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Keyboard of the Future Coming Closer

January 23rd, 2008

Remember the Optimus Keyboard from Russia? The one with the OLED keys that change appearance? This is the “keyboard of the future” that I’ve said (since two and a half years ago) is bound to be coming into vogue as soon as it gets affordable, and will break us free of QWERTY shackles. The problem up until now is that the only version of this, the Optimus, costs around one and a half thousand bucks, way too steep for anyone but the rich or insane–or the insanely rich.

But watch out–a new contender is now making OLED keyboards, claiming that they can find no Optimus-claimed patents to hold them back. United Keys has even signed a deal to produce OLED keys for gaming keypads for a company called FoxConn, which will presumably be not too expensive. The first version will sport only nine OLED keys in the F-key spots, which will likely let the price be low enough to allow any means-limited fanboy to get their hands on one. Game handsets and controllers will presumably be offered as well.


And, of course, there was the Apple patent people sighted a few weeks back which seems to be aiming for a more conservative, black-and-white OLED keyboard which would presumably be cheaper and would accomplish the primary mission of universalizing keyboards. This makes sense not only in languages, but also in switching between Mac and Windows configurations when in Boot Camp or Parallels.


Meanwhile, Optimus is not standing still–they’ve gone all Star Trek: The Next Generation on us, and advanced to a no-button keyboard concept, one which looks so suspiciously like the the Star Trek control panels that Mike Okuda might want to file a patent infringement suit of his own.



This is along the lines of Apple technology which will allow for tactile feedback from a flat screen–allowing your fingers to feel like they are pressing physical buttons.

The future may be closer than we think.

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  1. Mark
    January 23rd, 2008 at 10:35 | #1

    This keyboard is nuts. I definitely need to get my hands on one.

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