Friday, November 24, 2006

FrogPad Relief

In a copyrighted story today, Meaghan Wolff of the Washington Post reveals that the Hyatt hotel chain is making a special hand massage package available for businesspeople who…overuse…their Blackberry PDAs:

Almost two years ago the American Society of Hand Therapists warned that heavy users of hand-held electronics such as the BlackBerry are at risk of repetitive stress injuries from thumb-typing on a tiny keypad. But it took the Hyatt to see a business opportunity in “BlackBerry thumb.”

So yes, if you’re thumbing your way through the business wars, you can get some short-term relief from a soothing $80 massage at the Hyatt.

Or you can switch to the FrogPadTM. Created by Linda Marroquin, FrogPad is a one-handed keyboard (available for righties or lefties) that can be used with USB keyboard-compatible PDAs, Pocket PCs, Tablet and Wearable PCs, plus other mobile applications like laptops.

For tight spaces, for the sheer enjoyment of using one whole hand instead of a couple of your thumbs, you can get the functionality and performance of an efficient keyboard one-handed – and it’s easy to learn. It’s palm-sized, light in weight, but with a solid feel. It’s a robust device.

I’m trying it. Marroquin took me through a simple lesson. Since most of my “data entry” is desktop copywriting, though, two hands – or, to be exact, about seven fingers – is still faster for me. I don’t do any mobile computing yet.

Marroquin has designed the FrogPad for fast data entry. The letter layout is based on the percent usage of each letter in the English language. Fifteen letters that are used 86% of the time by typists are placed in the most efficient locations on the keyboard. There are a variety of FrogPad typing tutors available for practice, which can be accessed via the FrogPad website.

From a marketing perspective, FrogPad is the brand that Marroquin has built, well, single-handed. No ad agencies, no PR firms. Just incredible smarts and a lot of business savvy. Right now, there are more than 10,000 FrogPad users worldwide…people who have found a startling number of reasons to type one-handed.

Now a hand massage is appealing, if the least bit odd. If you’re really suffering from Blackberry Thumb, the massage is no long-term solution. Economically, a USB FrogPad costs about 1/3 more than the Hyatt massage. A full-scale, Bluetooth-enabled FrogPad costs about twice what the massage costs…and the benefits last a lot longer.

Hyatt’s come up with a cute marketing idea. Marroquin has invented an entire new category of digital input device and the strong brand to go with it.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your informative article on the Frogpad. I have been thinking about buying a Bluetooth portable keyboard for my smartphone and have been looking at several possibilities, one of them being the Frogpad.

I have however, read that the Frogpad is very difficult to learn and that the fastest most can hope to type on it after many hours of using it, is about 10 to 15 words per minute (wpm). A typing speed that is no where near the supposed 40wpm touted by the Frogpad company.

It also struck me having read your article, just how few ("10,000") Frogpads there were in use worldwide. Considering that the Frogpad has been on sale for many years now, it got me wondering whether or not the reports are indeed true and if I should forget about the Frogpad altogether?

Keep up the good work.