Orée, the French hardware startup that made its debut with a wooden wireless keyboard, is back in Tokyo to show off more products crafted from natural materials. The company is running another pop-up workshop from tomorrow, this time at the city's Institut Français.
A wooden take on the Magic Trackpad
The first new product is an obvious follow-up to the last — whereas the Orée Board clearly took design cues from Apple's own wireless keyboard, the Touch Slab is a wooden take on the Magic Trackpad. It's carved from a single piece of maple or walnut, and feels pretty great; you wouldn't know the wood housed a touch sensor just to look at it. There's no physical click function, though, unlike the Magic Trackpad, so you'll have to be comfortable with tapping.
The Touch Slab serves an additional purpose: a leather numpad overlay can be magnetically attached to the slab to act as a keyboard extension. A three-fingered double tap shifts the slab into numpad mode. Orée designer Franck Fontana says that the company received many requests for a mouse as well as a numpad-equipped version of the Orée Board, so the Touch Slab was a convenient way to address both concerns.
The Wireless Power Pebble is less expected. It's a wireless phone charger similar to Google's Nexus 4 orb or Palm's Touchstone, except this one really is made of stone — red Versailles marble, to be precise. Also available in white marble, walnut, and tilia, the Power Pebble uses the Qi charging standard, and Orée has also designed Power Sleeve cases to fit the Samsung Galaxy S4 and the iPhone 5 and 5S.
The Power Pebble is more compelling with a Qi-enabled device
The cases are made of wood and leather, and feel solidly made — I'm not sure I'd want to keep one on my phone at all times, though, as it does add a bit of bulk towards the charging port. But if you have a Qi-enabled device like the Nexus 4, Nokia Lumia 920, or the new Nexus 7, the Power Pebble becomes more compelling: the marble really does look unique, and is much less conspicuously gadgety than most of the Qi charging options released to date.
All of Orée's new products are available to pre-order now and will ship on October 21st. The Touch Slab costs €150, the Power Sleeve is €90, and the Power Pebble is €110 for the wooden options and €150 for the marble.