Brydge is a keyboard cover for the iPad that attempts to turn the Apple tablet into something very close in style and weight, if not grunt, to the MacBook Air. Currently a Kickstarter project, Brydge aims to join the growing number of accessories tailored for those who produce as well as consume content on their iPad.
The iPad is undoubtedly a great device - it's the bestselling tablet by far. But while consuming content, be it the web, music, movies, games, or apps, is a joy, creating content, particularly text-based content, on an iPad isn't quite as much fun. This is where keyboard cases - which double up as keyboards, bringing physical feedback to the task of writing - come into their own.
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Logitech's Keyboard Case is one of the best-known examples to date. There are also Android tablets built on this very premise: the Asus Eee Pad Transformer series comprises tablets which can be slotted into their optional keyboard docks.
Brydge, from the people behind The Oona smartphone stand, is a keyboard case for the iPad that aims for Apple-esque design with its anodized aluminum construction.
The unit has a patent-pending hinge mechanism (with almost 180-degrees of movement) that's designed to lock the iPad in place until you give it a healthy yank to free it again.
When in the closed position Brydge sits snugly up against the screen of the iPad, offering protection from knocks and dirt. When opened out it becomes a fully operational Bluetooth keyboard. An optional extra is the inclusion of built-in stereo speakers to complement the iPad's own audio output.
With CEO Tim Cook recently expressing his distaste for "tradeoff" hybrid devices, Apple clearly wants to keep the iPad as purely a tablet and the MacBook Air as an ultra-portable productivity laptop. This leaves room for third parties to create solutions for those customers who want the option of a hybrid solution.
Brydge needs US$90k in funding to go into production. The minimum pledge is currently $150, for which you'll receive one of the first (speakers-free version) Brydges to emerge from the factory. If all goes to plan shipments are expected in October 2012.
Here's the company's video pitch: