Two weeks ago, I enthusiastically wrote the news that the Tap keyboard is already being sent. It's a $ 149.99 Bluetooth keyboard and mouse that slides over your hand like metal knuckles and gives you typing powers if you can master your arcane "chord" system for making letters. You can pair Tap with your phone, tablet or computer, and it works like any Bluetooth keyboard would.
Last Friday I received a review unit and, at the same time, Tap has moved me and I am very disappointed.
In my last writing, I presented some possible pros and cons. Things like: "Would it make me look lame?" And, "Will I be bad at that?" Today, I will try to address my hopes and fears about the device. Also, as you may have noticed, I have integrated a Circuit Breaker Live clip, where I teach Nilay how to use Tap. Seeing that can give you context for what I am going to say.
I see myself and I feel amazing when I use Tap. As it is winter, I wear a big jacket with many pockets, so it is customary to take Tap with me in his elegant carrying / carrying case. Every time I take out my Tap keyboard and put it on, I am moved by the reactions of anyone close to me. They do not even question me about its effectiveness as a discrete text entry tool, they just think it looks rough.
Also, initially I was worried that using Tap would limit the usability of my hand. That was the wrong concern. The big problem with using your hand while using Tap is that it will do all kinds of accidental keystrokes, so it's important to turn Tap off when you are not actively writing.
I think Tap's greatest achievement is the learning process. You start with the vowels, which are assigned to one finger each. Then add NTLS, which is two fingers at a time. Then DMZ, which is two fingers, omitting one. Tap is set up so that the most common letters you use are the easiest to type. There is a learning application called TapGenius, which progressively introduces new sets of letters that have similar "chord" forms.
It feels incredible to accumulate muscle memory for Tap typing. It's like your brain is expanding. Much more fun than Mavis Beacon, that's for sure. And since Tap's lyrics chord system has very little to do with traditional typing, it did not appear that any of my new knowledge was interfering with my hard-won QWERTY skills.
Some of the letters are difficult to write, especially anything that requires a raised ring finger. Fortunately, difficult letters have "shortcuts". For example, you can write a "Q" by tapping an "O" twice.
But there is a horrible warning: at the beginning, most of my typing errors were because I simply did not know the correct finger combo for a letter. But after a while, most of my mistakes were Tap's fault, not mine. Part of that positive reinforcement that I got when I wrote slowly and carefully began to get rid when my typing accelerated and I was penalized by Tap's inability to recognize my abilities.
The Tap ad on YouTube is basically full of lies. It makes it look like you can write anywhere, on any relatively solid surface. That simply is not true. I can write the vowels very well on my knee, arm or bed, but the more complicated letters constantly fail on these soft surfaces. Tap works a thousand times better when you touch your fingers with a good amount of force on a solid surface such as a desk or table.
This is not just a lemon, or my inability to make gestures correctly. I have two Taps, and both work just as badly on soft surfaces. I have tried all kinds of tricks to hold my hand correctly and make clean letterforms, and nothing has worked.
In addition, Tap is announced as a keyboard and mouse, but this is a lie. The mouse is basically useless. It is so imprecise and fussy that I prefer to carry a USB mouse in my pocket at all times to avoid the pain and suffering that Tap Mousing induces.
So what is the point?
Tap is supposed to be a discrete text entry method for mobile devices and laptops anywhere. Instead of using your voice to enter text, or a mobile keyboard with zero tactile response, Tap is supposed to allow you to write with one hand, wherever you are.
Unfortunately, at this time Tap seems to require a hard surface to write. This is also far from being "discreet", since you are hitting the table with your fingers.
It's a lot of fun to learn, and I have up to 20 words per minute in the right conditions, but I have not found a place in my life where Tap is somehow more convenient than my traditional text entry methods. .
My hope now is that the product is launched, people in Tap can adjust their typing algorithms to better handle soft surfaces.
I am also planning to integrate Tap into the configuration of my wearable computer, which is where I could really shine. If I discover some newly discovered utility for this device or overcome the soft surface obstacle in some way, I will make sure to write an update.
I should also point out that for people with certain accessibility concerns, Tap might be exactly what they are looking for. If typing on your phone's keyboard is complicated, or if a traditional QWERTY keyboard does not work for you, Tap could be the right combination of ease of use, write speed and "discrete" operation (as opposed to voice input) ) Just do not expect it to be useful in all situations.
See the rest of the show
Below is an inlay of the entire Circuit Breaker Live show. It's really good, "full", as they say, and I think you'll really enjoy it.