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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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RE: Serious question
By daftrok on 2/22/2008 11:27:52 PM , Rating: 2
I thought the 11" OLED screen from Sony for 2500 bucks was ridiculous. The most I'd EVER spend for an OLED keyboard like this (assuming it would be easy to type on which it isn't) is 300 bucks. For 1500 bucks you can buy a high end 17" laptop for crying out loud. For 1500 bucks you can buy 30 of these:

http://computers.pricegrabber.com/keyboards/m/1120...

So I say this OLED keyboard is going to flop unless they fix the keyboard issue and cut a grand off the price.


RE: Serious question
By matriarch wolf on 2/23/2008 7:26:56 AM , Rating: 2
This would be awesome for russian alphabet so the keyboard could change letters and other characters appear. I'm sure before they go full production the key stiffness issue will be resolved.


RE: Serious question
By Netscorer on 2/23/2008 7:30:09 PM , Rating: 3
Since when did simple stickers that cost all of five bucks stopped to work for second language alphabet?


RE: Serious question
By retrospooty on 2/23/2008 9:53:25 AM , Rating: 1
"For 1500 bucks you can buy a high end 17" laptop for crying out loud"

But it isnt made for you, or I, or any average consumer... Its a tool. Its made for customizeable apps. think McDonalds keyboard, the ding dong behind the counter presses the "combo#3" key when you order a #3, and they press the "nuggets" key when you order nuggets. It can be customized for diff things on diff apps, useful in many companies for many tasks, with little training required. I can see tons of useful implementations for it in business. Its actually quite alot like those Star Trek TNG keyboards.


RE: Serious question
By JustTom on 2/23/2008 11:04:05 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
But it isnt made for you, or I, or any average consumer... Its a tool. Its made for customizeable apps. think McDonalds keyboard


Bad example, I think Mickey D's spends quite a bit less than $1564 for their keyboards.

Other than the 'cool' factor this is next to useless. Good typists don't even look at their keyboards; most software users with any degree of expertise don't need flashing reminders of keyboard shortcuts. While this is certainly a cool use of technology I seriously doubt there will be much of a market beyond boutique gotta have it buyers. Which probably is the business plan anyway.


RE: Serious question
By mgambrell on 2/23/2008 11:22:14 AM , Rating: 1
Do you have any idea how much these keyboards would be worth in terms of customer satisfaction from a reduction in slow or mis-entered orders? Mcdonalds cashiers arent the brightest bunch.


RE: Serious question
By JustTom on 2/23/2008 11:28:36 AM , Rating: 2
McDonalds already has keyboards that limit incorrect orders. And they cost a lot less than 1564. They could probably go out and buy brand new keyboards everytime their menu changes for less than the price for this keyboard.

At this price this keyboard will not be used at low margin POS locations, it would just be silly. There might be utility if prices came WAY down; I would guess that Mickey Dees probably pays something like 10 bucks for their POS keyboards, which have custom keys. Albeit not custom keys that change contextually but do you really think a hamburger cashier needs that?


RE: Serious question
By retrospooty on 2/23/2008 2:09:02 PM , Rating: 1
Please, MD's is just en example I used because everyone has been there. It is useful for alot of businesses, and customized apps used in variuos purposes. Its not a consumer product, why must you think only of yourself? Agreed, its too much for normal people, but again, its not made for you.


RE: Serious question
By JustTom on 2/23/2008 2:46:12 PM , Rating: 2
I am not thinking only of me, if you have followed what I said. I still doubt this item has any real large market. Time will tell.


RE: Serious question
By retrospooty on 2/23/2008 3:40:15 PM , Rating: 2
agreed, not a huge market, a very specific niche market.


RE: Serious question
By masher2 (blog) on 2/23/2008 2:15:26 PM , Rating: 2
> "They could probably go out and buy brand new keyboards everytime their menu changes for less than the price for this keyboard."

Perhaps...then they'd have the cost to install them, and retrain staff on them. You think they'll just ship it there and trust a fry cook to plug it in properly?

Seriously, in a high-volume business environment, $1500 is nothing compared to improving service and throughput. I've seen businesses pay 1,000X as much just for a software upgrade that would save typists a couple keystrokes. Hell, many POS applications aren't even using keyboards any more -- if their app can support it, they just pay an extra $1K or more for a touchscreen.

Still, I don't think this keyboard is quite ready for corporate prime time. It's more of a flashy tool for the well-heeled consumer. Once it has more of a reliability track record, you can expect to see it in big business.


RE: Serious question
By JustTom on 2/23/2008 2:54:59 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
Seriously, in a high-volume business environment, $1500 is nothing compared to improving service and throughput. I've seen businesses pay 1,000X as much just for a software upgrade that would save typists a couple keystrokes.

It would be $1500 per POS location, which certainly would add up in a fast food retail situation.
Your point on touch screens is a good one, in a POS situation such as the OP described touch screens are already used and probably have a much greater utility than this keyboard.

I think this technology is cool, it has potential but whether it will ever be practical to deploy in any but the most limited circumstances is in my mind doubtful. Most people who use keyboards for a living seldom even look at the keys, whether they would with this product is something that can only be speculated on.


RE: Serious question
By HOOfan 1 on 2/23/2008 3:51:53 PM , Rating: 2
sure they could get a bulk discount, but even at $800 per unit it would be about $800 x average of 2 registers per outlet x 10,000 or so locations in the US = $16M


RE: Serious question
By mcnabney on 2/24/2008 1:20:23 AM , Rating: 3
Lets see. More like 5 per McDonalds, 31,000 restaurants worldwide at $800 a pop. That would be 124M just for the devices. Add new/modified POS stations, replacements (are these milkshake proof?), support, and training. That would be a half billion dollar project. Not going to happen.


RE: Serious question
By DeepBlue1975 on 2/23/2008 8:29:31 PM , Rating: 2
True. It was not meant for corporate use from the beginning, but rather targeted towards the wealthy gaming crowd out there.

Problem is, when they first talked about this keyboard (mid 2005 I think, with an ETA of late 2005 that was obviously a little delayed) the cost was said to be much less than this.

IT professionals don't need a gizmo like this. We just need standard qwerty layout, and we usually don't look at the keys while we type.
CAD professionals might benefit from it and in many industrial applications in which you don't need to type but to "trigger actions" for very specific applications could be useful too, for example disabling keys that are not allowed in certain contexts, etc.

Macdonalds and the likes? touchscreens. having a $1500 keyboard with more than one hundred keys could be a bit cumbersome.

From a personal standpoint, I'm so much more interested in voice recognition than this. I'm even trying a software which can take voice input to type text messages on my cell phone (voicemode for symbian, in case someone is interested in stuff like this)


RE: Serious question
By danrien on 2/23/2008 5:15:23 PM , Rating: 2
When I go to a fast food restaurant the keyboards I see are already customizable... they just have an insert where they insert little pieces of paper with the menu items, and the computer is programmed to know which key means what. a lot cheaper, and as easy to implement.


RE: Serious question
By retrospooty on 2/23/2008 6:07:30 PM , Rating: 1
True, they are. This is new tech, and its expensive. Several years from now when its cheap it will be all over the place, and likely no-one will remember the optimus maximus, but the tech behind it will be all over the place.


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