The last tactile smartphone has gone flat screen. With BlackBerry’s latest phone, all smartphone options are now flat. Flat is better, right? Not necessarily. Some smartphone users love the feel of a tactile keyboard.
It’s hard to hit the wrong letter due to pudgy fingers or send a word that you don’t mean thanks to Auto Correct with a “real” keyboard. A new startup has recognized this problem and created a really clever solution.
Tactus Technology has created a keyboard that appears when you need it and disappears when you don’t. Even better, when this keyboard appears, it can be felt and touched like a regular keyboard. When it disappears, your phone will have a flat surface once again – like magic. Well, it’s not exactly magic, but it’s still amazing technology that is likely to become hugely popular.
Microfluidics is the technology that Tactus has used to create the “bubble keys” the company has ben showing off. This is the same technology that’s used to create color printer copies. Basically, the surface beneath the keyboard is filled with a type of (non-poisonous) fluid.
When the keys are pushed, that fluid moves to the top of the keyboard panel. In turn, keys that were once invisible appear. In the world of microfluidic keyboards, you can have your smooth smartphone screen and a tactile keyboard too.
If you want this technology right now, you aren’t alone. Tactus is working on perfecting the bubble keyboard. Word on the street is that Tactus is in talks with a number of smartphone manufacturers. The company has told press that the technology should be in production by 2014. In short, you may want to hold off on that new smartphone purchase.
Opening Up New Windows
Not only will the Tactus’ bubble keyboard be great when it comes to those who prefer real keys, it’s also a chance for the visually impaired to make better use of a smartphone. When the company displayed the new technology at the recent CES conference, one blind man found the invisible bubble keyboard useful and interesting. I wouldn’t be surprised if Tactus finds a way to implement brail into the keyboard framework.
There’s no doubt that many smartphone manufacturers are going to want to jump on this technology. It’s not every day that a keyboard appears and disappears at whim. It’s also a way to solve the problem of deciding between a touchscreen keyboard and a tactile one. Maybe BlackBerry should have waited to see what Tactus was making before releasing its newest phones.
Then again, 2014 leaves plenty of room for manufacturers to come up with new devices that include Tactus technology. While you can’t actually play around with these keyboards yet, you can check out what the company is working on by heading to the Tactus website.
This is one company that you’ll want to follow! In the future, you may not have to choose between a smartphone with a virtual keyboard and one that has a tactile keyboard. Instead, you may be able to get the best of both worlds without sacrificing design – doesn’t that sound appealing?