Kara Swisher

Recent Posts by Kara Swisher

Ryan Seacrest Wanted a Keyboard for His iPhone, So He Invested $1 Million in One

TYPO CASES DUAL

Well-known entertainment personality and producer Ryan Seacrest said he had invested in a startup, which he also co-founded, that makes a keyboard accessory for the Apple iPhone.

The Typo Keyboard will makes its debut at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas at the beginning of 2014.

While the company declined to discuss funding, sources said that Seacrest and his co-founder have invested over $1 million, and expect to invest more than $5 million, with future keyboard products in development.

Jumping into the hardware sector is an unusual — and risky — move for the telegenic star, who has recently been increasing his tech investing. He also has been in talks with Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer about creating programming for the Silicon Valley Internet giant, which sources said might first involve some sort of video show on — you guessed it — New Year’s Eve. (New Year’s Yodeling Eve?)

But back to the iPhone keyboard: Because it is Seacrest, there is a dramatic tale, according to the press release:

“The back story of Seacrest’s interest in this — for many of his friends and colleagues, carrying two phones was a habit: One for typing and correspondence and an iPhone for virtually everything else. One night, Ryan and his friend Laurence Hallier, CEO of Show Media, were out to dinner and both had phones on the table. Two people, four phones!”

Egad! Hollywood crisis time! Call in the minions!

Instead, after testing out a bunch of such offerings — and there are a lot out there as competition — it took two years of development to get to the Typo, which seems to clip onto the smartphone like a protective case (I have not tried it, as yet — though I type just fine on a virtual keyboard). It will be available first for the iPhone 5 and 5s, and then for other smartphone devices and tablets, Typo said.


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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google