Expert in PDA's keyboards wish for a PSION 5 keyboard


patrick295767

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Hi Guys,

As you did, I bought a Pandora (1Ghz). It is nice to have Linux in the pocket.

After being a fervent user, I tend to say that I cannot work that much with it.

Reason: the keyboard. I considered and considered whether or not this keyboard is to be recommended.

I think that I have tried most existing keyboard ever on whatever looks like a palm or Pda, really. Many Pdas and mobile phones.

So the best of the best,... guess: 

PSION Serie 5

They are really fabulous and I can really work with it. 

If you cannot afford a New Successor of the "Pandora"  without a good keyboard, please forget releasing a poor keyboard.

Please give me to test them, since typing long documents, that's what I need for a daily use.

Many thanks considering this post. 

Uncle Pat
 

lordbobjones

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Pat I type alot on my panda and agree that the keyboard while perfect for small tasks, is hell on the fingers for long documents.   I plug in a usb keyboard for the big projects.  Works great.  Just a suggestion...
 

levi

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Yeah, bit fan of the S5 keyboard here too. The S5 keyboard wins for finger typing, but I found the stiffness and precision of the Pandora keyboard to be preferable when thumb typing. Thumb typing on the S5 was doable too, for quite long sessions, wheras my thumbs tire quickly on the Pandora, which I can only put down to the shape of the pandora.


A wider handheld, as I believe the P2 is going to be, will be able to fit a more finger typable keyboard, so I'd hope the buttons are a little softer next time round, while still being as positive and quick to press. Reach of the thumbs might be more of an issue when thumb typing though.
 

Asmo

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There's not enough travel on the Psion 5's keys for games, it's fine for typing but I find it a bit too flat and sometimes 'sticky' for other tasks (keys can sometimes 'return' from depress too slowly for rapid use).
 

pmprog

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There's not enough travel on the Psion 5's keys for games, it's fine for typing but I find it a bit too flat and sometimes 'sticky' for other tasks (keys can sometimes 'return' from depress too slowly for rapid use).
Wouldn't you expect the majority of games to be using the game controls, with the keyboard being for fallback, or for games that truely have too many keys (I'm looking at you, MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries)
 

moxie

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The Psion 5 keyboard was referenced a lot when the original keyboard design was being finalized. If I remember correctly, everybody would have loved to have a Psion keyboard, but not everybody loved the doubling of the cost of the pandora that would come from the more complicated mechanical construction, the more complicated manufacturing and the license fees. A Psion keyboard is a lot more complicated. It also takes quite a bit more space, as the keys need to be a pressable size (one of the important advantages of our domed keytops we have now is that they have enough space between them without being fingertipsized).

A more realistic improvement would be something along the lines of the HP 200lx, which is a more key-like construction without having the individual springs and switches and levers and so on. Still, it is not so much of an improvment that it might matter.
 

Asmo

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Wouldn't you expect the majority of games to be using the game controls, with the keyboard being for fallback, or for games that truely have too many keys (I'm looking at you, MechWarrior 2: Mercenaries)
You'd think so, but I find the existing D-Pad a bit too squishy and slippy to be accurate in some games (mostly the old classics) that require 4-way control, so I resort to using keys the way we used to on home computers, so sudden changes of direction come easily. The current Pandora's keys are just about right in size and spread to be used as game controls when needed - with a Psion style keyboard, the D-Pad would have to be customisable or much changed.
 

comradekingu

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Who makes the switches, and what do they cost? If its feasible it will be something that is still production, sold at prices switches cost. Downwards of 1.5$ per switch depending on how expencive it is. Get a picture of it. Ask at deskthority and geekhack.

Measure the current height, and circumference, establish a limit to what is feasible. 4mm 11x11mm max?  Smd mounted.
 
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levi

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I was thinking about, if there is a way to get e link between the Pandoara and the stowaway keyboard:

http://the-gadgeteer.com/2000/01/25/stowaway_portable_keyboard_review/
I use one of these. I paid a fraction of what it costs on Amazon as new today, but anyway, bluetooth keyboards do work on the Pandora, although I did find mine to have an annoying habit of disconnecting and not automatically reconnecting if you leave it alone for any length of time. It's also a bit noisy with the aluminium frame creaking as you use the keys on either edge, although it does mean that it locks open unlike a lot of newer designs I've seen, and it only has four rows of keys unlike the Palm Stowaway. Newer designs which simply fold out and all corners end up on the desk, and have five rows of keys might be more suitable. While they're a little bigger that the stowaway, mine's almost the same size as my Pandora, albeit thinner.
 

mclien

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I choosed the first one (serial connector) with purpose:

-no extra power supply

-it would be a real nice reuse, if it's possible to do it with small modifications for the pandora.

(BTW. is there a com port at the pandora?)
 

TrashyMG

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(BTW. is there a com port at the pandora?)
There is an EXT port that need a bit of circuitry to be compatible with COM port signal levels.
On a breadboard I threw together a level shifter to talk to a regular COM port to the EXT GPIOs.. what I threw together most likely could be shrunk in size considerable. However pre-made USB to Serial port adapters are common and easy to interface with, although USB consumes much more power..
 
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mclien

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I'm not so sure which kind of serial communication was used at those PALM PDAs, perhaps something weired. And I'm not an expert on that serial stuff. but I have some of those keyboards collecting dust and like to do hardwarehacking. So with help on the software/serial site I'll be happy to share hardware and hardware hackking..
 

_wb_

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The Psion 5 is 17 by 9 cm, the Pandora is 14 by 8 cm. Also the Psion 5 does not have game controls (dpad/nubs/action buttons) taking almost half of that space. So yes, a keyboard like that of the Psion 5 is probably better, but it's also impossible to fit. Unless of course we get rid of the game controls and make the device larger. But that would not be a worthy successor to the Pandora.
 

comradekingu

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Can we have some info on the actual switches and source a compatible equivalent that is made in this day and age? In the 90s maybe one could have used a direct replacement or the same switches, but I suspect the market for psion keyboards has long since dwindled.
 

patrick295767

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The psion 5 keyboard looks a bit too overdone for me. I think a Psion S3a kind of keyboard would probably be better
no no, I have the S3, Siena, and several S5. No doubts the S5 has the best keyboard ever realized on PDA. 
 

moxie

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That is indeed so. However, what _wb_ says is also true.
 
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