Bluetooth keyboard support (finally!) for webOS | webOS Nation
 
 

Bluetooth keyboard support (finally!) for webOS 33

by Jonathan I Ezor#IM Fri, 04 Mar 2011 4:43 pm EST

My very first published piece for PreCentral, more than 18 months ago, was entitled "Unlocking the Key(board) to the Pre," accompanied by the above image produced by Dieter Bohn.  In my article, I discussed my long history with external keyboards and Palm handhelds, and lamented that Palm had chosen for some reason to leave Bluetooth keyboard support out of webOS. To make the point, I typed the first draft of the piece on my Palm T|X PDA and my ThinkOutside UltraThin Bluetooth keyboard. I finished with this thought:

To me, having used every external keyboard solution available for Palm handhelds, it is unbelievable to me that Palm has missed the opportunity to add this basic feature to the Pre (one which, it's instructive to point out, Apple has refused to add to the iPhone and iPod Touch). I remain hopeful that Palm or a clever developer will eventually bring to the Pre the same ability to touchtype that I had with my Palm III in 1997. Until then, though, I guess I'll keep my T|X charged.

Well, that would have been an awfully long time on the charger; it was only last week that the released/leaked/hacked webOS 2.1 for the Pre Plus enabled me to dust off and change the batteries in my ThinkOutside keyboard and once again begin typing into my Palm handheld. After using it to take notes at multiple meetings this week, and even drafting an initial version of this piece at my dining room table last night, I feel like I am finally able to be fully productive in webOS.

For those of us who are writers of any kind, and who actually touchtype, the ability to do so on a full-sized keyboard, anywhere, cannot be overvalued. Even though we don't yet have true Office editing capabilities (while awaiting a properly functioning Evernote and PocketMirror Notes for webOS 2.1, I have been using Scratch, which is a capable text tool but nowhere near as functional as the late lamented BlueNomad Wordsmith for webOS), with the multitasking capabilities of webOS, combined with a real keyboard, we can now research, write, and report with new ease. I'm also pleased that, with an upcoming NY-San Francisco trip planned for April, I'll be able to do some real writing on the plane, regardless of how tiny the tray table is.

The real tragedy right now is that, with the ThinkOutside UltraThin and Palm's own folding Bluetooth keyboard no longer for sale, there are few if any choices for keyboards that are as portable as the Pre Plus or Pre 2 themselves. I am eagerly awaiting the promised release of the Jorno Keyboard and, in the meantime, being very careful with my nigh-irreplaceable ThinkOutside.

On March 11, 2009, months before the first Pre hit the shelves at Sprint, Palm's marketing master Jon Zilber posted a blog entry  called "Answers to a few FTQs (Frequently Tweeted Questions)", where he listed the acronyms Palm was using to respond to the questions it was getting the most. One of the acronyms listed was:

EWTBKA: Enough with the Bluetooth keyboards already! We get the point.

Well, Palm may have gotten the point back then, but we've finally gotten a Bluetooth keyboard now, and I can stop noodging Jon about it.

Happy typing!

33 Comments

Great article! Thanks. A Bluetooth keyboard would be great on a touch screen only phone. So now would be a perfect time to release one.

Holy mother of Joseph, finally! I am sooo happy, one of the many niggles since day one.
Woo! We're free, well not me in Oz but you and me to come.

Now we just need Chris Short to work out a way to get a microSD slot in the thing and that's next to every niggle gone, one can only hope.

Darn, yet another reason to debate how important Sprint Nav is to me, compared to BT keyboard.... Argh.

My same dilemma. I'm wondering, can Sprint Nav be exported? It's one of the most useful apps for WebOS, imo.

I have sprint nav working on 2.1.0... there is a thread for that in the forums, check it out
http://forums.precentral.net/palm-pre/276961-anyone-get-sprint-nav-worki...

I had an external keyboard for my Sony Clie back in the mid-90s, and loved it. www.icemonkey.com has a 17.99 flexible bluetooth keyboard. I've ordered one to try with my laptop and hopefully future webOS device. it might suck but for that price I'll take a chance :)

full link:
http://www.icemonkey.com/super-mini-wireless-flexible-bluetooth-keyboard...

Personally will never use one but I can see how many office people would really like this.

Maybe you were starting something on your touch pad and your battery was almost dead and no charger close by.and boom. Now its on ur pre 3 and can complete the file on on ur Pre3

I have whole draw full of bluetooth keyboards. When is a webOS phone finally going to be able to do everything my Treo and Centro could do? Looks like it's time to put 2.? on my Pre Minus.

I second that.... I'd like at least all the features I had with the Centro. It's upsetting that it's taking this long to get features that were considered standard 10 years ago.

