Ryan Seacrest wants to turn your iPhone 5s into a BlackBerry


There’s an old design adage that posits a camel is a horse built by committee. The Typo Keyboard seeks to turn your iPhone 5s into a camel.

Shipping in January, 2014, the Typo Keyboard is a slip case for the iPhone 5 and iPhone 5s that features a battery powered, fretted keyboard, seemingly ripped from a BlackBerry smartphone. Typo’s mission statement is to eliminate the two-smartphone need most business professionals face: a QWERTY smartphone for correspondence and an iPhone for “virtually everything else.”

We haven’t had a chance to get our hands on the Typo Keyboard yet to confirm our suspicions, but a quick glance at the screenshots and specs may be enough to verify that trying to do everything leads to doing nothing well. The Typo Keyboard case adds a hefty 1/4 inch in thickness and a whopping 3/4 inch in length, hampering the sleek form factor of the 5/s. The case also covers the iPhone Home button, and while there is a replacement button on the keyboard, there’s no possible way for it to replicate the 5s’ fingerprint scanner, rendering useless one of the device’s best features.

Typo Co. is accepting pre-orders for the case now for $99 USD. The company lists ubiquitous media personality Ryan Seacrest as a principle founder. One wonders if the Typo Keyboard would exist if someone had just shown Seacrest a BlackBerry Q10.

SourceTypo Co
  • Collin dubya

    If you’re not used to a touch keyboard by now you shouldn’t be using a smartphone.

    • Stephen_81

      I have used iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. While I can make due with a touchscreen keyboard, I HATE it. I go to my laptop for most important email needs and I use more voice calling instead of text conversations.

      I love my BlackBerry Q10, for the keyboard above all else. Liking a touchscreen should not be a factor in ones using of a smartphone. I don’t need a media device, I need to read/reply to emails and correspondence, quickly I need to book travel and manage my expenses. and I need it to be easy and accurate with one hand. Touchscreen or keyboard device, either could do. but keyboard does it better.

    • ConsciousConsumer

      Thanks for sharing.

    • WalkinOnBottles

      Different options = great. Just because one prefers physical to touch doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be using smartphones.

    • Plazmic Flame

      It’s not just about “not being able to type on a touchscreen”, it’s also about wanting to see the conversation while you type. If you’ve used an iPhone, once you get 4 or 5 lines in your message you’re trying to type, you can no longer see the conversation area while you type, which is absolutely stupid. Think about it, this has been an issue that hasn’t been address in 7 YEARS… WTF Apple?!

      I used BlackBerry devices like the Bold series before getting my first iPhone 3GS and while I’m proficient in typing on a touchscreen now, I absolutely hate it and would still prefer a physical keyboard so I can see more of the conversation while I type. Also, anyone that actually does work on their device would also find that typing out long messages seems like such a chore versus how easy it was to do back when you had a BlackBerry.

      I think I’ll give this a try for sure.

    • Tom

      My first smartphone was the keyboard equipped HTC Desire Z.

      I’m “used” to a touch keyboard by now but I can’t deny that the physical keyboard has its perks.

  • Allen Li

    BlackBerry’s probably going to file suit against this company.

    • Columbo

      Knowing Apple, they will probably let this keyboard roll out for a year, then claim they invented keyboard phones and sue BlackBerry.

    • hyperhyper

      As far fetched as your comment is, it brought a smile to my face and I find it humourous that Apple’s litigious ways has backfired on them and given them a sue-happy because they can’t compete on technology alone anymore reputation.

    • Tom Blinky

      Did you hear they’ve just filed a patent for phones with curved screens? They’d better get that to market quick, before Samsung, or LG or someone steal the idea and release their own curved phones!

    • Bbrysucks

      You people are numskull crack heads.

