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Fed up with chintzy tablet keyboards? LG’s Rolly fits fours rows in your pocket

Even as tablet keyboards become more mobile with smaller micro switches and new wireless tech, they still have to be big if you want them to be comfortable to use, and that means it’s harder to bring them with you. It’s a balance that manufacturers have struggled with before, but LG is side-stepping the problem entirely with the Rolly, a solid, rollable keyboard.

It doesn’t roll up into a perfect cylinder, but instead folds along four hinges that wrap around a center post. That means four full rows of keys, with a 17mm pitch, just 1mm shy of an average desktop keyboard. Because the keys are mounted on a hard surface, the tactile response is much more satisfying than with rollable silicon keyboards. And it features a few extra function keys that will help tablet users get the most out of it, like search and battery level, as well as media controls and volume.

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There’s a pair key as well, but simply unrolling the keyboard will cause it to turn on and pair with up to two Bluetooth devices, switching back and forth with a function key. The connectivity is based on Bluetooth 3.0, which is low-power enough to run the whole operation off a single AAA battery. And if you need somewhere to store your tablet while you use it, two arms extend off the keyboard to hold tablets of up to 10 inches.

The Rolly is the first of a series of accessories for the mobile market that LG intends to explore, and will be available in September for an undisclosed price. Expect to see a lot more phone and tablet accessories from the South Korean manufacturer in the coming months, hopefully with smart and useful twists like the Rolly.