Mobile accessories and consumer technology specialist Belkin announced the availability of an Apple iPad keyboard cover called the Ultimate Keyboard Case, which uses an aluminum alloy, magnet construction, and is available in two color options—black ($99.99) and white ($129.99).
Belkin claims the keyboard, which is just 6.4 millimeters thin and weighs 17 ounces, is the slimmest and lightest keyboard folio of its kind on the market. The case debuted at the Consumer Electronics Show in January and folds flat to hide the keyboard when watching movies or reading. When not in use, the keyboard automatically shuts off, to offer instant access to the iPad's on-screen keyboard and help save battery life.
"We believe the Belkin Ultimate Keyboard Case will reinvent the iPad user experience," Jamie Elgie, senior director of product management at Belkin, said in a statement. "It gives the iPad all of the functionality of a laptop while maintaining the sleek appeal of a tablet."
The specially machined aluminum alloy base reduces thickness while improving durability and features three viewing and typing angles, with magnets that hold the iPad in place, SoundFlow design for enhanced audio power, shortcut keys for easy media control, Bluetooth 2.0 connectivity, 160-hour battery life under constant use, six-month standby battery life, and a rechargeable battery that uses an included Micro USB cable.
The company also offers a Bluetooth wireless keyboard for the iPad mini, the FastFit Bluetooth Wireless Keyboard Case, which retails for $79.99. At just 7 mm thick, the FastFit keyboard cover is thinner than the iPad mini itself. The keyboard also features Belkin's well-spaced TruType keys, each of which has a spring mechanism that provides tactile feedback when struck. In addition, FastFit's "auto-wake" feature activates the iPad Mini when the cover is opened, and sends it to sleep when the cover is closed.
While Apple's handy virtual keyboard on its iPhone and iPad tablets is one of the many reasons the gadgets are so successful, that hasn't stopped other vendors from offering a physical keyboard consumers can attach to the device, as evidenced most recently by the release of a keyboard folio for the iPad and iPad Mini from Logitech.
The keyboard folio is expected to be available in the United States and Europe in April for a suggested retail price of $99.99, while the Keyboard Folio Mini is expected to be available in the United States and Europe in May for a suggested retail price of $89.99.
Logitech has also included magnetic closures to further help minimize the risk of damage to the tablet while in transit, and a hands-free flip stand offers two viewing angles. Like the Belkin keyboard, the Logitech unit features instant on/off functionality that wakes the tablet when a user opens the cover and puts it to sleep when the user closes it, helping to preserve the tablet's battery life.