With the introduction of the Phorm in 2014, Tactus Technology has pioneered the innovation of customizable morphing keypads for smart phones. The perfect blend of smart phones and the user experience that of a keypad based mobile phone.
Lets face it, old generation keypad phones have not disappeared entirely. They are still in use not only due to their cost friendliness but also because they offer a unique experience provided via the keypad which is preferred by a majority of users. Mainly because they can “text” without having to look at the screen. “Texting and driving” is where this mostly comes in handy as most would say but is definitely not recommended for obvious reasons. Most smart phone companies have introduced a screen vibration feature that brings us somewhat close to this keypad based experience but still is problematic for users due to the proximity of the keys in the on-screen keyboard which makes it hard for users to decisively know exactly which key they have pressed without looking.
So what exactly is Phorm then? Think of it as a casing to your phone. The case comes in three parts. There’s a bottom cover that snaps onto the back of the device, a clear middle panel that goes on the device’s display like a screen protector and, finally, a front bezel. The center piece is where the magic happens.
Though only about a millimeter thick, the panel has built-in channels that are filled with a non-toxic, non-flammable liquid. Sliding the built in slider at the back of the cover, pressurizes those channels causing the liquid to push up against the semi-elastic surface of the panel to create crescent-shaped buttons over the device’s virtual keyboard. When you’re done typing, you just move the slider back to its original position and the keys disappear.
So now the main question is…. how much does this all cost ? Tactus has prized it at 99 USD. For that price most users would expect that casing to be really really durable.
At the moment Tactus has catered the Phorm only to the iPAD mini, so that might be another factor in the costing and for now it comes in two colors : Slate Black and Sky Gray. The company has begun catering the Phorm casing to the iPhone 6 PLUS and have an active waitlist on their website which users can enter and a voting poll for which device they should cater to next. So worry not Android users, Android devices are indeed on their road-map.
For more information head over to http://tactustechnology.com/technology/ and find out what Tactus is up to. Phorm specific details can be found on https://www.getphorm.com/
Author- Charitha Perera (Software Engineer, Leapset Engineering)