Every once in a while, a KickStarter project comes along that almost instantly leaves me throwing money at the screen. Today is one of those days.
As a writer, I’m always looking for cool new ways to increase the usefulness of my devices. I own an iPad, and have tried many bluetooth keyboard and case combinations, and while each set-up works to a large degree, the experience is generally somewhat lacking. Currently, I’m rocking a Targus prop-up case which allows me to put the iPad up in landscape or portrait modes, and a standalone Motorola Bluetooth keyboard from back when I owned the Motorola Xoom.
That could all be about to change with today’s KickStarter project. Brydge has come up with a hinge-based accessory for the iPad that essentially converts it to a full-scale tablet/netbook hybrid similar to the ASUS Transformer Prime. The overall look mirrors the design principles from Apple itself, and aside from a black hinge connector, the end product makes the device look a heck of a lot like the sleek Macbook Air laptop.
The Brydge is made from aerospace-grade aluminum, which has been finished to match the look and feel of the iPad pretty exactly. Brydge has optional stereo speakers embedded in the top edge of the keyboard. The hinge clicks in to the iPad, giving the iPad a nearly full 180 degrees of rotation while offering a secure, steady hold on the tablet, and acts to put the iPad to sleep when closed.
Of course, the high quality Brydge comes with the customary Apple tax. The device sans speaker output runs $170 ($150 for the first 100 backers), while adding speakers brings the total to $210 (or $180 for the first 100). Shipping is included for the US, with a $20 add for Canada and $35 elsewhere. As this is a KickStarter project, the team is seeking $90,000 to bring this concept to life. They are nearly 1/3 of the way there, with $23,500 raised thus far with 39 days remaining.
I’m seriously considering laying down some cash to pick up one of these, and if you’re in the market for a high-quality tablet keyboard accessory, you may want to take a look as well.