Typewriters are coming back from the grave, at least in the form of a wireless keyboard accessory.
A new Kickstarter project, called the Penna, aims to bring back the classic typewriter to the modern world. It’s also a perfect time for its resurrection as retro is making a comeback, apparently (vinyl records and film cameras are hip again!).
Developed by startup Elretron, the Penna is essentially a bluetooth keyboard accessory for smartphones, tablets and PCs, but one that adopts the vintage aesthetics of a typewriter complete with typewriter-esque mechanical keycaps and a lever.
The Penna comes in two flavours, one with a stylish chrome-edged circular typewriter keycaps, the other with conventional square-shaped keys. These keycaps are all laid out in the standard QWERTY setup, and includes modern functions such as volume and brightness adjustments.
The Penna uses the Cherry MX mechanical switch system (a technology from Germany) for its keycaps to produce that satisfyingly loud click sound when they are pressed.
The mechanical lever on the side of the Penna doesn’t actually serve to move the typewriter carriage like a regular typewriter would, but rather as a programmable macro bar to save frequently-used keys or words on your smartphone or tablet display.
The Penna also has a built-in tablet stand, uses the Bluetooth 4.2 wireless technology and can support multiple operating systems and devices. This keyboard runs on a pair of AA batteries so you don’t have to recharge it frequently.
There are five choice of colours available for the Penna: Matt Black, Pure White, Baby Pink, Olive Green and an attractive-looking Retro Wood texture. It costs US$99 on Kickstarter and is expected to ship to backers later in August.
Keep in mind that, like a lot of Kickstarter projects, the Penna is an untested product that relies on crowdfunding to make it out to the market. So while the Penna does seem attractive on paper, it’s still pending for review. My concern right now is whether this keyboard is comfortable to use or practical to carry around.