What do you get when you cross a Smart Beetle with a Braille Edge and add a few extra bells and whistles? Hims has pulled the wraps off the QBraille XL,, a 40-cell braille display and QWERTY keyboard mash-up which will be released this fall.
As Thomas Simpson from Hims describes it, imagine a QWERTY keyboard, but with the A through Z keys removed and replaced with a Perkins-style keyboard. The braille keys are used for inputting letters and punctuation, while standard laptop keys are available for navigation. The QBraille XL includes a full complement of 12 function keys in 3 groups of 4, the Insert, Delete, and other keys from a traditional 6-pack layout, arrow keys, and Windows modifier keys amongst others. These are mostly laid out in a traditional Windows style, with the braille keyboard in the middle.
QBraille XL pairs as a Bluetooth keyboard for processing command and function keys as well as braille input if desired, and can also pair as a Bluetooth braille display using the existing Hims drivers. Like the Beetle, it pairs to multiple devices at once, six Bluetooth to be exact. Like the Braille Edge, it includes basic text editing features with the addition of a PDF viewer and DAISY book reader. Battery life is about 20 hours, and it includes an SD memory card slot that can take cards up to 32GB.
The device is scheduled to ship this fall for $3,195, and Hims is accepting preorders now. We'll have a podcast with Jenny Axler from Hims coming soon as a part of our convention coverage.
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J.J. Meddaugh is an experienced technology writer and computer enthusiast. He is a graduate of Western Michigan University with a major in telecommunications management and a minor in business. When not writing for Blind Bargains, he enjoys travel, playing the keyboard, and meeting new people.