EtherAge, Inc. has struck a chord with its recently announced ClipKee add-on for Palm and PocketPC PDAs. ClipKee adds a tiny, “two-thumbs” keyboard to most major PDAs, making text entry extremely convenient. A patent-pending design makes ClipKee fit snugly on the user’s PDA, allowing text entry while sitting, standing, walking, or riding the bus. A second version adds wireless connectivity using the increasingly popular 802.11 wireless networking standard. “Both versions were recently featured on several web sites, and response has been great,” says Tem Balanco, VP of Marketing at EtherAge.
Sales of Palm and PocketPC units topped 2 million units worldwide in the first quarter of 2001, adding to an installed base of over 15 million units. However, text entry has remained difficult. Current PDAs rely on handwriting recognition or on-screen “virtual keyboards.”
ClipKee adds what most users really want: a real, “two-thumbs” QWERTY keyboard and scroll wheel. With ClipKee attached to a Palm V or Compaq iPAQ, users have the power of a very familiar input mechanism and a major handheld OS. Using the keyboard and scroll wheel, users can easily edit their Palm address book or Pocket Excel spreadsheet on the go.
A second version, called ClipKee Nomad, adds 802.11(b) wireless ethernet capabilities, allowing PDA users to access their home or office wireless ethernet networks for email, web access, and custom business applications, such as inventory and sales management. “The 802.11 standard is growing very rapidly, and will soon be available in all Starbucks locations. With your PDA and ClipKee Nomad, you’ll rarely need your laptop anymore,” says Mr. Balanco.
The first ClipKees will start shipping in the fourth quarter of 2001. Initial shipments will target the most popular Palm and PocketPC units.