    • kkritsilas

      Blackberry can try, but they won’t get far. There were attachable keyboards as far back as my iPaq. In that case, the keyboard just snapped onto the bottom of the device, it wasn’t a fully enclosing case like the Typo unit, but none-the-less, it is prior art. Besides, there have been a ton of less than successful physical keyboard cell phones that have been brought to market and sold, from WIndows CE/Windows Mobile, Android, and even WebOS. Don’t think BB will even come close to thinking about going to court on this one.

    • billy b

      It isn’t the fact it is a clip on keyboard but an exact rip off of the q10 keyboard. Take out the frets, make it white and there wouldn’t be an issue. As for the last line of this article, it is obvious Seacrest did see the q10. How didn’t samsung win when they presented previous art of cellphones that had almost the exact same format as the iPhone? Sony MP3 players were pretty much Apples inspiration.

  • Jim

    Just get a BlackBerry…..

    • Megalink

      Before they are all gone (for good)!

    • Plazmic Flame

      You mean… get the Q10… with it’s 3 inch screen? F*** that s***. What were they thinking? SMDH

    • Bbrysucks

      Now that’s wetodddid.

  • Jaka Baka

    It obviously doesn’t prevent the touch screen keyboard from arising when inputting text.. Not fun!

    • Tom

      I believe all smartphones, including iOS, disable the onscreen keyboard if an external keyboard is detected. At least that’s how my friend’s iPad works with Bluetooth keyboards.

    • Plazmic Flame

      That’s exactly how it works. iOS is smart enough to know when a bluetooth keyboard is connected to it, so it won’t display the on-screen keyboard.

  • Revolver Leconte-Chevalie

    Ugly… I’ll keep my blackberry and my Iphone…

    • Balls O’Steele

      Ryan Seaquest can kiss my arse.

    • gommer strike

      LOL Ryan Seacrest.

      He’s already banging some hot model – as if that’s not enough, oh now he has to foist this blackberry-wanna-be keyboard attachment for the iPhone? So what happens when we tap the screen, huh? The onboard keyboard pops up, obscuring the screen?

      Back to junk game and reality shows, Seacrest. Stay out of the tech arena.

    • Tom

      If the phone detects an external keyboard, the onscreen keyboard is disabled until the external is disconnected. That’s the case on iOS and other mainstream OSes.

  • Sweet

    He’ll sell a few, but I’m not sure he’ll make back the $1M he allegedly invested in it.

    I give him credit for trying, though.

    Oh, and BTW, one thing this article didn’t mention is that you have to charge the case. Yep, the case runs on a battery. I don’t know if you can charge both the case and the phone at the same time using the same cable, though.

    • ShadowFist23

      > He’ll sell a few, but I’m not sure he’ll make back the $1M he allegedly invested in it.

      As long as it works like he wants it to, he’ll probably be happy.

      If I had $1million to spare to throw at a technical issue that annoyed me, why the hell not?

    • Tim3Tripp3r

      Plus Ryan’s share was $500k – someone else kicked in the other half. I wish I had the $$$ to fix some of the annoying things in my life.

    • Plazmic Flame

      All keyboard cases have a battery but it’s not something to be concerned about as the battery usually lasts for a month or so on one charge.

    • J-Ro

      If he wants to make his money back, he should make it attachable to gaming controls. This would go great with an xbox one or a ps4.

  • JB

    Dumb product for dumb people, and will be bankrupt after impending lawsuit…..nothing to see here. non story.

    • Joshua W Boudreau

      What lawsuit are you referring to? Blackberry can’t sue over it. Yes, it looks a lot like the Blackberry keyboard, but it isn’t a phone keyboard, it’s a keyboard case, so I highly doubt that Blackberry will be able to get anything for it. Also, Blackberry can’t afford a lost lawsuit right now.

    • WalkinOnBottles

      BB can afford a lost lawsuit btw, they’re not doing so well in the consumer market but they still do have assets.

      Anyways, they can sue. BB owns patents for the keyboard itself, especially the way they’re shaped, feel, and specific button placements. Trust me, BB wouldn’t go all those years without patenting what made them rich.

