"

      Who took it from you?

      1. Alan Gauton

        In my case, envirofone.

        I was lured away to the shiny new touch screen device waved at my by my mobile provider. And still wish I hadn't got rid of my e71. It was a great device, especially for the e-mail/text side of things.

  5. Jan 0 Silver badge

    Eternal problem

    It's an excellent idea, but I won't buy this for the same reasons I never bought a Microwriter. It needs to be able to work with all the devices I use. I need to be confident that I'll still be able to use it, or a replacement, for the rest of my life. Until then I'll stick with the crummy keyboards that I can connect with all my devices. (Yes I need wireless and wired keyboards, but at least they all have, more or less, the same key layout.)

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Eternal problem

      I take your point - you don't want to invest time in learning to use a device that you won't be able to use forever.

      However, from your phone or PC's point of view, this is just a standard Bluetooth HID keyboard.

    2. Nick Ryan Silver badge

      Re: Eternal problem

      Was trying to remember the name of that device from the late 70s... Microwriter - the device that was interesting but useless for almost everything due to certain little functional issues. Connectivity - good luck with that. Editing - you basically can't edit until you get the text into a more conventional device.

      This said, the rather more recent follow up CyKey does look vaguely interesting. It would look a bit more interesting if it was possible to connect it to any form of modern device without all kinds of nasty kludges and cables. They claim to be working on bluetooth support but are having licensing problems... which is a little strange seeing as bluetooth chips are pretty damn easy to get up and running as they are largely "commodity" systems now, but maybe the problem is more integration / configuration and power management on CyKey's side.

      Still a niche product though.

      1. Len Goddard

        Re: Eternal problem

        Yeah, microwriter. Surprisingly easy to achieve a reasonable degree of competence. Issued to clerks in magistrates courts at one time. I knew guys who could type on them at phenominal speed ... until the RSI caught up with them.

  6. Nick L

    Time for Chording keyboards to make a resurgence?

    Is it about time someone "invented" chording keyboards, like the Microwriter, again?

    1. Dave 126 Silver badge

      Re: Time for Chording keyboards to make a resurgence?

      Built into a mobile phone case, perhaps?

  7. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good start.

    Needs a mouse lock button and needs to be easily collapsible/ decollapsible. Then I'll buy.

    Also magnets are evil. have a gripper option, I'll sacrifice a couple of millimeters of screen size to have it hold on properly.

  8. Simon Harris

    Prior art?

    I think I've seen something like this before...

  9. Gordon 10

    Hang on sec

    How did they get enough money off kickstarter to afford a booth at MWC?

    (what do you mean its a *real* product - shurely shom mistache)

  10. Dave 126 Silver badge

    Cost / Benefit (cons / pros)


    - some learning required

    - large to carry

    - hard to stow/ juggle if user need to consult eg a paper document


    - requires less learning than a Microwriter or other chorded typing solution.

    I've posted links about the lad who made an Arduino-based chorded-keyboard mobile phone case....

    seems someone has put a similar project (3D files etc) on Github:

    1. Nigel 11

      Re: Cost / Benefit (cons / pros)

      Killer cost omitted. It requires that you support the weight of the thing out in front of you while you use it. To say nothing of the weight of both your arms. Ergonomic FAIL. (BTW, it's probably illegal for a business to ask its staff to use such a device, under the EU VDU regulations).

      If you doubt me on this, try holding an ordinary keyboard in the illustrated pose for a few minutes, and then consider what several more hours would be like.

      1. skeptical i

        Re: Cost / Benefit (cons / pros)

        Hi, Nigel: Good point. Do we know how this might compare to, as another commentard mentioned above, doing surveys with clipboards and pens? Genuinely curious, since I'm having a difficult time thinking who would use one of these enough to justify the cost aside from survey-takers, nursing staff, and others whose clipboard is part of the uniform. Neat idea, but might be a solution in search of a problem?

