Trackpad or pointer stick for productivity in Android and Windows apps

I first thought the bottom tab key of the TextBlade was a trackpad, but I don’t think it is. I would like the option of adding a small trackpad below a tab key to provide cursor control for Android.

One of the most unproductive things about the new touchscreen paradigm, especially in Win8, is that users want to touch the screen to point, click and move the cursor rather than use antiquated touchpads and mice. Every movement away from the keys is lost speed and productivity. I don’t understand high-end Win8 tablets that feature stock keyboards without a trackpad or Lenovo style pointer stick.,

I’d like a trackpad for cursor control in Android apps, and some Windows apps accessed over a remote connection (e.g. VNC). Can this be added as an option in the future?

It would need to be small to sill be portable and travel with the text blade in the user’s pocket. I’me very adept at using the Acer laptop trackpads on their 11.6" netbooks that are approximately 2.5" x 1.5" It’s smaller than a business card, but allows me to control the cursor on a HD display with a minimum of thumb movement. I use this small size trackpad for everything in Windows, including video and audio editing, photo editing, etc. I think something this size would still keep the TxtBlade form factor small enough while still be very usable.

1 Like

Hi popbob - see also some relevant comments on the iOS gesture post by Erik.

To your point, if you want a classical relative pointer as part of the setup, the way to do it would probably be to offer a double wide SpaceBlade that serves both roles.

In principle, it is feasible to do, and would be less to carry than another part. You could use such a thing with your existing KeyBlades and just swap out the SpaceBlade for a larger one.

We’d have to see what sort of demand there is for such an option in order to tool for it. No plans at the present to produce this, but an interesting idea.


I can see an extension that attaches to the middle point where both sides of the keyboard attach to the SpaceBlade. So, the touchpad would be above the keyboard in the “V” between the two halves.

I can see a lot of utility in having this ability. Even when I have my tablet connected to the tv for watching videos, it’s nice to have some type of mouse to use to pause the video when the phone rings (while sitting across the room from the tablet).

Also, when completing emails, forms, or other work, it sometimes helps to have a touchpad rather than smudging up the tablet screen.

Corwinjr- there’s mouse emulation apps for your smartphone that use its screen to provide this for another host device today.

Lower cost and less to carry if you need a traditional trackpad relative controller.

Can you mention one or two so that I can check them out. I just want the name of one app that does this so I understand what to look for and check out. Thanks!

popbob - sure, just enter “remote mouse” into the App Store, and you will get many options. From free to $ 2.99 typically.

You can imagine setting your smartphone nearby as a trackpad, typing on your textblade, and viewing a large screen or iPad. Since you’ve already got a phone, no need to carry a separate gizmo.

1 Like

I checked the app store, and it seems that all the remote mouse type apps are for controlling a Windows machine. I’m going to use the TextBlade with an Android device (phablet). So, I really need some help finding an Android app that provides mouse/touchpad support to another Android device.

Any suggestions?

I see. So you want an android to android remote touchscreen emulator, right? You might also be able to do that with Remote Desktop apps if there are some for android to android.

Not an android user personally, but I’d expect you could talk with the folks who are making the android to windows link, and see if they can accommodate.

Fundamentally, it’s not rocket science, but for them to do it would hinge on sufficient demand, so your advocacy to them would help.

I vote for an eraser-head-style joystick (like TrackPoint on ThinkPad, Pointing Stick on Vaio, etc.) right at the center where the two keyboard pieces come together, hopefully not too much of a stretch for the right index finger. If it can sense touch, a coincident press of the space bar could activate a mouse click, other key combinations could work for screen scroll & pan, 2nd & 3rd mouse buttons, etc.

If I really like typing on my TextBlade, and such a mini joystick is incorporated in a later model, I would buy it for use with my desktop & notebook computers. I’ve always hated having to lift my hand off the keyboard to use a mouse or trackpad. Reaching forward to touch a screen when it’s propped on a stand is even more awkward.

Think marketing opportunity.

1 Like

Ubi - The goal of being able to perform all input while on home row has merit.

To do it well, we believe another, new layer of invention is needed.

