All Palm OS devices (uses 17k)
WindowsCE devices (uses 30k)
The Travelboard by Genovation is a portable
keyboard for the PalmPilot, Visor, and WindowsCE devices. What is great is that this one
keyboard will work with any compatible device as long as you have the appropriate driver
installed on each device. I’ll be reviewing the Travelboard with my Palm V and Casio
The Travelboard is a small gray plastic keyboard (10.2″ X 4.8″ X 1.3″) with
6 green function keys and 62 regular keys. The actual lettered keys are about .5 in. x .55
in. in size. The key travel is about .1″.
The keyboard feels sturdy and well made. There are rubber feet on the bottom of the device
to keep it from sliding around on your desk as you type. The keyboard looks similar to the
Newton keyboard. On the bottom of the keyboard is a battery compartment. The keyboard is
powered by 3 AAA batteries which are supposed to give you 400hrs of use. The keyboard does
not draw any power at all from the PDA that you use it with. There is a switch on the side
of the Travelboard that allows you to turn the keyboard off/on. When the switch is in the
ON position, the keyboard will turn off after a few minutes of inactivity. Turning the
switch to OFF insures that it won’t be accidentally activated like in a travel bag.
Unlike the GoType keyboard from Landware, the Travelboard requires you to plug the PDA
into it via its serial cable or cradle. This might make the keyboard less desirable since
you have to carry a cradle or extra cable with you when you want to use it. I also found
that it is pretty much impossible to use the keyboard with my PalmV and a hotsync cable
because there isn’t a way to prop the PDA up into a good viewing angle. It would be great
if there was some type of pull out stand on the bottom of the keyboard.
Actually using the keyboard with a PalmPilot or WindowsCE device is pretty simple. For
either device, you have to install a small driver. On a PalmPilot, this is a 17k program
that gives you a couple different user settings. You can assign the green function keys to
launch a program, you can set the key repeat rate and a couple other options.
The Travelboard works very well with a PalmPilot. You can use the Fn, Ctrl, Option and
Alt keys in combination with other keys to perform most functions that would normally
require a stylus ‘tap’.
The only slightly annoying thing about using the Travelboard with a PalmPilot is that
after every hotsync, you have to go into the settings program on the Pilot and turn the
keyboard on again.
Using the Travelboard with a WindowsCE device is not quite as good an experience yet.
In all fairness, the driver that I used with the Travelboard and my Casio E-100 was a beta
driver. So, I’m sure that Genovation will be fixing the problems that I’ll be talking
Installation was simple and only takes up 30k of space for the driver. After that, the
Travelboard is added to the input panel of your WindowsCE device. There are no settings
that can be changed in this initial driver. I couldn’t even assign the green function
When the keyboard is activated in the input panel, a picture of the keyboard is
displayed at the bottom of the screen. It would be much nicer if the screen remained full
size without this picture so that you would have more room to type your document.
There was one main problem that I had with the Travelboard and my Casio E-100. I found
that pressing the green function buttons would launch some of the main apps some of the
times. After doing that, it would seem that the keyboard would no longer respond or
display my typed letters on the screen. If I would go back into the input panel settings
and press the Options button, it would seem to fix this problem.
Other than that, the keyboard seemed responsive and easy to use under Windows CE.
Regardless of what device I used with the keyboard, I found typing on it to be easy and
comfortable. Of course it isn’t a full sized desktop keyboard, but it is still easy for me
to touch type on it. I think that compared with the Landware GoType keyboard, the
Travelboard has slightly better feel / action. In my opinion it also looks and feels
sturdier and better made.
At almost $100, it isn’t cheap. But, it would make a fine accessory for anyone that
needs to do enter lots of text into their PDA and are way from their desktop.
Touch typable size.
Works with Palm OS devices and Windows CE devices.
Have to use a serial cradle or serial cable with the keyboard.
WindowsCE driver file has bugs and no real features yet.
Have to reset keyboard after a hotsync (Palm OS).