  11. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Not much use without

    elbow controls for shift-lock and backspace, knee buttons for non-western characters, and a button that plays 'la cucurcha'

    Does it comes with a steel ring to attach the monkey's leash?

    1. elDog

      Re: Not much use without

      Maybe you have another unused spare appendage that could function as the "Ctrl-Alt-Del" key. I know mine needs some exercise once in a while.

  12. St3n

    Too niche for me

    I wouldn't be able to fit the keyboard in my pocket, so not for me.

    What I would like to see though, is a remake of the Nokia Communicator with a decent size keyboard again, along with all the symbols I need for coding, all accessible without going into key menus etc.

  13. MonkeyFeet

    Being able to touch type is obviously a prerequisite for this to be useful.

    1. Duffy Moon

      Exactly. I can't touch type now, and I've been using a keyboard for over 20 years. What's wrong with Swype anyway? I'm using one right now and it's pretty fast.

  14. DuncanL

    Available in the “early spring of 2015”?

    Erm - surely it is early spring 2015? Seems like a short timescale to go from pre-production to selling it in a week or two?

    Or (more likely) they mean 2016?

  15. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    given the illustration

    I can't stop but think there's plenty of potential in the design to make it more stable in those long, lonely tube rides. Something for him and something for her. But then, keyboards are so passe, perhaps a touchpad, appropriately shaped?

  16. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Oh yes I can really see this catching on

  17. Anon5000


    If it was half the size and a tenth of the price, I would buy it.

    A mini Bluetooth keyboard or even a small £5 usb keyboard connected might not look or feel as good in the hands as this product, but defo feels better on the wallet for what is essentially a plugin keyboard.

  18. Cuddles

    " ideal for people conducting street surveys"

    Potentially, but the main problem I can see is that it doesn't appear to be ideal for anything else. Touch-typing on a mobile might be nice, but if it requires something the size of a small laptop to manage it, you've rather lost the advantages of a mobile.

    The whole "high friction pad with magnets" seems to asking for trouble as well. Sure, it's fine when you're holding it in front of you, but what if you want to rest your arms for a minute? If the phone falls off as soon as you drop it to your side, that's not going to be much use for anyone.

  19. Hollerith 1


    I have a nifty little mobile with a great, small keyboard that fits in my pocket. Surely job is done? No, it thumb-type, not touch-type, but as I am a two-finger typist anyway, I am just as fast on my BlackBerry Classic.

  20. Infernoz Bronze badge

    ha ( ha){4}

    Seriously, it's stupidly large and bulky; even a 10" tablet would take up less space!

  21. Tom 38

    eight to 10 hours to achieve unconscious competence at 90 to 100 per cent of their flat keyboard typing speed.

    Is this people who can type or people who can't type? Achieving 90 to 100 per cent of my mum's typing speed, not impressive, the real question is can a trained typist get up to 100 wpm out of the beasty?

    1. Sanctimonious Prick

      @Tom 38

      ...and with 98% accuracy!?

      1. Chris Evans

        Re: @Tom 38

        IIRC "98% accuracy" is a fail for a typing exam.

  22. Stevie


    But ... you'll look like a tw*t using it and eventually get carpal tunnel from typing with the wrists cocked (according to my GP).

    1. Chris Evans

      Re: Bah!

      The hand/finger positions look more natural than using a standard keyboard!

  23. David Pollard

    You have to learn where the keys are?

    For what they are charging you would expect it to teach itself where your fingers are.

  24. Len Goddard


    Good voice recognition and a throat mike. Then all you need to do is learn to subvocalize.

  25. Saigua

    The built selfie-stick environment gets caissons.

    Looks nice. Saves nailing my hands and feet to my custom gaming keyboard and being carried around by Ibis. Whenever I need to be heard going CLACK CLACK over a large event, this is the thing. I'll just store it on my back, or as a fashion goiter until I need to look awkward and ignore my fun note apps like Fii. Looks like it could double as a kettle bell. And a fire extinguisher or chocolate nib cold brew rig if I have the demographic right, I think.

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