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(Pocket-lint) - The G-Tech Smart Fabric Keyboard aims to solve the age-old problem of offering you a full sized keyboard with the hassle of carrying one in your bag.

Whilst some might be happy to slip a 105 key keyboard into their rucksack, we've got better things to do, and so the G-Tech Smart Fabric Keyboard promises to fit the bill of giving you the ability to type without the bulky plastic.

Made almost completely from fabric by a company called ElekTex - well apart from the battery and Bluetooth pack to one side - the keyboard can be rolled to be the size of one of those chicken Caesar wraps you get at M&S Food.

Power is provided by two AA batteries and so far in our test we are still going strong on our first batch of batteries.

Set up depends on your handheld, but generally involves installing a small application that is run before the keyboard can connect. Annoyingly the drivers are on one of those business card CD-ROMs so if you've got a slot loading CD-Rom drive bear this in mind.

Once the software is installed it's a case of pairing the two and it's all very straight forward.

The keyboard works by figuring out where you are applying pressure to the fabric and then assigning a function to that area - in this case a key on a keyboard (the same fabric is used in those iPod jackets that have iPod controls, but no hard buttons).

While the keyboard is easy to use and connect one of the biggest problems we found was there is no click click that you get with a normal keyboard (go on you know you want to press your keyboard now to see what we are talking about - reassuring isn't it?). Additionally you'll need a flat surface to lay the keyboard out on, which kind of breaks away from the point of being portable with the PDA in the first place.


Useful, but more fad than a must have, the G-Tech Smart Fabric Keyboard seems more about showing what the technology can do rather than improving your ability to send emails fast.

A good idea, but there are better solutions available.

Writing by Stuart Miles. Originally published on 19 February 2007.