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Posts Tagged ‘keyboard’

Various Ways to Control a mini PC without IR Receiver for HTPC Use

April 22nd, 2015 9 comments

Low cost Intel Bay Trail mini PCs such as Pipo X7, MeegoPad T01, MeLE PCG03, etc… almost all share one thing in common: they lack an IR receiver, and for people who’d like to use their box as a dedicated HTPC running Kodi for example, this could be a problem as connecting a keyboard might not the best of solutions. Since I’ve been asked about this recently, I’ve decided to dig into the issue to see what options could be available, and I also hope to trigger a discussion in comments to discover other interesting solutions.

RF Air Mouse

I’m using MeLE F10 Deluxe air mouse during my reviews, and such device can be used with HTPC. You just need to connect a tiny USB RF dongle to one of the USB ports of your mini PC, and you’d ready to go with having to configure anything. In Kodi, you would not use the air mouse function, but the remote mode is working well, and you can use the QWERTY side for the rare times when you need to input text.

Mele_F10_DeluxeThis type of device is compliant with USB HID class, so it should work with all common operating systems. MeLE F10 Deluxe sells for about $30, but you can also find cheaper model like Tronsmart TSM01 that goes for $17. Whatever air mouse you choose, make sure a play/pause button is included, as it’s not always a given.

Small form factor RF or Bluetooth Keyboards

If you don’t mind something a little bigger, but still smaller than a full-sized keyboard, a wireless Bluetooth or RF keyboard may be an option, such as the popular Logitech K400, which beside a keyboard also includes a multi-touch touchpad.

Logiteck_K400It should also be easy to setup, as you just need to connect the “USB unifying receiver” to your mini PC, and you’re good to go. Logitech K400 costs $25 on Amazon US. I also mentioned iPazzport KP-810-35BTT Bluetooth keyboard recently with backlit keys, and a touchpad that can be used as a numpad.

USB IR Remotes

If you don’t need something too fancy, and just want to control Kodi with the arrow keys and enter most of the time, you could get a USB IR remote. The cheapest one could be SANOXY Wireless USB PC remote control / mouse that sells for $5 on Amazon US.

Sanoxy_5_Dollars_Remote_ControlThe remote is said to be driverless, so even though the specs says it only works with Windows, it should also work with Linux or other operating systems. You just need to connect the USB IR receiver into a USB port of your mini PC, and it should work. In case of issues, you may have to double check  “Remote control sends keyboard presses” is enabled in “Input Devices” menu. Reviews are mixed on Amazon with some people saying it works great for the price, while others complained it only lasted a few weeks, and the range is 10 feet (3 meters) max.

Use your TV or AV Receiver Remote Control with HDMI CEC

HDMI CEC allows you to control multiple devices over HDMI using a single remote control, and in theory you could use your TV or AV receiver remote control to control Kodi on your mini PC. Unfortunately, HDMI CEC is not usually implemented in computers, but there’s a workaround thanks to HDMI USB CEC adapters such as the one provided by Pulse Eight.

USB_HDMI_CEC_AdapterIt looks pretty straightforward to use: connect the HDMI out and USB port to your mini PC, and the HDMI IN part to your TV or AV receiver, and it will be automatically detected in Kodi, and you should be good to go.

You can buy on Pulse Eight website directly for $44.60, and it’s also available on Amazon US for $49, where you’ll find mixed reviews. I’ve also tried to find Chinese clones / alternatives, but without success.

Remote App with an Android Smartphone

A final way to control your HTPC is to use your smartphone, or if you prefer recycle one of your old smartphone, with a remote control app such as Yatse.

Yatse_Kodi_Remote_ControlThis may not be as easily to use as the other solution above, but it should be much more powerful feature-wise.

That’s all I could come up with, so I’m now eagerly waiting for your suggestions, or just let us know what you use.

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iPazzPort KP-810-35BTT Backlit Keyboard Features a Switchable Touchpad / Numpad Zone

April 8th, 2015 No comments

I’ve read many people praise Logitech K400 Bluetooth keyboard for use with Android mini PCs, as it’s functional and costs just $25 on Amazon. I’ve just come across another similar keyboard with iPazzPort KP-810-35BTT that adds backlit keys and the touchpad zone can be switched to numpad by the touch of a button.

iPazzPort_KP-810-35BTT

Click to Enlarge

Key features listed for the keyboard:

  • Backlit QWERTY keyboard with touchpad supporting multi-touch and scrolling bar.
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 3.0; max distance: 10m
  • Power Supply – 3x AAA Batteries
  • Dimensions –  314 x 112.5 x 17mm
  • Weight – 218g
  • Material – ABS

Backlit_Bluetooth_KeyboardIt’s a standard Bluetooh HID keyboard so it should work with any OS including Windows, Linux, Android, Mac OS, iOS… One possible downside is the lack of left / right mouse buttons. I have such touchpad without separate physical mouse buttons on Acer Aspire E5 laptop, and while a left click is easy to do, a right click might be more complicated, and click and slide – for example to move a window – is a real challenge. The specs mentions multi-touch support, but I’m not sure that mean gesture like pinch and zoom are supported in Android.

iPazzPort KP-810-35BTT can be purchased for $33.99 on Pandawill, and a few dollars more on sites like DealExtreme or Geekbuying. There’s also a 2.4RF version of the keyboard called iPazzPort KP-810-35 that sells for $26.99. A few more details can be found on the manufacturer page.

