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TechScape: Turning Your iPad Into bizPad

Posted: 11/15/11 01:01 PM ET

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Did you ever try to use a tablet device as your main computer at a conference or on the move? How annoying is that?

The on-screen keyboard, no matter how you stack it up, just isn't the same. You can fold it high or fold it low or put it on your lap... all to no avail. It still misses letters and hits incorrect ones as you type. It drives me up the wall, sideways on a tricycle.

Well, San Francisco native entrepreneur Henry Lo and his company, Solid Line Products have a solution for you.

Lo, who began his career in the financial world, started his company in September 2010 and sees "the iPad's potential as unlimited." He wanted to create a product which would go along for the iconic product's ride.

While he does believe other tablets, such as the Amazon Fire, will take away iPad market share over time, for now he's very comfortable making a Bluetooth keyboard and case combo that really does change and improve the useability of this single device.

Enter the RightShift Bluetooth iPad keyboard case. This peripheral product is getting rave reviews and costs $99.

Lo started Solid Line with his own money and in his words, "we sold our way into a business." He believes in some decidedly 'old school' but effective business principles, such as keeping his company cash-flow positive from day one, operating with a low and variable cost-structure and going direct to consumer wherever possible. I would call these cornerstone business philosophies refreshing in this day and age of the '5-year path-to-profitability' for startups.

Now at 10 employees, Solid Line has a strategic partnership with Apple and AT&T, selling a bundled product of Apple iPad and RightShift keyboard to AT&T's customers. Other strong distribution channels for Lo's flagship product include airports (for business and other travelers) and catalogs.

Solid Line is also offering what it calls the "ArtCase," which is an iPad cover featuring artists' works on the cover, a keyboard cover for Samsung's Galaxy Tab and a "Slide & Type" iPhone 4 case with Bluetooth keyboard.

"Personalization," Lo observed, "is so important to us. This is why we truly believe that the personalization our ArtCases offer our customers will explode in popularity. Personalization is very popular right now; Nike has it for their sneakers and furniture stores have it, too. The beauty of personalization is -- the Second Coming -- is that you don't have to allocate inventory before making a sale."

In a closing thought, Lo shares a prediction, "My kids approach every screen they see, touching them as if they're touch screens, like they'll move. They don't. But someday, all screens will move with a touch."

 

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