SleeKeys: a physical keyboard for your smartphone
A physical keyboard for iPhone and Samsung Galaxy phones using NO electricity or Bluetooth and only 1/8” thick!!
Like us on facebook for more photos! https://www.facebook.com/pages/Sleekeys/138919506
UPDATE: We Added A Braille version of SleeKeys!
Our team at SleekTech owns a collection of smartphones, including iPhones and the Samsung Galaxy series. We tend to type a lot – often and long. And we hate doing it on these all-touch devices.
Smartphones are incredible machines, but typing by way of tapping on a glass window is just a little unnatural, and highly inaccurate. We have been searching high and low for a better replacement technology, but have always hit a brick (er... glass?) wall. So, like every red-blooded American team of innovators would do, we set out to create our own.
What is it?
Today, we present to you SleeKeys, a precision innovation that promises to change your smartphone typing experience for the better. SleeKeys is a sleek, simple and clever iPhone case that sports an integrated full-size QWERTY keyboard, providing a faster, better typing experience less prone to mistakes. A wicked-cool flip mechanism allows you to deploy and hide the keyboard with a one-handed flip motion – flip it open, flip it closed. To reiterate, you flip it out when you need a keyboard, and it disappears when you’re done typing. Intrigued? Read on!
How’s it special?
It is NOT a Bluetooth keyboard. It uses NO electricity. It NEVER needs charging of any sort. So yes, we believe it’s pretty special.
We have developed a patent-pending technology that helps SleeKeys interact with your phone seamlessly. When flipping the keyboard onto the front on your smartphone it aligns perfectly with the phone’s on-screen keyboard, and you are ready to begin typing immediately with no wait or connectivity hiccups. The SleeKeys typing experience is one akin to that of the best tactile BlackBerry keyboards. Input is precise, button feedback is noticeable and satisfying, and the overall fit and finish of the keys is perfectly engineered and machined.
We are modern-day consumers ourselves. So we understand that a good smartphone accessory can be no less impressive than the phone itself. In every stage of development of our SleeKeys project, we have assessed and reassessed every conceivable fault and flaw. We have obsessed over a design simultaneously stylish and functional to build a finished product that we would love to go out and buy ourselves. The result of all this research and development and our patent-pending typing technology is also a thinness wow factor. The SleeKeys keyboard is just 1/8” thick – the heights of two pennies – and it weighs next to nothing!
What did it take?
Getting here wasn’t easy. We never even expected it to be so hard… But our dedication to excellence from dream to design to development to delivery continuously pushed us forward.
We started out working on our little idea more than a year ago. We hired a designing company to bring our idea to fruition. After seven months of investing time and creativity we were presented with the final model which we were unsatisfied with. The keyboard was way too thick and it had hinges on the side which protruded clumsily. We then made a very bold decision that instead of having a product that just works, we wanted to present a product that actually enhances the user experience. We then hired a top-notch designing company in New York, who completely discared the original plan and started designing our product entirely from scratch. Our team considered multiple directions and design options. We made more than a few prototypes to test and prove our technology, and only then began the case design process. A lot of money went into the final design, getting it done right here in the US. Truth be told, we could’ve designed it in China for 5 percent of what we spent here… but we don’t believe in skimping on anything or in applying shortcuts. Every small detail of this product has been hammered out to perfection, making this a smartphone case that can compete with the best of them. To share a little secret, we’ve spent more than $15,000 just on prototypes to make sure that the keys have the right feel and function.
Are we there yet?
Nearly. It’s very-well known that many startup innovation projects get delayed and run into glitches and complications of every variety. We made a big decision in not addressing the Kickstarter audience with a raw or struggling prospect. We have waited until now, until the concept has been finalized to our utterly demanding standards. The manufacturing process has already begun, and we already got the final tooling design and approved it. The manufacturer started cutting the tools (the process in which the steel frame is cut in the exact shape the product is going to take). We are expecting the first samples of iPhone 5 SleeKeys on June 12 and Samsung Galaxy S3 samples on June 25. Once we approve the samples it should take another 2 weeks to manufacture and assemble the first batch. Shipping should only take approximately one week as we are planning to deliver the first batch by air mail. We are currently in negotiation with a reputable company to handle the fulfillment, so we can bring the SleeKeys to our backers as soon as possible. We estimate a full-scale release date in end- July. You may note that this is a rather prolonged timeline, but we are allotting ourselves a margin of error, not to disappoint the Kickstarter public with delayed delivery on promises.
How can you help?
You can help in more ways than one! You can refer your friends to our Kickstarter page and thus help us become more popular. You can write to us with suggestions for upcoming products or product features. But, most importantly, you can help us along in the manufacturing process with funds that will ensure we bring our product to fruition as quickly as possible. As we stand now, every dollar matters. For your partnership, you are of course privy to the first batch of our ready products, before anyone else!
Manufacturing is very expensive, involving the overcoming of logistic, linguistic and operational barriers. It is in this stage of our journey that you play the largest part. To produce the very best product possible, we hired a leading sourcing company in Boston. They put us in touch with a Hong Kong manufacturing firm known for its experience and exquisite manufacturing techniques, particularly with molded smartphone accessories. Here too we shied away from cheaper, less proven companies, even as that could’ve lowered our costs by 50%.
We already started the design for the Samsung Galaxy S4. We estimate our S4 model to arrive in September. Initial color offers are black and white; complementing the highly popular colors of the smartphones they are indented to cleave to. We hope that, with your strong support, we will be able to develop SleeKeys in more colors and for additional phone models.
We have designed a belt clips/holster companion to SleeKeys for both iPhone 5 and the S3 and are currently designing one for the S4. You can choose to pre-order SleeKeys on its own or as a combo offer with our custom holster.
SleeKeys for iPhone and S3 will retail for $50 (estimate), and the holster will retail for $20 (estimate). Kickstarter funders get SleeKeys for just $40 and the combo offer for a bargain at $50.
We hope that you find Sleekeys as innovative and as exciting as we do. You are cordially invited to support our project, and we thank you so much for your interest in SleeKeys.
And always remember: If typing on your smartphone drives you mad, don’t flip out – just flip out SleeKeys!
One of the early prototypes we made to experiment with the flip idea. (We were considering 5 different slide out mechanisms!)
SleekTech will reinvest 5% to back other kickstarter projects. For more info check out http://kickingitforward.org/
Risks and challenges
SleekTech has recruited only the most qualified designers and every nuance of the workings of SleeKeys has been hammered out to perfection. We created prototypes every step of the way to prove both the product design and function. We already received confirmation from our manufactureer that they could in fact produce this design. And while we worked to ensure the success of this product, we nontheless must caution, that with every new idea there is risk involved. And although we alotted ourselves a broad time line of 3 months to get the product completed, there's always a small chance that the tooling won't meet our satisfaction. In that case it might take 2 or 3 trials to get it up to par in which our shipment might be postponed.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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