    • Joshua W Boudreau

      But, again, they are patenting a keyboard for a phone, not a case. Also, if you look at the keyboards side by side, they are quite different.

    • WalkinOnBottles

      No they aren’t, they’re shaped EXTREMELY similar. The same “water wave” design where the keys are shaped asymmetrically with ridges specifically placed to sense where your finger is, white lettering with black backgrounds separated by aluminum.

      You could place it right beside the Q10 design and it will be super identical with little difference.

      Also your “it’s a phone not a case” argument probably won’t stand well in court. As BB would likely counter that with “but when it’s attached, it’s technically a phone therefore you’re stepping on our patent”. They’ve got lawyers anyways so they can come up with much better arguments.

    • Joshua W Boudreau

      Okay, but that simply wouldn’t work. I get your argument, but patent law is extremely specific. It’s not “technically a phone” when the case is on the phone: It’s still a phone and a case. If both products were being sold as one, perhaps Blackberry would have something, but there’s no way that lawsuit would fly.

      Don’t take my word for it. Over the next coming months, keep an eye on it. I can almost guarantee you that nothing is going to happen.

    • Stephen_81

      Depends how the patent is worded. If the patent is for the KEY shape (which I believe it is) for Mobile devices, that COULD extend to being after market mobile device keyboards. if the patent is worded to be the Key shape built into a Mobile phone then it wouldn’t be valid.

      It certainly is one worth investigating and looking at the exact wording on the patents

    • Joshua W Boudreau

      Exactly. It’s all about the wording. I think that specifying the key shape for all mobile devices would be a difficult patent to obtain, but it’s possible. I think that it’s more likely to pertain primarily to mobile phones. Again, though, like you said, it would be interesting to see the wording.

    • Stephen_81

      I’ll try and write something significant tonight about the specific patents, The patent issued to BlackBerry (formerly RIM) was very broad back in 2001ish It resulted in BlackBerry (Formerly RIM) having a reputation similar to Apple today with them having many lawsuits going and being coined by publications like the Registrar as Lawsuits in Motion

    • J-Ro

      In the case it looks like a Q10 with a longer screen. Pair that with iOS 7 and it will just be a colorful BB10 device.

    • Joshua W Boudreau

      Clearly some people don’t agree, but if you look at the button layout, they are different.

      When you file for a patent, you need to state exactly how the product will be used and in what capacity. Blackberry would have had to state that the keyboard that they patented would pertain to phones, not cases. Also, Blackberry can’t file a patent that denies the ability for any other company to make a keyboard for a phone. Look at the Q10 keyboard and this case side by side and you’ll see that they do look quite different.

    • Stephen_81

      I am not arguing the case about this particular case. But BlackBerry issued licensing to Palm so palm could make the Treo line of phones.
      The treo keyboard was different from the BlackBerry keyboards of 2002, but still fell under RIM patents

    • Joshua W Boudreau

      The situation in that case might be because they are both mobile devices, but I don’t know if an accessory would fall under that category. Good thought, though. It’s entirely possible.

    • Bbrysucks

      There will be no lawsuit, just like there will be no more blackberry. Period.

  • Stephen_81

    The balance of that device will suck!

    The BlackBerry Torch (slider) was very long just like this was and it was a bit challenging to type and walk with 1 hand.

    If it was only about the keyboard then Android devices would have been successful with the keyboards. the OS needs to support having the keyboard. It needs the little things like holding the key down for special characters related to that letter, it needs hold to capitalize and the various other little tricks that make the BlackBerry keyboard experience the best mobile keyboard.

    I’m sure this will get lots of sales because so few people have seen or touched a BlackBerry Q10 and have no idea what BlackBerry has to offer. But I suspect it will be a case people use for a short while then just go back to touchscreen typing because this case is just too big.

