All Palm OS PDAs
19K free for driver or 15K free for hackmaster version of driver
Landware’s GoType! keyboard is the answer to many
Piloteer’s wishes. Finally a compact touch typeable keyboard that doesn’t require any
special cables to use and works with both the PalmPilot and Palm III.
The GoType! keyboard is a small QWERTY keyboard made especially for the PalmPilot or Palm
III. It incorporates a unique lid and hinge that when opened reveals a connector that will
fit either a PalmPilot or Palm III. The keyboard is grey and matches the PalmPilot
perfectly. GoType! doesn’t use batteries, it is a very low powered device that uses the
power from your PalmPilot.
A special pull out stand slides out from under the bottom of the keyboard that helps keep
things steady while you’re typing. I used the keyboard without pulling out the stand and
didn’t have a problem with it wanting to tip over.
The actual keyboard is of decent quality. It’s as good as some laptop keyboards. The
GoType! is about the same size as a Newton keyboard except that the Newton keyboard is
about .5″ wider. The GoType’s physical size is 10″ x 4″ x 0.75″ and
weight is 11 oz. Key spacing is 17mm. The actual key travel is 2.3mm and feels fine to
type on. The F and J keys have raised dots to help touch typists stay on the home row.
There are also keys for special Palm OS functions like ‘Done/ok’, ‘Shortcut’, and
A 3.5″ floppy comes with the GoType! that has the driver software on it. You have a
choice of installing a hackmaster version of the driver as well. Although both drivers
have the same options, the hackmaster version does not need to be enabled or disabled. It
will sense when the PalmPilot is plugged into the GoType!.
The are several options that you can set with the driver. You can set the repeat delay,
repeat rate and layout style. Layout style can be either QWERTY or DVORAK. There are plans
to also provide a French and German (AZERTY & QWERTZ) option as well. GoType! has the
ability to type international characters like è, ü, ñ using the ALT key in combination
with other keys.
Another feature is the ability to change the TAB key behavior. You can set it to either
generate a normal tab character or to act as a navigator between fields. Navigation is
something that could be improved upon. For example, there’s no way (that I could find) to
set the time for a new datebook event without needing to tap on the screen. There also no
easy way of navigating thru your address book entries. If you want to see the details of
one of your contacts, you have to start typing their name in until it is highlighted upon
which you can press the enter key to select it. It would be nice if you could just use the
arrow keys to scroll up and down thru the entries once one is highlighted.
There are also six special function buttons that correspond to the built in applications:
Memo, Address, ToDo, Datebook, Mail and Find. You can also assign any application that you
want to the function keys making it easy to launch your most used apps. Using a
combination of Shift/Function, Alt/Function, and Shift-Alt/Function, you have assign up to
24 apps to the function keys. To create a new memo, it’s as easy as pressing the F1 button
and starting to type. The memo is automatically opened for you. Of course, you can only
type up to 4k of text in a standard memo. Landware will be coming up with a new
application that will help
those that might want to use the GoType! to take class or meeting notes that tend to be
much larger than the restrictive 4k limit.
Typing on the GoType! took only a few minutes to get used to. Fast touch typing is
possible. The only gotcha in the layout of the keyboard that I noticed was in the shift
keys. I don’t like the location of the right shift key on the GoType!. On typical
keyboards, the right shift key is adjacent to the ?/ key. On the GoType!, the up arrow is
next to the ?/ key and then the shift key. This takes a bit of getting used to for a fast
touch typist like myself. Every so often while typing this review on the GoType!, I would
all of sudden jump up to the previous line and start typing in the middle of it because I
had hit the up arrow instead of the shift key.
Some of you might be wondering what makes the GoType! keyboard better than the Newton
keyboard solution for the PalmPilot… The Newton keyboard is about .5″ wider than
the GoType! due to the fact that the keys are a little larger. This size difference does
make a difference for touch typing. Typing on the Newton is a little easier because of the
larger keys and deeper pitch (distance that the key travels when you press it down). The
Newton is easier to type on, but it’s also quite noisy. The GoType! is much quieter.
Although I have a Newton keyboard, I’ve never used it with my Pilot. So, I can only make
detailed comments on the hardware. If you already have a Newton keyboard, you can buy
PiloKey which is a cable adapter and software driver that allows you to use it with your
Pilot. This costs $39.95. You have to use either a hotsync cable or hotsync cradle with
this setup. There are instructions available that will show you how to create your own
cable adapter and there are freeware drivers available as well. I heard that there is a
typing lag when using these freeware drivers though. There is no such lag with the GoType!
keyboard and driver. If you are handy with electronics, and already have a Newton
keyboard, I would say to give the free approach a try. If you don’t have a Newton
keyboard, then I would definitely consider buying the GoType!. The GoType! is very handy
and compact. Now if there was just a way to use the PilotModem with it, you could leave
that heavy laptop at home forever!
Easy to use.
Special function buttons (Shortcut, Command…).
Programmable Function keys.
Right shift key placement.
Needs better field navigation method.