I saw a Think Outside Bluetooth on ebay for $60 buy it now free shipping

on amazon for 225

Well as an unlocked Pre2 user since the week it shipped in the UK, what was that, 2 months ago? I have been able to use BT keyboards since the start. I can recommend the Logitech DiNovo Mini keyboard, which worked perfectly with my Pre2 since day one. Not only is it a very multitalented keyboard (I got it for my htpc system at home), it is small and easily mobile + it has an interchangeable battery. Unfortunately, my own Thinkoutside keyboard was the one with with a dock for the Tungsten...
In any case, any HID-compliant BT keyboard should work.

Will this work with ANY bluetooth keyboard? I have a nice microsoft one (and mouse) I use with my desktop.

Unfortunately, i had a (very nice) IR keyboard for my TX. No bluetooth.

Yeah, I have the Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 6000. Pretty compact, lightweight.

I've had my BT ThinkOutside keyboard on my nightstand since I moved from my Centro to the Pre. It taunts me everytime I go to bed.

Now, I have to REALY consider doing the Pre 2.1 upgrade...

Does anyone know if the bluetooth keyboard can be used simultaneously with with a bluetooth headset on the pre?

I would love to have a modified bluetooth keyboard in the car so I can input info like addresses for gps etc. when the phone is mounted in landscape mode.

I believe so, yes.

What a cool concept! (Watch the road, though!) {Jonathan}

if sprint nav is the only reason to do the dead of 2.1 I say man there is Nav it in the prepared that is open source and works. The GPS works on my sprint pre- webos 2.1 Phone just sprint Nav is not there. Do it. Its great.

As i mentioned in another post, there is a way to get sprint nav working on 2.1 again.
See this thread in forums: http://forums.precentral.net/palm-pre/276961-anyone-get-sprint-nav-worki...

Have you actually been able to get Navit to work on 2.1?

I tried it on my Pre2 running 2.0 about a month ago and it was not working. Folks in the wIRC chatroom for WebOS internals told me it wasn't supported at that time. Perhaps that has changed.

It has. See posts from earlier this week.

Wow! Does this means that my WebOS 2.1 Pre Plus will work with my Palm 3245WW Wireless Bluetooth Keyboard?

Isn't the iGo Stowaway the same thing as the ThinkOutside? It's readily available from the place you'd expect.

Available, yes, but not particularly affordably. Lowest used price is about $85 from some seller distributing through Amazon; new from $150. {J}

The Palm BT keyboard (3245ww) works perfectly with webOS 2.1!

Do a BT pairing from the phone, choose "Keyboard" from the device Type option, and then punch in the 4-digit code on the keyboard and hit "Enter".

It should then pair, and begin to work with any text-entry app on the phone! :)

I have one of these keyboards myself, and have enjoyed using my "Tiny Terminal" with IM programs, and taking notes at meetings!

You guys crack me up.... an accessory many times the size of the original hardware...
GAFL... Get A Freakin Laptop.

The ThinkOutside keyboard is actually not much longer or wider and about as thin as a Pre Plus when folded. *Both* fit in my slacks pocket, together.

Try that with a laptop. {Jonathan}

If you travel in the air a lot, being able to whip out a foldable keyboard and type is a godsend. Far too many times, the person in front of me reclines their seat, making it impossible to see the screen on my laptop.

Besides, I've never had a flight attendedant grumble at me for putting my PDA and keyboard into the pocket of the seat before me...

And the winner in the 2 year race of which would come to fruition first is...

Bluetooth Keyboard by at least a quarter mile over Long Ago Promised Fully Featured Word Processor!!

Still stuck in the gate is Simple Calendar Search Feature and To Do List at Least Half as Useful as that in PALM Garnet OS.

You didn't mention the freedom input BT keyboards. This brand ist still on the market. Mine is an old (in the meanwhile discontinued) "universal keyboard" which pairs nicely with the 2.1-WR-PreMinus. Just as fine as with my Nokia DumbPhone, and all of my PalmOS PDAs. No keyboard hardware problem whatsoever.

One issue: The key mapping needs to be modified to get the German keyboard layout. Someone has any clue?

The Apple Bluetooth keyboards are working perfect with the Pre's My favorite, however they are not foldable......

Just in case anyone is struggling (as I did) pairing their old, trusty 3245WW to their Pre:
- You need to use a bit of the old windows pairing routine. - When the Pre asked for the pass key, I typed 4478 (from instructions). - Then typed 4478 [Enter] on the 3245WW Keyboard. * Devices paired.

I found a fabric Bluetooth keyboard at the following website for sale. Has anyone tried this one? Its only $30. Im curious if it will work with the Pre.

http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/keyboards-mice/e55f/