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Back in the feature phone age (that’s dumb phone to you people who have never seen a feature phone), I had a friend who could type out text messages on her phone without looking at her phone. In fact, she could be tapping out messages on her phone under the table while having a conversation with another person at the same time. While we now have smartphones with smart keyboards that can auto correct and predict words before you even start typing them, it would not be possible to do what feature phone users used to do on their dumb phones. But that is something that will change in the near future thanks to Tapit, a smartphone case that adds a total of 18 physical buttons to a phone.

Tapit is a lightweight case that has a transparent keypad as the front cover. The keypad superimposes over the phone display and it stays in place as you use the buttons thanks to a¬†magnetic locking mechanism. There is no inscription on the button itself and the keypad relies on what is shown on the display to indicate the keys’ current functions. The soft keypad provides actual tactile feedback to the user thus enabling eye-free operation of the phone. You can customize the keypad for use with your launcher for one-touch dialing or to launch specific apps. So you don’t just get 18 buttons, but 18 smart buttons.

Developers can use the Tapit API to enable the keypad to be supported by their apps such as a TV remote control app that has actual buttons so that you can operate it without looking at the screen just like a normal remote. Tapit will be made available through a Kickstarter campaign and for a start, it will only support the Samsung Galaxy S5, S6/S6 Edge and S7/S7 Edge devices. The actual product is expected to ship in November 2016.


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