Freedom Input Ltd’s Bluetooth “Freedom Keyboard” is a slick looking portable keyboard. It’s light, small and has an adjustable slider to make the keyboard wider for those with thick fingers. The keys are just the right size and nicely responsive, and the effective Bluetooth range is a very decent 40 feet in an area with no obstructions (like cubicle walls, let’s say). Getting the Freedom Keyboard to work with the Treo 650 we have laying around was a breeze. However, this website is called BlackBerry Cool, not ‘Treo Cool.’ For this reason, no BlackBerry Cool reader (or BlackBerry owner) should ever buy the Freedom Keyboard.
We knew we were in for some trouble getting the Freedom Keyboard to work with our BlackBerry when we looked on the back of the accompanying driver installation CD case. In large block letters there is a message telling all BlackBerry users they must head to www.blackberrykeyboard.com to get the necessary drivers. Smells like tacked-on support, we thought. But at least theyâ€™ve given us some form of heads-up, and the compatibility list up on www.freedominput.com shows a wide range of BlackBerry support, so the Freedom Keyboard has to work, right?
That is a bold-faced lie. BlackBerry Cool has read the Freedom Keyboard Manual. We have visited their support site and paid heed to the necessary workarounds for BES use and 4.1 BlackBerry OS support. We have tested the keyboard on a multitude of BlackBerrys, both BES and non-BES, using a variety of different OSs. We have prayed to the Bluetooth gods. Every attempt has ended in sorrow and heartbreak.
Fearing that we were missing something obvious, we gave the Freedom Keyboard to our resident BlackBerry guru (who also happens to be a system administrator for a company that works off a BES). You know the type â€“ the one you turn to when all hope is lost. What was the result after two days of effort? No dice.
At this point, it doesnâ€™t matter if Freedom Input Ltd has a perfectly acceptable workaround for the Freedom Keyboard. A device that has continuously frustrated the mighty tech stallions of BlackBerry Cool so completely should never be touched by the average BlackBerry user. This is especially true since there are so many other wireless keyboard options out there (like Input Ltdâ€™s very own â€œBlackBerry Keyboardâ€ â€“ which they didnâ€™t send to us). Do not buy this product.