A Google Pixel 7 with a detachable Bluetooth keyboard.

BlueBerry Is A Smartphone-Agnostic Keyboard Firmware

If you’re anything like us, you really, really miss having a physical keyboard on your phone. Well, cry no more, because [Joe LiTrenta] has made it possible for any modern smartphone whatsoever to have a detachable, physical keyboard and mouse at the ready. [Joe] calls this creation the BlueBerry.

A couple of metal plates and a mag-safe pop socket connect a Bluetooth keyboard to a Google Pixel 7. The keyboard/mouse combo in question is a little BlackBerry Bluetooth number from ZitaoTech which is available on Tindie, ready to go in a 3D printed case. What [Joe] has done is to create a custom ZMK-based firmware that allows the keyboard be device-agnostic.

In order to easily mount the keyboard to the phone and make it detachable, [Joe] used adhesive-backed metal mounting plates on both the phone and the keyboard, and a mag-safe pop socket to connect the two. The firmware makes use of layers so everything is easily accessible.

Check out the demo video after the break, which shows the board connected to a Google Pixel 7. It makes the phone comically long, but having a physical keyboard again is serious business, so who’s laughing now? We’d love to see a keyboard that attaches to the broad side of the phone, so someone get on that. Please?

Do you have a PinePhone? There’s an extremely cute keyboard for that.

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Illustrated Kristina with an IBM Model M keyboard floating between her hands.

Keebin’ With Kristina: The One With The 200% Typewriter

Image by [jefmer] via Hackaday.IO
You know, the really sad truth about cyberdecks and cyberdeck-adjacent builds is that many of them just end up on the shelf, collecting dust while waiting for the dystopian future. Well, not this one. No, [jefmer] says their Portable Pi sees daily use, and even comes along on the go.

Since [jefmer] is “temperamentally unsuited to 3D printing”, the Pi 4B and its accessories are nestled in a rugged, splash-proof case under some acrylic sheets. One of those accessories, the keyboard, is a KPrepublic BM40 with Gateron Yellows. In order to get used to the number and symbols layer, [jefmer] laid down some great-looking labels above the keyboard.

Although the build started with an SD card for storage, [jefmer] has since upgraded to a 120 GB SSD. This required a beefy battery pack, but the difference is that it gets around four hours of power versus five hours when using an SD card.

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Altoids Tin Keyboard Is A Breath Of Fresh Air

Well, here’s a fresh idea! [flurpyflurples] is back from hiatus with the Mintboard, a 40% that fits inside of an Altoids tin. Who could ask for more than a rugged little Bluetooth keyboard with a built-in cover that fits in your pocket?

This build started with meticulously measuring the tin to figure out what kind of switches could be used. At first, this was going to be a 60% keyboard, but after a lot of design decisions and switch comparisons, [flurpyflurples] settled on a certain micro switch spaced at 7.3mm for a 40% layout. Then it was time to design a PCB.

Although [flurpyflurples] tends to use Arduino Pro Micros in their builds, they went with the Nice! Nano this time for the Bluetooth capabilities. This means that they had to program it with ZMK instead of QMK, but found that QMK knowledge transfers rather nicely.

Let’s talk about those lovely legends. The keycaps are 3D printed of course, and the legends were cut out on a Cricut machine. The best part is that sealant — [flurpyflurples] used a few drops of UV nail polish top coat and cured it with light.

We think this looks and sounds fantastic, and would really like to know how to get such clean cutouts. According to [flurpyflurples] and the end of the build/demo video you’ll find below the break, the action is a lot like a Blackberry keyboard.

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Osprey Keyboard Lets The NRF52840 Spread Its Wings

While most people don’t care whether they use one finger or ten, some people want to better themselves by learning how to touch-type. And honestly, there’s no easier way to do that than by getting into the ergo keyboard game. Even if you consider yourself a touch-typist already, an ortholinear or column-staggered keyboard may teach you otherwise, as you find yourself trying to type ‘c’ with your index finger (for example) and failing miserably.

[ebastler] chose the best of all routes and decided to build his own perfect keyboard, called the Osprey. It’s a wireless, column-staggered 40% that runs on ZMK firmware, which of course is open-source, as is the PCB itself and the thick and travel-ready printed enclosure. Although [ebastler] has yet to implement either one of these additional inputs, the Osprey also supports a thumbstick and a track pad.

Brain-wise, it’s a bare nRF52840 chip along with a TI BQ24075 for battery charging. The interesting thing about this implementation is that [ebastler] used and abused Nordic sample schematic #4, which utilizes both DC-DC converter stages of the chip. We can’t wait to see what this trailblazing build will mean for the community!