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Stowaway Preview

Tuesday April 25, 2000 - 5:45 AM EST - By James Hromadka

Stowaway Sneak Peak

One of the few complaints that people have had about PalmOS-compatibles is that when you want to write a lot of data, the Graffiti™ method can be somewhat slow and cumbersome.  Some people have mastered Graffiti™ and can write 30+ WPM;  I, unfortunately, am not one of them.  So when I heard about the Think Outside Stowaway keyboard, I began imagining all of the things that having a foldable keyboard would allow me to do.  Has the Stowaway lived up  to the hype?  In a word, YES!

Everything you have heard about the Stowaway is true.  It is about an inch longer and wider than the Visor and folds out into a laptop-size keyboard.  The PalmOS™ was not designed for keyboards, so you will still need to use the stylus in some situations, similar to needing to use a mouse.  The Stowaway lessens the need for the stylus by having function keys that allow you to do everything from turn on the backlight to selecting Ok/Cancel from the keyboard.  You can also access the four main app buttons from the Stowaway keyboard.

This is the type of accessory that makes laptops obsolete.  I can take my Visor and Stowaway with me to meetings and class and type in any notes and email or beam them to my colleagues later.  All we need now is some presentation software and a projector Springboard module and you will never need to lug a laptop around again to those meetings.

The Stowaway keyboard is still in beta, but should be out soon.  It will be available in retail stores and from Handspring's website.  I will have a detailed review of the Stowaway once it is out of beta.  How useful is the Stowaway?  Well, I wrote most of this article using it!

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