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The Optimus Maximus - All $1564 US dollars worth.

The IBM Model M, Part 1391401 - A better typing experience, just not as flashy.
$1564 buys you everything but the simplest feature - typing

DailyTech has been following the long-winded saga of the Optimus Maximus keyboard for over two years now, from its initial unveilings to the last update in May 2007 of the "pre-preorder" date -- but the final hardware has been completed, sent for shipping, and even delivered to the eager fingers of reviewers at Engadget.

Unfortunately, the reviewers weren't completely impressed. While the preliminary report from Engadget praised the brilliant OLED keys, the major selling feature of the keyboard, the sturdy construction and high-quality building materials, the review team was let down by a flaw in the fundamentals of the Optimus Maximus.

"Typing on [the Optimus Maximus], well, sucks," was the blunt assessment from the Engadget review team. "... As a whole it just requires way too much force to depress keys ... Let's put it this way, we sit around and type all day long and this thing wore us out in about 30 seconds to a minute. Carpal sufferers, beware."

More reviews should be rolling in shortly -- but if the Engadget preview is any indication, the "ultimate keyboard" may have gotten so carried up with special features that the basic functionality was left out.

However, it does stand to reason that anyone able to spend the wallet-busting $1,564 USD for the Optimus Maximus could certainly afford to pick up an old IBM Model M 1391401 as their primary unit for typing.

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Reminds me of NASA
By marsbound2024 on 2/22/2008 10:58:32 PM , Rating: 2
Ya know... spending millions of dollars on an ink pen that can write in zero-g... instead of say using a pencil. Now we have a ridiculously expensive keyboard. Why couldn't the keys simply be tiny LCD touch screens if cost was this much of an issue? Or the keys could just be tiny LCD screens embedded into a regular ol' mechanical key with a nice protective cover.

Personally I think having a flat keyboard with embedded LCD touchscreens the size of keys (independent of each other) would be a better route to take if OLED is so prohibitively expensive... I can't think of the justification of buying a keyboard that is more than a couple hundred dollars to be honest, though.

RE: Reminds me of NASA
By KristopherKubicki on 2/22/2008 11:18:35 PM , Rating: 5
RE: Reminds me of NASA
By marsbound2024 on 2/22/2008 11:33:44 PM , Rating: 2
Learn something new everyday. But regardless, we all know NASA is notorious for cost overruns at least as well as their questionable use of budget in general. :) Though admittedly I am a big NASA fan because of their amazing contributions.

RE: Reminds me of NASA
By semo on 2/23/2008 9:51:38 AM , Rating: 2
normal pens use just as well apparently

RE: Reminds me of NASA
By RIPPolaris on 2/23/2008 12:06:23 PM , Rating: 5

I wouldn't trust snopes too much.

RE: Reminds me of NASA
By psychobriggsy on 2/23/2008 9:31:50 AM , Rating: 2
This has tactile feedback though.

A lot of it, judging from the initial reports. Gives your fingers a workout :)

Each key isn't just a screen, I think there's a tiny computer in each key - enough RAM for the key image (and next key image), and a tiny CPU to do the updates to the display, and a display controller. Also there's not much room in there, miniaturisation costs. In addition there's the research costs to recoup.

In the end they're probably making each key for $5 or so apiece. You get 115. Then there's the case itself, which is far more complex than your usual keyboard and looks really sturdy - a couple of hundred dollars each. Then recouping development costs, then profit ($500 per keyboard, or ~30%, which is fair).

RE: Reminds me of NASA
By marsbound2024 on 2/24/2008 12:09:46 AM , Rating: 2
Why the hell would you have a mini computer in each key? All you need is software. Each key is assigned a tag. The software is responsible for updating that tag and sending the correct information to update the OLED screen under the key. This is running as a background process in whatever operating system you are running. I hope you were not being serious when talking about a mini piece of RAM and a mini CPU.

Sorry if I totally missed the boat with your sense of humor. But if you are being serious (which I don't think so given your statement "Gives your fingers a workout"), then give me a break. :P

RE: Reminds me of NASA
By masher2 on 2/24/2008 12:43:27 AM , Rating: 2
You can't do it simply with still need a display controller to actually drive the individual displays themselves.

Still, I'm sure the keyboard has just one controller in total, rather than one for each key as the OP stated.

RE: Reminds me of NASA
By marsbound2024 on 2/24/2008 12:52:43 AM , Rating: 2
Lol, ok well yes if we wanted to get really technical. :)

I was quite aware of this (just as your monitor needs a display controller). The main thing I was discounting was the RAM and CPU hypothesis. ;)

"So if you want to save the planet, feel free to drive your Hummer. Just avoid the drive thru line at McDonalds." -- Michael Asher
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