Sure, your keychain gets you into your car, your house, maybe your gym locker. But what has it done for you lately? Probably nothing. Slacker!
Turns out that little metal ring can accommodate more than just little metal keys. A new wave of gadgets is hoping to ride shotgun. Once you see what they can do, you’ll probably want to let them. These are more than just your average keychain bottle-openers and flash drives; they’re game controllers and sync cables and other handy items.
Indeed, with so many cool keychain-friendly gizmos vying for space in your pocket, you may find yourself in need of a bigger pocket.
There’s never a USB sync cable around when you need one. Probably because you forgot it. Or lost it. Or can’t untangle it from all the other cables in your travel bag.
Kii dispenses with the cable in favor of a key-shaped, er, key with a USB connector at one end and an Apple 30-pin or Lightning connector at the other. Now you can plug your iPhone, iPod, or iPad into a computer for syncing or any USB wall plug for charging (though you may need to get creative to keep it elevated to the proper height).The aptly named
The 30-pin Kii sells for $19.95; the Lightning version costs exactly double ($39.95) for some reason.
So many smartphone and tablet games would benefit from an actual game controller rather than onscreen buttons, which offer no tactile feedback. Such controllers exist, of course, but they’re not exactly pocket-friendly.
The Impulse Controller is a portable gamepad that’s no larger than a Zippo lighter. It weighs almost nothing, yet runs on a rechargeable battery, connects via Bluetooth, sports a D-pad controller and six buttons, and fits on a keychain. It’s compatible with hundreds of games (though certainly not every game, so check the list before you buy), though you can also use it as a wireless controller for music and video: the buttons can double as play/pause, volume, track select, etc. There’s even a finder feature that lets you use your phone to locate your missing keychain.
Perhaps my favorite feature, though, is the hard-plastic case, which doubles as a stand for your phone. Clever!
Originally a Kickstarter project, the Impulse Controller is now a real-world product you can pre-order. (It’s expected to ship next month.) The basic-black model costs $25, with other colors and finishes available for $32 and $37.
All smartphones should have built-in kickstands. Until that glorious day, the Keyprop adds a kickstand of sorts to your keychain. This clever plastic key lets you position your smartphone at various angles so you can watch videos, read eHow posts, enjoy hands-free Skype and FaceTime calls, and even snap selfies.
The Keyprop works with most smartphones, including the iPhone, Galaxy S III, and HTC One. It’s available in a variety of colors and sells for—well, can’t answer that just yet. This product was actually a successful Kickstarter project, but although funding was completed back in June, it’s not yet available for sale. But you can sign up to get notified when it is.