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Typo tries again with another iPhone keyboard

gadgets Updated: Aug 02, 2014 11:57 IST


The iPhone accessory company backed by US TV star Ryan Seacrest is back after a legally imposed hiatus with a new and improved clip-on physical keyboard.

Called the Typo 2 and available to pre-order now for $99 directly from the company's website, it comes in two pieces that clip together around an iPhone 5 or 5S like a case and gives owners a proper QWERTY keyboard alternative to the iPhone's on-screen effort.

The keys are backlit so that texting in the dark isn't a problem and it has its own smart features such as automatically offering capital letters, quotation marks and apostrophes when its predictive typing system senses they're required.

In September, when the Typo 2 officially starts shipping, it will have been nine months since the original Typo debuted.

It arrived on the scene in January with considerable hype, thanks to Mr Seacrest's promotional efforts, but unfortunately the publicity caught the attention of BlackBerry who within days had filed a lawsuit claiming intellectual property violation.

Typo issued a statement saying that: "Although we respect Blackberry and its intellectual property, we believe that Blackberry's claims against Typo lack merit and we intend to defend the case vigorously. We are excited about our innovative keyboard design, which is the culmination of years of development and research."

But BlackBerry won an injunction and the Typo was withdrawn from sale in the US.

Whether the Typo 2 is sufficiently different or popular to succeed this time remains to be seen. And, at $99 (plus international shipping costs for overseas customers) it might seem like an expensive novelty to many people.

However, as the iPhone starts to become the handset of choice among business users as well as consumers, it could find a niche. And one thing it does offer is extra screen real estate because the bottom third of the display isn't covered up by the on-screen keyboard.