Even though tablets and smartphones are improving and adding new features all the time, a shrunken keyboard on a touch screen still doesn't compare to the comfort of a full-sized keyboard for typing. There are plenty of solutions for this, from snap-on cases with keyboards built into them to keyboards that fold into a compact package. But these all just make your device less mobile or give you one more bulky thing to carry. For a more compact alternative, Brookstone has begun taking orders for a new virtual keyboard from CTX, which projects a usable laser keyboard onto any flat surface, all while fitting nicely inside a small keychain.

This certainly isn't the first virtual keyboard on the market, but it is the smallest and most affordable to date. Like virtual keyboards of the past, this one projects a laser outline of a full-sized QWERTY keyboard in front of it, while an optical sensor tracks a user's finger movements as they type. A Bluetooth connection lets it sync wirelessly to most smart devices, and a lithium ion battery holds enough power for two hours of typing and can be recharged through USB. Best of all, the whole thing is about the size of a Zippo lighter and can be carried easily in your pocket with your other kind of keys.

Aside from portability, CTX's virtual keyboard is also much more sanitary than a physical one that accumulates dust and grime the more it's used. On the other hand though, you might have to ignore a few odd looks when you start literally flashing a laser to type out your next text.

Right now, Brookstone is selling the Virtual Keyboard through its website for US$99.99, with plans to begin shipping them out on October 1.

Source: Brookstone