One year ago, an early press release arrived in my inbox from a company called WayTools. It was poised to announce a revolutionary keyboard called the TextBlade. There was scant additional information on the keyboard, and it wasn’t until one month later on January 13, 2015, that the company unveiled its product website. The TextBlade is a multitouch keyboard that collapses into a pocketable form factor. The keyboard looked to be a great accessory for those that travel frequently who want the feel of a full-size keyboard in a tiny package.
In both the original press releases, WayTools said that TextBlades were entering mass production and would be available in February. Nearly a year later, however, no production TextBlades have reached customers’ hands. Every month, I went to look for a status update at the end of the month, only to see the date for shipping pushed back another month. February became March, which became April, May, June, July, August, September, October, November, and now December. As of today, the company has not provided a status update on its blog or on its forum in weeks.
What’s the cause for the delays? There’s a litany of hardware and firmware problems on WayTool’s self-described punch list, ranging from the molds for the keycaps being too stiff, over-the-air firmware update bugs, and the occasional (and hard to reproduce) key repeating phenomenon. On WayTool’s forum, two camps have formed, one continuing to encourage WayTools to release a (near) perfect product, and another that just wants the company to ship the d*mn keyboard already. The latter group is also disappointed that WayTools charged their credit cards on order, even though no product has shipped for months. There are examples of people who complained loudly, only to have WayTools cancel their orders for them. In my opinion, customer service at WayTools — at least on the forum — has been especially lacking in tact and manners.
I’ve taken my Logitech K760 Solar Powered Keyboard with me on trips before and wished for something more portable. The TextBlade looked like an intriguing solution, and I was happy to give them $100 for the keyboard. As the year anniversary of the product’s announcement comes up in less than a month, I find my fingers hovering over the cancellation/refund button. What has kept me from cancelling thus far is that I was one of the first people to pony up money for the TextBlade. WayTools has said the earliest orders would get a “substantial” gift. But, I have to draw a line in the sand at some point. So, if WayTools doesn’t ship the TextBlade by the middle of January, I’m out.
In the meantime, I drew the following illustrations using my new iPad Pro and Apple Pencil. This 2016 Calendar take a sometimes humorous, sometimes sad look at the tardiness of the TextBlade product. Which one is your favorite? Tell me by leaving a comment below!