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The Gboard: a keypad especially for Gmail users

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December 6, 2009

The Gboard is a shortcuts keypad for Gmail users

The Gboard is a shortcuts keypad for Gmail users

For time-poor Gmail-ers, or serious users sick of maneuvering a mouse, here is the plug-in Gboard shortcuts keypad. To get going, it’s as easy as one, two … well, there’s really only two steps. First step, connect to your computer’s USB port, secondly, enable Keyboard Shortcuts within the Gmail settings, and that’s it. The makers say in an hour or two you’ll be fully at home with the Gboard and won’t even have to look away from the screen.

The Gboard works by sending the same keystrokes as a traditional keyboard. This means that whenever you have the cursor focused in an input field, hitting the keys on the Gboard will result in standard characters being generated. That's one of the reasons the manufacturers have included an "ESC" key so users can hit the ESC key whenever they'd like to exit an input field to use a shortcut command.

There's no need for installing any extra software. As long as you’ve selected Keyboard Shortcuts, the device should work immediately. And the company claims most users will find little problem in learning the shortcuts. But for those whose fingers sometimes work quicker than their brains, or don't always do what their brains tell them the manufacturers have deliberately not included a "Send" key on the shortcuts keyboard for fear it may “cause undesired results if used in the wrong context”. However, pretty much every other common function has a dedicated key on the device.

Measuring 4.88 x 3.5 x .38 inches (130 x 88 x 9mm), the Gboard works with "recent" Mac and Windows operating systems and sells online for US$19.99.

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