Thursday, December 05, 2013

'Idol' to iPhone: Ryan Seacrest invests, co-founds iPhone keyboard startup

If you are wondering if "American Idol" and other ventures have made Ryan Seacrest rich, the answer is undoubtedly yes. Because while details on the funding behind the Typo Keyboard have not been disclosed, one thing is certain: It has received at least $1 million in funding from its co-founders, one of which is Seacrest, AllThingsD reported on Thursday.

The Typo Keyboard is a potential solution for those who eschew the iPhone only because it has no real keyboard. It is a case that slips on the iPhone 5 or 5s (no iPhone 5cs need apply) and gives iPhone users, at long last, a real keyboard to type on.

To be clear, there have been other iPhone add-on keyboards before. Most of those, though, are ones similar to those on, for example, a Droid 4. They require the device to be used in landscape mode. One big problem with that idea, as many commenters in online stores will attest to, is that portions of iOS simply don't work well -- or at all -- on an iPhone in landscape mode.

Seacrest co-founded the company with Show Media CEO Laurence Hallier. According to the report, the pair will likely invest over $5 million all told to continue development for variations of the keyboard.

The idea for a company came about when Seacrest and Hallier went to dinner and realized that like many of their friends and acquaintances, they had two phones: one for typing, with a real keyboard, and an iPhone for other tasks. The two of them ordered virtually every other iPhone keyboard in existence, and as we noted above, discovered that none of them worked optimally.

The Typo Keyboard will makes its public debut at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas in January. It's still unclear exactly when it will ship, but the company's website says that it will be in January 2014. Pre-orders can be made here, with the keyboard selling for $99. Shipping is free, but it appears that you may have to pay sales tax.

It's unclear from the site if everyone will have to, but certainly -- based on testing -- California buyers will have to pay sales tax.

TYPO PRODUCTS - iPhone Keyboard Case from Typo on Vimeo.

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