Print 25 comment(s) - last by Mr Perfect.. on May 20 at 8:05 PM

Optimus keyboards approach vaporware status

Although the Optimus OLED keyboard and Optimus mini three are interesting keyboard concepts, both products keep getting delayed.  The Optimus keyboard has a "Don't expect until late 2006" status on the Art Lebedev Studio web site.  The mini three keyboard that was supposed to be released on May 15 will not be shipped until at least August 15, 2006.  The mini three costs $121 and will feature a 6-bit, 96x96 pixel OLED display on each key, which is capable of displaying 5 frames per second.

The price and ship date of the full-size Optimus OLED keyboard is unknown.  The studio had previously announced a full 104 key OLED keyboard back in January, but has since made several promises and defaulted on the actual ship date.  The studio later announced that a keyboard would be available in Feburary 1st, 2006, but when February 1st finally rolled around, the studio instead announced the three-key mini-keyboard that was once again delayed today. 

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By Mudvillager on 5/19/2006 2:29:10 PM , Rating: 2
will be fun to see the final street price of the real keyboard - if it ever gets released that is...

RE: price
By das mod on 5/19/2006 3:23:12 PM , Rating: 2
do the math, ...
if the mini three costs $121
that leaves $40.4 per key (rounded to the nearest cent)
so 104 keys x $40.4 = $4195 usd
im guessing the delay has to do with production materials cost

RE: price
By peldor on 5/19/2006 4:34:46 PM , Rating: 3
A bargain at twice the price!

RE: price
By BillyBatson on 5/19/2006 6:39:21 PM , Rating: 2
lol yeah it will not cost that much, keep in mind the mini 3 has 3 large OLED keys, they are not standard keybaord sized keys

RE: price
By PrinceGaz on 5/19/2006 7:37:28 PM , Rating: 2
I imagine each standard-size key has a 32x32 colour display, maybe 48x48 at most. This is always going to be an expensive luxury. Having a customised keyboard is no doubt very nice, but paying several hundred dollars for it, and there being serious questions over it's long-term durability (once you start hitting those keys) makes it a foolish purchase at present.

RE: price
By Omatsei on 5/20/2006 1:02:12 PM , Rating: 2
On their website it says "It will cost less than a good mobile phone." To me, that means roughly $300 or so. And yes, I do believe it's worth it. As a gamer, imagine not having to look at a help screen to figure out where the jump button is... just look at the keyboard and see the key that says "Jump". Or, as a programmer, imagine adding some macros for some bit of code that you have to add a lot... program the keyboard so it changes the key labels when the Ctrl key is pressed, and you'll never forget which keys do what. I can see all kinds of uses for this, and I can't wait to get one.

RE: price
By Tiak on 5/20/2006 6:39:09 PM , Rating: 2
Now to do the math considering Optimus keys don't need that great of detail, and that these media keys aren't normally sized...

96x96 keys=9216 pixels
24x24 keys (my guess)=576 pixels

9216*3=27648 pixels total
576*104=59904 pixels

59904/27648= 2.166

2.166*121= $262.17 A more realistic price... Of course then throw in the price of managing all those keys and it'll be a bit more expensive...

Of course, since my resolution per key is just a shot in the dark, here are some other versions of the same calculation:
16x16 keys= $116.52
32x32 keys= $466.07
48x48 keys= $1048.67

Of course, even just based on the OLED all of these figures are inaccurate, considering the larger the particular section of OLED, the more it costs to make, it isn't simply by-pixel (the reason OLED TVs aren't thriving yet)... And once again the cost of other electronics the full keyboard would need drive it up... But I was just bored :P

By Great Googly Moogly on 5/19/2006 6:20:20 PM , Rating: 1
Who the hell is going to buy a $120 3-key keypad? I don't even see what it's for. Oh you can change the pretty pictures! Ridiculous and useless.

RE: Meh
By PrinceGaz on 5/19/2006 7:28:25 PM , Rating: 2
Excuse me, but are you saying you wouldn't pay $120 for a three-button keyboard which could have a different image displayed on each button?

RE: Meh
By stephenbrooks on 5/19/2006 8:37:30 PM , Rating: 4
It's for programming in binary: "0" "1" and "Enter"

RE: Meh
By lealwai on 5/20/2006 12:05:43 AM , Rating: 2
and of course that requires an animated picture for each of those.

