How many times have you asked someone why they still have their old feature phone and they answered either, “I just like my keyboard” or “I can’t type without the buttons?” Almost 100% of the time, right? Well, despite the fact that most current smartphones and tablets forego the physical keyboard in lieu of software-based solutions, many consumers still desire that tactile response of pressing a physical button. Well, we’re hoping to fill that void with our recent partnership with Tactus Technology.
You may have caught wind of the Tactus Keyboard earlier this year as it made quite a splash at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas. The solution incorporates a unique fluid-filled layer that protrudes buttons to provide users with a physical keyboard on smartphones and tablets when needed and can recede back into the screen when not, thus creating both a raised physical keyboard and smooth touchscreen surface at the same time. As Ars Technica’s Florence Ion explains in a recent article on the future of touchscreen development, “Tactus Technology is focused on developing a kind of “microfluidic technology” where buttons rise up based on the fluid pressure on the covered layer. The idea is that the actual buttons only appear when the keypad is in use. Take a look at this demo video to see it in action:
We enjoyed Tactus’ concept so much that we’ve recently partnered with the company to develop a 7” Android-powered reference design tablet to begin showcasing the technology with device makers, as reported by TechCrunch. We’re still in the early stages of meetings but there has been quite a bit of interest from tier-one OEMs. If you’re dying to get your hands on a device with the Tactus Keyboard, you should expect to see it in consumer devices sometime around CES 2014.