I’ve been reading the forum posts on the DevTerm with a lot of interest since it was announced.
I have some similarly sized devices that I’ve used in the past, so I thought I’d add some images and thoughts to this thread.
I’m a big fan of the Psion range of pocket computers and used a Psion 3 and 5 until pretty recently.
I even resurrected my Psion 3c recently so I could write things while out for walks in the countryside.
Both have comparable keyboards, the Psion5 having larger more traditional looking keys, the Psion3 has more spaced out calculator style keys. Neither are ideal for traditional touch typing, but I find both work well almost touch typing with one hand while holding the device in the palm of the other, I see this as probably one of the ways you’d use a DevTerm.
On a desk the Psion5 is better, you can comfortably type with two or three fingers from each hand, the Psion3 isn’t as good on a surface, but is better if you want to hold it gameboy style, typing with both thumbs.
As finger tip spacing seems to be a thing in this thread, for the record my fingertips are 19mm apart and I never had a problem getting used to the Psion keyboards.
I think the ‘palmtop’ approach to typing would probably be the most practical with the DevTerm, I have a feeling thumb-typing might not be an option because of how wide the keyboard is.
I think this is also evident with the placement of the mouse buttons and trackball.
I do have some concerns about the usability of the keyboard, it comes down to the quality of the buttons themselves, if the GameShell is anything to go by I think it should be OK, the GameShell buttons have a more positive action than the Psion 3 keys.
As the pitch is almost identical to the Psion 3, So I think it comes down to the physical shape and feel of the keys.
From the renders it looks like the keys are a single rubber molding similar to the GameShells top row of buttons, does anyone know for sure? I think this should be ok as long as the keys top surfaces are concave not convex in shape.
At the risk of people destroying perfectly working Psion 5’s (there should be enough out there with smashed or faulty touchscreens) you can get a USB conversion board for the keyboard, I got hold of one years ago when the PiZero came out with an idea of making a Psion style device, but never found an easily availible screen that suited my plan.
It would probably be easy enough to fit a Psion 5 keyboard into a frame to fit the DevTerm, sacrificing the game buttons, but possibly with enough space at one side for a small trackball and buttons.
This would probably be more practical than using cherryMX style switches as even with low profile keycaps they’re pretty tall.
I have pre-ordered a DevTerm, and I’m really looking forward to experimenting and using it.