Since the beginning of my infatuation with technology and gadgets, I’ve dreamed of a computer that would fit in my pocket. Something that would always be with me, should inspiration or work come calling. In an attempt to realize this desire, I have owned nearly every type of portable computing device made. The TRS-80 Pocket, Palm Pilots, Windows CEs, Pocket PCs, Windows Mobiles, Blackberrys, Androids, and iOS devices. I’ve had multiple iterations of them all. I’m far from alone in this endeavor, the portable computing market easily out paces desktops and laptops.
Why do I and countless others keep spending untold fortunes to reach an aloof goal like portable computing? For me, I think it is a subconscious rebellion against sitting. I was the kid in class that was always in trouble for not staying still. I like to be moving and going more than resting. I don’t understand why we train our children to sit motionless for most of their childhood and then are surprised when many of them end up with sedentary lifestyle issues as adults? Do we need to sit in order to learn or work?
My desire to be on the move has often been constrained by my love of computers. Powerful computers that can do anything my restless, creative mind conceives of, have traditionally not been very mobile. I want something that I can pull out of my pocket and do whatever has popped into my head, wherever I happen to be. Powerful laptops are great, but require a backpack to haul around with you. Tablets have promise in the “Post PC” era, but they don’t fit in your pocket.
My Galaxy Note 10 Plus is more powerful than some laptops. Its battery and screen are big enough to work from. To be a full solution it would need a keyboard and mouse. The S-Pen is great and I use it everyday, but there are just some things you cannot do very well without a keyboard. For example, writing code with a pen is not a pleasant experience. I hopped on Amazon and did some research on portable keyboards and mice. There are a lot of manufacturers trying to solve this issue for the mobile crowd.
I chose the iClever IC-BK08 fold-able Keyboard and touch-pad. I am writing this article with the tri-fold device right now. When folded, it is about the same size as my Note 10 Plus. Open it up and you have a keyboard that is only 9% smaller than a full size laptop and includes a touch-pad. In addition it can connect to three devices simultaneously and change between them at the press of a button.
I find that I am able to type at full speed on the diminutive keyboard without much trouble. The only issues I’ve had so far are with some of the symbol keys. Typing an apostrophe requires pressing the FN key first, which is annoying but not insurmountable. To make a keyboard and touch-pad this small, something had to give.
The touch-pad is surprisingly excellent. It is better than some of the touch-pads I have run into on various laptops. There are two physical mouse buttons, but the pad is sensitive enough to pick up on taps accurately as well. The iClever powers on and connects to the last device you used it with as soon as you open it. Likewise, folding it shut turns it off.
I have been able to do my entire job from my phone now that I’ve added the keyboard and mouse. In the last few days I have: worked on multiple documents, edited photos and video, remoted into several systems, written two scripts, and finished a presentation. I never took my laptop out of my bag to do any of it.
Would I work this way all of the time? No, but that isn’t the point. I still have a high-end gaming PC. I still have a laptop, and I still have a desk at my office. The point is for my compute options to fit into whatever I am doing, rather than me making arrangements to fit my activities around my device’s abilities. Have you every tried to lug a laptop around Disney World?
When my family and I head out for vacation next week the only compute devices making the trip will be my phone, its Dex dock, and the iClever keyboard; all of which easily fit in my pockets. If my employer needs me to assist with a customer while we are out, I will be able to logon and help solve the problem. My family won’t need to head back to the hotel or finish the day without me while I sit in the car.
That is the dream realized for me. Being able to spend more time with the people I love while fulfilling my professional responsibility and pursuing my personal passions. Mobile computing tech is at an amazing stage of development and its only going to get better from here.