Brydge is a keyboard cover for the iPad that attempts to turn the Apple tablet into something very close in style and weight, if not grunt, to the MacBook Air. Currently a Kickstarter project, Brydge aims to join the growing number of accessories tailored for those who produce as well as consume content on their iPad.

The iPad is undoubtedly a great device - it's the bestselling tablet by far. But while consuming content, be it the web, music, movies, games, or apps, is a joy, creating content, particularly text-based content, on an iPad isn't quite as much fun. This is where keyboard cases - which double up as keyboards, bringing physical feedback to the task of writing - come into their own.

Logitech's Keyboard Case is one of the best-known examples to date. There are also Android tablets built on this very premise: the Asus Eee Pad Transformer series comprises tablets which can be slotted into their optional keyboard docks.

Brydge, from the people behind The Oona smartphone stand, is a keyboard case for the iPad that aims for Apple-esque design with its anodized aluminum construction.

The unit has a patent-pending hinge mechanism (with almost 180-degrees of movement) that's designed to lock the iPad in place until you give it a healthy yank to free it again.

When in the closed position Brydge sits snugly up against the screen of the iPad, offering protection from knocks and dirt. When opened out it becomes a fully operational Bluetooth keyboard. An optional extra is the inclusion of built-in stereo speakers to complement the iPad's own audio output.

With CEO Tim Cook recently expressing his distaste for "tradeoff" hybrid devices, Apple clearly wants to keep the iPad as purely a tablet and the MacBook Air as an ultra-portable productivity laptop. This leaves room for third parties to create solutions for those customers who want the option of a hybrid solution.

Brydge needs US$90k in funding to go into production. The minimum pledge is currently $150, for which you'll receive one of the first (speakers-free version) Brydges to emerge from the factory. If all goes to plan shipments are expected in October 2012.

Here's the company's video pitch:

Source: Kickstarter via CNET

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    Dave Parrack

    Dave is a technology journalist with a ravenous appetite for gadgets, gizmos, and gubbins. He's based in the U.K., and from his center of operations writes about all facets of modern and future technology. He has learned more in his five years writing for the Web than he did in 11 years at school, and with none of the boring subjects thrown in to the mix.

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    • iPad Laptop... Frankly, I'm not quite convinced. I thought that iPad was supposed to be different from a regular laptop. Right now my question is isn't it simplier to buy a laptop?

    • The main shortcoming of the ipad is it's inability to read/write documents from a thumb drive or SD card. If the keyboard would also solve this problem, I think there would be a huge market for this. I would also change the charging connector to use the ipad cable and provide built in storage for it.

    • I saw this on as well with a similar claim that this bluetooth keyboard some how turns an iPad into a Macbook. That a a blatant lie, it doesn't change the operating system to OSX or add mouse support. All it is is another keyboard accessory for the iPad.

      Jon Smith
    • An answer to the question, isn't it simpler to buy a laptop, is that the size is more convenient for traveling, as is the iPad's ability to get on the web from anywhere on an inexpensive prepaid basis. It's tempting. I'm toying with dictation apps at the moment, though, and they may well eliminate any need for a keyboard at all.

      Rich Mansfield
    • Love the idea but before I plunk down $$$, will it work with iPad 1? This is not clear in your introductory information or video.

      Michael Youngblood
    • Jon Smith, of course it doesn't change the hardware in any way. Nothing can literally transform the iPad into a MacBook Air. But this is an attempt to mimic the style of the MacBook Air. Certainly there are no other keyboard cases I know of made out of aluminum. The comparison is made on the Kickstarter page and in the video, so it originates from the people behind Brydge rather than CNET or Gizmag.

      Dave Parrack
    • Wow, why didn't anyone think of this before?

      Oh, wait, they did, like a year ago. Or more.

      Oh well, I'm sure someone will buy this Johny Come Lately.

      Charles Bosse
    • It sure looks like their keyboard is made by the same people who make the Zaggfolio keyboard (and different from the Logitech one). The key layout for the extra keys (think: function keys) seems identical, based on the limited selection of photos. (The identical layout is a good users can move from keyboard to keyboard easily ... the Logitech is different, sigh.)

      Stan Sieler
    • If you want your iPad to act like a MacBook Air, why not just buy a MacBook Air?....

    • Charles Bosse, the article references the Asus Eee Pad Transformer range. Keyboards for tablets are nothing new but the way this has been designed to mimic Apple's usual style is.

      Dave Parrack

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