In its heyday, the thinkpad pointer stick was unique in its ability to afford a single position for both typing and pointing.

Its main deficit was that all locations had to be expressed in velocity vectors over time to achieve the desired translation distance,

Now, with modern MultiTouch screens, there are two important advances. One is that you have arbitrary direct access to any screen location, and the other is that the screen content and the physical touch location are coherent.

Arbitrary direct access is way faster and more definite than sequential traverse schemes.

In pursuing the goal of minimizing hand motion, you don’t want to give up the desirable advances we have made with touchscreens.

The idea is very good, but it takes some finesse to get the right result.

I agree 100% with that, however, where the touchpad excels over arbitrary direct access(i assume this means touch) is in precision. Someone using an app designed for touch wouldn’t see a benefit because they could navigate faster and easier through touch whereas others, accessing program features not designed with touch in mind would have a bit more difficulty in selecting smaller text and options. If a touchpad could be implemented without compromising the textblade then all the better.

Please don’t implement it in that way. How about, if the spacing (through testing) permits, you make the larger button containing the “y,u,h,j,n,m” a tracker and use that same button to do a soft or hard left click, additionally the physical button containing the “L&k” can be used to do a soft or hard right click. To activate one could map a two key combination like hitting “u and i” simultaneously. You could also implement a tracker for left handed people within the “r,t,f,g,v,b,” button, activating that side by hitting the “e&r” simultaneously. If this is feasible then you wouldn’t have to increase the size of the space bar. Also if this idea is cool and in the future you do implement it and it originated from this post, i would gladly take a free text blade with those ideas implemented as payment :wink:
Added: by tracker i mean “touchpad”

Newbie’s first post. Computer in your pocket? The recently announced Chromebit is fascinating. Just plug it into an HDMI TV. If only TextBlade and it were fully compatible. I think I would need a cursor control system for full functionality. I had several ThinkPads and liked TrackPoint. I hate trackpads and use a mouse with laptop & desktops. I would like to use my Nexus-7 with Chromebit and TextBlade to control big flatscreen TV. Holding my breath . . .

1 Like

Using Karabiner on mac you can enable mouse cursor. I mapped it so holding E lets you move the mouse with IKJL and also holding R gives you scrolling. Q and W map to the mouse buttons. (I also mapped all the other textblade mappings so I am proficient by the time I get mine)

I already got to use it on a plane where I had so little space that I used a Bluetooth keyboard on my lap and my laptop on the tray above it. It works ok but a trackpad is lots faster. It is similar to the first trackpoints.

1 Like

The best options, it appears, is an Android App called Droidmote. I haven’t tested it because the Server portion, which runs on the Android device to-be controlled, requires root. And it’s a PITA to root my Xperia Z3 without risking loss of the DRM keys for certain phone functions.

Does anyone have experience wit Droidmote for Android-to-Android remote control, specifically using the client device as a trackpad? If this works well, I’d pickup a very small Android phone (maybe an Xperia compact) to use as my touchpad by setting just below the spacebar of the TextBlade. This could/should work well. It would also have the added benefit of a providing a backup phone while travelining, and all devices would fit in my pockets.

Computer in my pocket. That’s my goal.

If having to choose between pointer stick and touchpad, I must insistst on touchpad. I used to be a pointer stick man back in the days of my first few Lenovos. Back then, it made sense and worked well.

Then came touchscreens with multi-touch.

You can’t implement multi-touch well in a pointer stick. And everything from Windows to Android is multi-touch now. So, while I miss the simpilcity and compactness of the old pointer stick. I could never go back. Even in old Win7, I use mult-touch pinch zoom constantly withing the web browser. I just couldn’t live without it now.

1 Like

You might want to think about using the Swiftpoint mouse. The newest version, Swiftpoint GT connects directly using Bluetooth. I find it to be very useful and compact. And, I can use it on my lap, airplane tray, etc.

Thanks for the suggestion. But at $130, there’s no way this Swiftpoint mouse is going to work for me. Ouch!

I understand. Of course, I also use it for my laptop.

Apple magic pad or Logitech track pad can be used as inspirations, when I thought of it.