Wednesday, June 01, 2011

Mini Wireless Keyboard for Presentations

The CeBIT Australia 2011 computer exhibition and conference is on at Sydney's Darling Harbour until 2 June 2011. My favourite gadget of the show was the Rii Mini Wireless Keyboard. This hand held unit is about the size of a TV remote control, but provides a replacement for a mouse and keyboard. The unit has a postage stamp sized touch-pad, with buttons to emulate a mouse and communicates with a computer via Bluetooth.

The unit is designed to operate with a Google Android, Linux, Windows or Apple Mac computer. As well as the track pad it has a miniature QWERTY keyboard. One clever feature is that you can operate the device in landscape mode as a miniature keyboard, for example to enter the address of a web page or presentation. Then you can turn the unit around and hold it like a remote control to give the presentation . The mouse pad's orientation is changed using Fn-Alt and then can be operated with a thumb. The keyboard is also backlit and there is a laser pointer.

The unit comes with a USB Bluetooth transceiver and a CD-ROM of software, but instead of these I found the unit worked fine with the the hardware and software already in my netbook computer.

The unit is not perfect: I had to attach the Bluetooth transceiver to the USB extension cable supplied, to get sufficient range. The back-light has to be manually switched on (an auto off a few seconds after the last key press would be preferable). The touch-pad is very small and will take some getting used to.

Despite the limitations, this could prove very useful for presentations. This way I need not be tied to the net-book keyboard. I have tried using a wireless mouse, but then have to go back to the keyboard for entering the occasional web address.

Encomtech Australia Pty Ltd is offering the units for $AU70, which seems a little expensive, given that similar devices are on for around $US40.

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