FrogPad has launched the successor to its one-handed keyboard, a streamlined Bluetooth device that offers a complete range of keyboard functions with just 27 keys.
The idea of redesigning the keyboard seems, in a lot of cases, on a par with trying to make water flow uphill. Most of us, by now, have ingrained QWERTY muscle memory, and the idea of retraining to a new system — Minuum, for example, or ASETNIOP — just seems like a waste of time and energy. If it ain't broke, as the axiom goes.
The FrogPad, on the other hand, seems to have genuine potential. Originally launched in 2003, aimed at a market of engineers, gamers and programmers who like to keep one hand on the keyboard and the other on a mouse.
It has a potential benefit far beyond, though: with test users hitting typing speeds of 40 words per minute in just eight to 15 hours of training, and users on YouTube reporting double that speed, it could provide a more than viable keyboard alternative for disabled computer users who only have the use of one hand.
The keyboard itself consists of 20 main keys that contain all numerals, and upper- and lower-case letters, and seven additional function keys. Due to the way the keyboard is set up, you ought never need to press more than two keys simultaneously, and a special game — Pad Defender — comes with the FrogPad 2 so that you can learn how to use it.
You can also configure the FrogPad 2 with different profiles for different applications; for example, how you use your keyboard while gaming differs to how you will use it while typing. Configuring a "gaming" profile and a "typing" profile with the software provided will allow you to switch between the two with the tap of a key. You can even program macros and hotkeys.
It's Bluetooth-compatible with multiple devices, comes with a USB connector, and comes in a right-handed and left-handed version. It's available to preorder now for a minimum of US$149, due to ship in February 2014. You can see a demonstration of the original iFrog keyboard below, and find more information on the FrogPad website.