Did you ever hear of “Newtro” gadgets? The name is made up of the two words new and retro. Design companies and technology manufacturers take a concept that people feel connected to from back in the day and then apply modern technology to match similar solutions of the market from today.
The company Elretron now plans to release their newest newtro device. The Penna is a Bluetooth keyboard following the core design of classic typewriter systems. Writers have been using typewriters for about a hundred years, so there must be something about it, right?
If you’re a road-warrior, writing in parks, cafes, there is nearly no alternative to productive working on tablets other than making use of wireless keyboards. Perhaps you just love the look and feel of the Penna at home or in the office as well. There is certainly something soothing about this nostalgic design. The Penna yells at writers “I am the essence of your work and occupation”.
Beyond the look of the Penna typewriter keyboard, Elretron has also been working hard on sound design and haptics of the keys. They wanted to give the writers a good feeling about using their solution. Also, the sound had to be something between audible yet not disturbing yourself or others when going down crazy-busy work streaks.
Beyond your normal data entry, Penna also has a lever on the side, which lets you record macros once pulled up. Depending on your type of work, this might become really useful to you. You just record a sequence of input and “replay” the same whenever you need.
Penna will work with all kinds of OS, such as Windows, Android or iOS for as long your device supports Bluetooth keyboards. The design is focused on being paried with tablets but smartphones and computers are likely to work as well. For an energy supply, you just add two AA batteries to the Penna keyboard. Elretron claims that the batteries can last for up to six months under normal usage conditions.
Styles and option
The Penna is available in all kinds of versions. It will be available in matte black, pure white, baby pink, olive green, and there will be a special natural wood version with a black keyset. The keys are available in a round variation as well as a type that looks like a rounded up square.
The keys are making use of a mechanic switch for fast and accurate typing. On the Penna website, they advertise the Cherry switch as the world’s most advanced switch technology. Customers can opt for the Cherry mx RED switch for fast typing or the Cherry mx BLUE switch for light sound and a clearer sense of key touch. After many people asked for a silent key switch, Elretron also added the Cherry mx BROWN for typing without making a lot of clickety-clack.
Even though you have to purchase it separately, Elretron has also got you covered as far as mobility goes. They designed a bag that lets you store your Penna device along with other accessories. If you have no interest in the bag, you won’t be forced to pay for it on top though.
Penna keyboards are currently available for preorder by backing Elretron’s Kickstarter campaign. Until the sixth of May you will be able to reserve you Penna unit for a price of $89. So far more than 2,500 backers have pledged to the Penna solution with a total crowdfunding sum of $390,000.
The retail price of Penna is currently planned to be $180 for the standard designs. If you’re going for the bundle with the bag it’ll be $230, and if you’re going for the version in natural wood design, those go out for $600.
Delivery is expected to start in August 2017, but many Kickstarter campaigns miss their delivery dates by up to a half year, so don’t plan it for someone’s birthday, if you decide to preorder one.
A bum in Germany
When you name a product, you try to brand it. You try to communicate a certain lifestyle via the product’s name. However, it is most difficult to account for negative side-effects of your naming in languages you did not account for.
Being a native German speaker, I just couldn’t keep this one for myself. Penna has the same pronunciation as the German word “Penner” which is not a nice way to address a homeless person. Perhaps Elretron will consider rebranding the product for a localized marketing campaign because of that. This kind of mistake happens fairly often and usually, the product is then marketed under a different name in that particular region.
YouTube: Elretron Gives You “Penna”, a Bluetooth Typewriter for Your Tablet
Hi there and thanks for reading my article! I’m Chris the founder of TechAcute. I write about technology news and share experiences from my life in the enterprise world. Drop by on Twitter and say ‘hi’ sometime. 😉