The Camera Bag: Brydge Keyboard Accessory Turns Your iPad Into a Detachable MacBook Air


posted Monday, April 30, 2012 at 2:37 PM EDT

There have been a lot of interesting crowd-funded Kickstarter projects so far along with some more laughable ones. Add the Brydge + iPad project to the interesting category. (Actually make that the very interesting category.)

Ever since we got our iPad, we've searched high and low for a good solution for adding a keyboard to Apple's tablet so we could type more quickly. Yes, the iPad is great for displaying and editing photos but even adding captions can be a chore with its virtual keyboard. While there are some pretty good physical keyboard accessories out there, nothing quite matches the elegant and downright Apple-like Brydge.

Designed to transform your iPad into a MacBook Air look-a-like -- with a way to easily remove the tablet -- the Brydge has become one of Kickstarter's more popular prototype products.  Last we checked, the makers of Brydge (Brad, Eddy and Sam) had raised over $330,000 -- with a pledged goal of just $90,000 -- and there was still over a month of fundraising to go.

Why is this solution so appealing? From the description and look of it in images and videos (see the Kickstarter video below), it seems seamless and solid.

Brydge is made from "aerospace-grade" aluminum and has optional stereo speakers, which is a nice plus considering that the iPad's built-in speaker is mediocre at best. It connects to your iPad by Bluetooth, so there aren't any extra cords or wires to get in the way.

The keyboard has been designed specifically for the iPad with some iPad functions built right in. It charges via a USB connection.

Perhaps the coolest thing about Brydge though is the way the iPad connects to it. Where other keyboard accessories for the iPad have an awkward, jury rigged feel to them,  Brydge's patent-pending click-in hinge looks stable and secure.

It also lets you close up the iPad and keyboard completely for travel or open and adjust it at up to a 180-degree angle so you can easily see the screen while you type. When it's closed, both the iPad and Brydge go to sleep immediately.

Brydge is still in development so we, obviously, haven't had a chance to play with it yet but it looks ingenious. Even the notoriously picky Steve Jobs might have liked its design.

Based on the Kickstarter pledge set-up, Brydge will sell for $170 without speakers and $210 with speakers. Though it's received a lot of hype, we hope this product eventually sees the light of day. Heck, we'd even buy one. More details here.