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Categories: Hardware Tags: bluetooth, keyboard, touchpad

OneBoard PRO+ is an Android Mechanical Keyboard Powered by Rockchip RK3288 SoC

February 2nd, 2015 8 comments

When Coolship keyboard computer was announced in 2013, it caught the attention of some people, but unfortunately the crowdfunding campaign was a disaster despite reaching their funding target,  and few people, if any, ever received the device. But if you are a nostalgic and still would like a Commodore C64-like computer in a keyboard, a company call Acooo has designed OneBoard PRO+ based on Rockchip RK3288 processor and with a backlit mechanical keyboard housed in an aluminum case.

Rockchip_RK3288_Keyboard_ComputerOneBoard PRO+ specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3288 Quad Core Cortex A17 up to 1.8GHz with ARM Mali-T764 GPU supporting OpenGL ES1.1/2.0/3.0, Open VG1.1, OpenCL, DirectX11
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – 16 GB eMMC flash + SD card slot up to 32GB
  • Keyboard – 83-keys QWERTY keyboard with backlit keys made of ABS plastic
  • Video Output / Input – HDMI output, DVI input
  • Audio Output / Input – HDMI, 3.5 mm jack for headphone
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port for Android only, 1x USB 2.0 port to connect a mouse.
  • Misc – Power button
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 332 x 178 x 40 mm
  • Weight – 2.76 kg

Android_Keyboard_Computer_DescriptionThe Android 4.4 keyboard comes with a power adapter and cable,  a “PC-line connect cable” with DVI connector on one side, and HDMI + USB on the other side, an HDMI cable, and a “DIY accessory tool box”. The keyboard is actually designed be used both as an Android system and a normal keyboard for your PC or Mac, acting as a dual operating system computer. The connection diagram below makes it clearer.

Oneboard_Pro+_Connection_DiagramSo the PC line is for the display and keyboard connection to your computer, and the video is always outputted via HDMI, but a USB mouse can be connected on a USB port and be used by both the computer and keyboard. The top right Yin/Yang key is used to switching between Android 4.4 and the computer input. Chinese speakers may want to have a look at the promo video.

I quite like the idea, and the design looks pretty neat, although I would have personally preferred a 104-key keyboard with a numpad. The price, however, is what may put off most people, as it sells for $289 on Banggood, or $299 on Aliexpress. For reference, OneBoard PRO+ can be found for 1299 to 2099 CNY on Taobao ($207 to $335 US).

Thanks to Onebir for the tip.

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HP to Sell Leap Motion Enabled Keyboard for $99

June 10th, 2014 No comments

Leap Motion is a tiny device tracking your hands, fingers, and joints movements to control a computer, device, and even a quadcopter. The product was announced in 2012, and HP started selling computers with the technology in 2013. But later this month, you’ll be able to buy a gesture control keyboard from HP for $99, instead of just the Leap Motion USB device for $75.

Hewlett_Packard_Leap_Motion_KeyboardHP featured Leap Motion in notebooks such as “HP ENVY17 Leap Motion Special Edition”, and this keyboard was actually available previously, but only with some of Hewlett Packard’s desktops, and all-in-one PCs, and you’ll be able to purchase it separately. The company says the keyboard can be use with any Windows 7 or 8 computers or tablets as long as you install the software. Leap Motion software is also supported on Linux and Mac OS, so I’d assume it might also work with these operating systems (TBC).

Via Engadget

 

 

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One2Touch Softpad C1 and S1 are NFC Keyboards for Android Devices

November 4th, 2013 1 comment

It’s pretty easy to find Bluetooth keyboards if you want to a keyboard to type more easily and faster on your phone. They have two small inconveniences however: they need to be paired, and need to be recharged. The first one is not really a problem, but the second can be. If your phone supports NFC, you can now get One2Touch Softpad C1 or S2 wireless keyboard using NFC technology. These do not require pairing, nor charging (but uses CR2025 batteries).

SoftPad C1 NFC Keyboard

Softpad C1 NFC Keyboard

Softpad S1 is similar to C1, expect there’s space in the middle of the keyboard to insert your phone. S1 has recently been (quickly) reviewed by Android Central. To make the keyboard work with your Android smartphone, you’ll need to download the drivers from Google Play, and you’re ready to go.

You can watch the video below for some of the use cases with Softpad C1.

I could not find Softpad C1 for sale, but Softpad S1 is available for $99.99 from Brookstone which ship to the US (for free) and abroad. That’s about 3 times more expensive that some of the Bluetooth keyboards I’ve seen for sale. It’s supposed;y available from some other partners too, in Japan and Norway.

You can find more information, including user’s manuals, on One2Touch website.

Via Google+.

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Categories: Android, Hardware Tags: Android, keyboard, nfc, one2touch

Android Cortex A8 Keyboard / Advanced Remote for TV

January 13th, 2013 4 comments

Remote Solution,  a small technology company based in Hong Kong South Korea, has shown off an Android 4.0 powered keyboard controlling an Android STB at CES 2013. The device is designed to be used as an advanced TV remote control, looks like a small tablet with 8 control button, and can be inserted into a full sized QWERTY keyboard for faster typing.

Remote Solutions Android Keyboard

The specifications are as follows:

  • SoC – ARM Cortex-A8 processor @ 720 MHz (I’d guess a TI OMAP3 or Sitara processor at this freq)
  • System Memory – 512MB RAM
  • Storage – 2GB flash
  • Display – 3.5″ touchscreen display (480 x 320)
  • Connectivity – WiFi and Bluetooth
  • Misc – IR port to be used as a universal remote.

The touchscreen allows you to launch apps on your TV, move a cursor by using a virtual touch-pad, use an on-screen keyboard (when the screen is not connected to the keyboard), enter voice-commands via the built-in microphone, etc…

There’s currently no pricing or availability information availability. and the company does not appear to have a website. There’s no mention about this device in the company website, but this could be part of their TSR series.

Via: Liliputing

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