    I dealt with lower battery life on my iPhone 4S because having the Third Rail Case was just too much bulk

  • bicecream

    I think the last sentence in this article was supposed to be “Typo Keyboard WOUDLN’T exist if someone had just shown Seacrest a BlackBerry Q10″.

    and on the other note, I actually want to see some flexible screens that push small buttons up over the touch screen so you can have a tactile feel while texting. I’m so sure I saw one of these prototypes two years ago. but no news about it now.

    • J-Ro

      They are actually working on something like that as we speak.

  • Anthony

    The article doesn’t mention that the resulting length of your phone with this case is 8 ft.

    • J-Ro

      That’s a safety feature. That way, you will never lose your iPhone again.

  • M-Len

    LOL…..that keyboard looks like it was designed solely with purpose to be sued by BlackBerry…..the keys alone….man open shut case….game over typo…smh…

  • WatDah

    $99 USD?? That must be a typo…. ZING!!

    • Plazmic Flame

      You win, lol

  • 01011001001

    Ordered one to try out myself, not that I need it but some people in my office are looking to switch over to iPhone but can’t let go off it because of kb – blah blah blah…

  • Blocknards

    For people who want their cake and eat it too.

  • michael

    what a horrible name for the product…

    • Hungrier

      …which complements everything else about this product perfectly.

  • lawfirm

    I hope Ryan Seacrest has deep pockets because RIM has a slew of patents on that keyboard design…see you in court Ryan!

    • Plazmic Flame

      Can you post your source by any chance, of said patents?

    • Stephen_81

      None of the patents for Keyboards address after market cases.

      They all address

      “A handheld e-mail device optimally configured for use with the thumbs of a user, comprising:

      a QWERTY keyboard comprising a plurality of letter keys,”


      “A handheld electronic mobile device configured for sending and receiving wireless email messages comprising:

      a keyboard comprising a plurality of letter keys;

      a display;

      a processor; and

      a memory comprising instructions executable by the processor to:

      detect a key down event, the key down event being associated with a first key being depressed;”

      Research in Motion was very detailed and specific in their MANY keyboard patents, but not once did I see it left open enough to include a case.

      That said Apple couldn’t Bundle this keyboard with their devices to sell. it will have to remain a 3rd party option

  • framing god

    Just get a note 3. Obviously a real keyboard on a computer will always be faster. I don’t think a BlackBerry keyboard could honestly beat a virtual keyboard on a device like note 3.

  • EvanKrosney

    Sure, I’m used to a touchscreen by now, and the one on my Z10′s hands down one of the best on the market. However, I can still type faster on a physical QWERTY, and if you’re a heavy typer and prioritize being able to churn out emails quickly over browsing the web or watching videos, the Q10 makes sense.

    This iPhone case seems a bit obscure though, it makes the phone awfully long and awkward. Isn’t this why they invented sliders?

  • J-Ro

    This looks a lot like the Blackberry Bold keyboard. Aren’t they worried about being sued?

  • Pigs Can Fly

    what da fug? Alicia Keys, Justin Bieber now Ryan? What next? Will JLo drop FIAT and go for BlackBerry too?

  • Michael

    Just get a Z10 or the Z30…best touch-screen keyboards HANDS-DOWN. Doh? Both phones blow anything currently on the market out of the water. People need to wake up! iPhones are junk.

    • BetelgeuseOrion

      except switftkey is better than the BB keyboard (the BB keyboard’s prediction engine is based on swiftkeys engine)

      if you dont have gesture typing your keyboard is WORTHLESS.

    • Michael

      You obviously have never tried the BlackBerry keyboard. Unparalleled.

    • 4u2nvinmtl

      I found the keyboard to be to small and cramped when comparing to my Note 2.

      I also couldn’t find any options to modify the look and feel of the BB keyboard (change colors, textures, and button appearance, etc.)

    • Ryan Rodrigue

      Swift key sucks, stock android is better. I tried swift key for about two weeks and couldn’t stand it. The layout is horrible IMO.

  • Peter Johanson

    This has made a very versatile device that is an iPhone even more versatile with a qwert keyboard! Interesting how they did not create one for android devices….

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