We have been lucky to work with the folks over at iBIZ to get an exclusive of the new iBIZ Virtual Keyboard. In this review we will go over the software install process, fuctionality and ease of use. Many sites have labeled this product vaporware but as you can see we have it. The Virtual Keyboard leverages the power of laser and infrared technology and projects a full-size keyboard onto any flat surface. As you type on the laser projection, it analyzes what you’re typing by the coordinates of that location.
Once we received the virtual keyboard I was able to talk with a representative of iBIZ to explain the current situation. As many of you are aware of the litigation issues going on with this keyboard, I was assured that iBIZ is currently looking into a redundant supply chain so the minute we hear they are ready to ship you will know.
The virtual keyboard comes with adapters for Palm, PocketPC, USB, Serial and a power cable to charge the device. In order to load the software driver the user needs to copy the appropriate device driver onto the iPAQ and launch the cab file. Once this process is complete the user will find an icon in the program tab of the iPAQ. Once the application come up you are prompted with a considerable amount of options to select from. First the user would need to click on the “Enable VKB” to create the partnership with the device. Once this happens you will hear a notification beep that the unit has accepted the relationship. Once you enable the relationship you can then select the intensity of the laser that is appropriate for your surface.
When you click over to the properties tab you have an option for sensitivity of your fingertips. We found that setting number 6 was just right for our liking. You will also notice an auto repeat tab that we chose not to select due to the higher success rates we were able to obtain. Another great feature in the software is the ability to see how much power you have left in the device!
As you can see in this picture the unit projected beautifully and I was pleasantly surprised. It took us about an hour to get used to the typing style and also for us to get the feel of typing on a flat surface. I liked the overall clarity of the projection and also was impressed with the availability of an up,down,left,right arrow this was a nice touch and responded appropriately.
The only downfall that I noticed was that iBIZ might have thought of also including a universal docking station for the iPAQ. If you look at our photo’s you will notice the iPAQ was laying down and the cable supplied was extremely short. I was able to utilize on of my own universal cradles which made the typing experience enjoyable. During this time we were also able to achieve around three and a half hours of typing time before we had to charge the Lithium Ion battery.
Overall I feel iBIZ has delivered a stellar product. The projector was extremely durable and well manufactured. We did notice though the classic two fingered hunt and peck style of typing works best with the Virtual Keyboard. Which, if you use it with your iPAQ could be heaps faster than using a tiny on screen keyboard or handwriting recognition entry. If you are a geek like I am then you will love this unit.
Read the letter from Ken Schilling, CEO iBIZ