RE: Meh
By Mr Perfect on 5/20/2006 8:05:17 PM , Rating: 2
Well the 1s and 0s obviosly have to be an animated Matrix style "rainfall". Anyone who programs in binary woudl know that. ;)

RE: Meh
By Tiak on 5/20/2006 6:27:09 PM , Rating: 2
People pay $100 right now for a logitech keyboard with a black and white LCD screen... (before you say with this one you're paying for the programmable macro keys, I have 8 of those with a $15 wirless mouse/keyboard combo....

Who would pay $100 for a mouse?

People still pay $50 for the Mighty Mouse, which pretty much eliminates the gaming market, since on Macs it isn't that big... People like shiny new I/O devices, that's just the way things work I guess.

What a shame
By creathir on 5/19/2006 2:31:56 PM , Rating: 1
This really was a cool idea. Hopefully the full keyboard will someday comeout. As far as the mini-3, this really is an interesting idea. We'll see if they can live up to the Aug. date.
- Creathir

RE: What a shame
By littlebitstrouds on 5/19/2006 2:52:58 PM , Rating: 2
It's an awsome idea for people who use their computers as personal editors and personal computers. I switch out an editing keyboard with a regular keyboard. Which is a pain. Being able to just change what the keys say is a great idea.

Not to mention in gaming this would be fun to have what each key does for that game displayed, and the ability to change the keyboard for every game instantly when the game starts.

RE: What a shame
By melgross on 5/19/2006 3:28:13 PM , Rating: 2
Assuming that this is going to be a "real" product, I can see why there have been delays. This is a VERY complex product. It isn't just a keyboard with programmable keys. There must be a cpu, or something that can allow the programming of each key, and keep that in memory. Also, if the keys can each respond to input with animations, it must have communications, and other graphics hardware and software as well.

Very complicated. Likely, it is far more complicated then they thought it would be when they first floated the idea.

RE: What a shame
By Serlant on 5/19/2006 8:12:41 PM , Rating: 2
but surely you could just have the keyboard report back just a key code which could be converted at software level to a corresponding key code for the app currently running at the software level with no need for any complex hardware on the keyboard ....accept well the keys :P

(and i dont really know what im talking about its a stab in the dark)

RE: What a shame
By Tiak on 5/20/2006 6:15:14 PM , Rating: 2
Well, it sounds logical and like it could work... But the problem with that is have 104 keys request the individual status, and possibly receive 104 new images, 5 times a second would actually noticably bog down the PC.... Chances are it'll only get every image for every key you ever use it for once, and change them with a code system like you described.

This would mean it'd have to have at very least some form of memory, and would involve some degree of a CPU to figure out what key needs to be what at what time... Not to mention sending the actual data for every pixel on every key... Which might be a bit hard to do mechanicly.

RE: What a shame
By Boushh on 5/19/2006 8:50:50 PM , Rating: 2
From what I can tell, it indeed is going to be a complex product. Just imagine 104 key's, each with their own little 32x32 OLED screen. It looks totaly impractial to have every key have it's on GPU and memory. So I think the best option would be to see the complete keybord layout as one single screen. My keybord is 21 keys width and has a height of 6 key's (not counting the fact that some key's are bigger than the run of the mill letter and number key's), that means it's a 672 x 192 pixels screen. Depending on the depth, you need quite a bit of memory (not even counting for the possibility to store key maps). And you need the GPU power to display it and change seperate parts of the screen (to do animations). Their would also be the logic to make the 104 seperate OLED screens react as one big screen.

When you add it all up, you will get problems with the power. I doubt it will run of your standard USB power.

So, it's complex, expensive and probaly power hungry. But it is soooo damn coool :-)

By InternetGeek on 5/19/2006 3:35:02 PM , Rating: 5
It will come bundled with DNF.

RE: Bundle
By Lord Zado on 5/19/2006 3:51:40 PM , Rating: 2
That line really cracked me up.

RE: Bundle
By dali71 on 5/19/2006 4:14:56 PM , Rating: 2
And as a peripheral for the Phantom.

GIANT CTRL-ALT-DEL for windows
By lifebread on 5/19/2006 5:07:34 PM , Rating: 2
I can't wait to get my animated Ctrl-Alt-Del keyboard!!!

By Mr Perfect on 5/20/2006 8:03:27 PM , Rating: 2
That is exactly what I was thinking. Back in the day there was a photochop of a three-keyed keyboard that was simply that, the CTRL, ALT, and DEL keys all lined up. Looks like the concept has stepped into the 21st century. ;)

By segagenesis on 5/19/2006 2:40:40 PM , Rating: 2
This product is already nearly a year behind with no "real" pictures of the stuff... I'm really starting to wonder if this is another vapourware fluff deal.

The idea is sound, but I guess they should have gotten thier ducks in a row before tooting thier horn first.

"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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