A Computer in a Keyboard? Sounds Cool. And Retro

By  |  Friday, August 21, 2009 at 10:54 am

Asus produces such a surging sea of variations on its Eee PC netbook–including computers that aren’t netbooks–that it’s hard to keep track of them all. So I don’t blame myself for somehow missing one that was demoed back at CES in January: the Eee Keyboard, which packs a computer inside a slim-looking keyboard. (Specswise, it’s essentially a laptop without a screen.)

The Eee Keyboard has a touchscreen to the right of the keys and HDMI output, and DigiTimes is reporting that it’ll be out “as early as October” for $400-$500. Here’s a video demo by UMPC Portal, shot at the CeBIT show in Germany:

I’m not so sure about that touch-screen, which looks a trifle weird, period, and possibly unusable for southpaws like me. But an Eee PC hooked up to a TV as a sort of giant remote control has potential. One of the reasons I still don’t have a TV in my living room is that I’ve never seen one I’d want to put in my entertainment center. But with this computer, there’s nothing to put anywhere but in your lap.

And hey, I’m not ashamed to admit that I find the Eee Keyboard intriguing in part because the very first computer I used was also a PC-in-a-keyboard. (No, that’s not a touchscreen to the right of the keys–it’s a big ol’ TRS-80 logo.)

TRS-80

(TRS-80 image borrowed from Radio Shack Catalogs.)

 
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8 Comments For This Post

  1. TADAengineer Says:

    Too true, and let us not forget the VIC and Commodores.

    Let people trash the “trash-80″ series, but I still credit RS with the first practical laptop, the Model 100.

  2. Dave Mackey Says:

    It’s like a Commodore 64… only useful. It also brings to mind a dumb terminal I used to have which just hooked up to your TV screen and you could use it to log onto Tymnet or Telnet and get to your favorite text-based service, be it CompuServe, Delphi, or good ol’ BIX.

  3. Backlin Says:

    This keyboard plus Wireless HDMI would equal total awesomeness!

  4. Hamranhansenhansen Says:

    A really, really, really good Bluetooth keyboard is $70. An iPod touch or similar device is $229. So the Eee Keyboard as 2 separate devices would be under $300. As 2 separate devices, you can use the touchscreen part like you would an iPod touch, and you can position it horizontally across the top of the keyboard where it’s more useful for typing. And if the E key breaks on your separate keyboard you only have to replace the keyboard. And you could use found Bluetooth keyboards as you travel with just the touchscreen part.

    I just don’t see that there is any utility in the Eee Keyboard design at all. If this was just a Bluetooth keyboard with an integrated holder on top center for various small devices they could sell for $79 and be an interesting device. People would start asking Apple for iPod compatibility with it.

    > Eee PC hooked up to a TV as a sort of giant remote control
    > has potential

    The iPod touch for US$229 is already doing this with numerous remote control apps, including a free one from Apple that controls iTunes or AppleTV. The iPod touch has the same form factor as a TV remote and makes more sense to me in that role.

    Nerds love the keyboard (I am one so I know) but 98% of humankind does not want the keyboard. Especially not in the living room. Also, the keyboard is out of fashion due to iPhone. I guarantee you if Palm Pre had an iPhone-like soft keyboard and no hardware keyboard they would have sold double by now.

  5. airplane food Says:

    i think monitor in keyboard look too small for PC user. i better enjoy use PC with big monitor minimal 14 inches or more.

  6. drew Says:

    Cybernet has offered a zero footprint computer for years. The little screen on this one is pretty nifty thought.

  7. asus eee pc Says:

    the concept is great this keyboard is great innovation

  8. tyrosine benefits Says:

    Asus eee pc’s are very compact and lightweight, i love to bring them on meetings and conventions-     

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