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The Optimus Mini Keyboard

CmdrTaco posted more than 8 years ago | from the now-isn't-that-cute dept.

Input Devices 282

Zugok writes "We all remember the Optimus Keyboard from last year. Now Art Lebedev and his team have designed the Optimus Mini Three keyboard. The 'Mini Three' builds on the idea of those extraneous keys on modern Logitech and Microsoft Keyboards but like the Optimus Keyboard utilises OLED technology for visual customisation of keys. This is not vapourware, pre-orders are being take now with a cut price until April 2nd. This is just a step closer to the Optimus Keyboard. They also have a mailing list for those who want to keep up with developments of the Optimus Keyboard. Happy salivating!" This is a far cry from the full keyboard, but it's still pretty nifty. Assuming it actually does ship.

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Hmm... (0)

MM983 (951179) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615064)

Is there any way this could possibly be cost effective? I couldn't imagine what this may cost.

Re:Hmm... (1, Informative)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615074)

The pre order section says the cut rate pre order price is $100 (for the Mini).

Re:Hmm... (2, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615302)

"ACs are modded -6. I don't read you, I don't mod you, I don't see you. Don't like it? Don't be a coward."

Cool. Then you can't see me calling you a cock faced sheep felcher!

Re:Hmm... (2, Interesting)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615087)

I applaud them for attempting to release even three keys. I think they've got some guts. It isn't cost effective in small quantities, but if they can secure guaranteed sales in certain areas, they can bring the pricing down by bulk purchase so much.

Good luck to them, if they pull it off.

I can't really afford $100 on that right now... especially as I am 90% at my laptop. Ah well.

Re:Hmm... (1)

Southpaw018 (793465) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615097)

Come to think of it, that would make the full keyboard cost over $300. Damn.

Still really freakin' cool, though.

Re:Hmm... (2, Interesting)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615127)

I think it's an absolute pure luxury right now, and you can tell that they are aware of this, but to think that one day - maybe in 5 years - these really will be a viable purchase is exciting to myself. If the keyboard is good, this isn't a gimmick... it's a really really good way of working. I know I could do with easily seeing what every key on MY keyboard does on a long days slog in Discreet Combustion.

Re:Hmm... (1)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615139)

That's only to be expected, but I'd wager quite a lot of people would be ready to pay $300-$400 for the full Optimus (and i'll admit that i'd probably be one of them :/)

Re:Hmm... (2, Informative)

SausageOfDoom (930370) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615273)

Where did you get $300 from? If the mini keyboard has 3 keys and costs $100, and if the full keyboard keeps to the original design it will have 123 keys. 123/3=41, 41*100=$4100.

Obviously it isn't costing them the $33/key that they're charging, but it was never going to be cheap. They've always said it would be the same price as a decent mobile phone, and if that's a few hundred dollars, I'm sure they'll find a market. I'd be quite tempted, although not if the screens only last the 5000 hours I saw mentioned - even with my computer off half the time each day that would only last a year.

Think I'll stick with my £3 dabs.com keyboard for now.

Re:Hmm... (1)

LocoMan (744414) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615539)

I have to agree there. I wouldn't want to pay so much money knowing that the keyboard will be useless, even if it's a couple of years later (the 5000 hours goes to roughly 7 months, but assuming it uses screen saving and it's off 2/3ds of the time, I'd put it at aroudn 21 months).

I do hope it's succesfull enough for development on the line to continue, so it can be eventually affordable for the poor geek (AKA me.. :) )

Re:Hmm... (1)

Chubby_C (874060) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615282)

actually isn't it more than $3000?

$100/3keys = 33.33$/key

107 keys * 33.33$/key = $3566.31

probably get a bit of a break because of the volume of keys

Re:Hmm... (2, Funny)

xtracto (837672) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615187)

I applaud them for attempting to release even three keys
The only there keys keyboard you will ever need is this one [flickr.com]. Of course with this technology you could remap them to CTRL+ALT+^H for Unix/Linux freaks :)

Re:What It May Cost?..... a LOT!....... (5, Informative)

Slugster (635830) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615399)

This whole discussion of cost came up on one tech forum when they last released plans to sell the full keyboard.
They said then the famous "as much as a good cell phone", which could be what? Some people are happy with the $50 phones, but the latest PDA-style computer with mobile service? That could be near $1000.

So how about this:
A few of us looked around, and the cheapest backlit OLED displays we could find for sale were displays for cell-phones, and each display cost roughly $75 (for the cheaper ones, in bulk). Those displays were big enough for about six keys. Bulk isn't OEM pricing of course, but that would figure to around $12 per key (for a 32 x 32-pixel display only).

Now even if you are willing to cut that cost estimate in half, that still means that these displays would cost roughly $5 per key. For around a hundred keys, that's $500 alone. OLEDs certainly will get cheaper over time and this may take them a year to get together, but they won't get that much cheaper. By far the main products they are used for is mobile phone displays.

Plus there's a good-sized piece of work underneath to run the pretty pictures. I'd be very surprised if they could get this thing out for less than $500-$600. There are other companies that produce customised-key boards of the normal type (just with different physical key shapes and positions) and they get $200-$300 for those.

fp (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615065)


The concept is very cool, and very cute (5, Insightful)

halivar (535827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615076)

But is it functional? I wonder to myself, "what will I put on those keys?" Pretty much just things that normally are an Alt-Click away anyways. I don't expect the keyboard of being able to handle serious macros, or anything.

Re:The concept is very cool, and very cute (1)

FinestLittleSpace (719663) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615101)

The demo on the site demonstrates it really well. The whole point is, it *is* extremely customisable and by the looks of things they will be releasing some form of SDK. I more see it as a stepping stone to when we can buy an array of 10 of these keys which would then be incredibly useful.

Re:The concept is very cool, and very cute (3, Funny)

sprins (717461) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615112)

I wonder to myself, "what will I put on those keys?"
Screen-caps of your favourite pr0n sites of course. What else?

Re:The concept is very cool, and very cute (2, Funny)

sconest (188729) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615118)

"what will I put on those keys?"
Ctrl, Alt and Delete ? ;)

Re:The concept is very cool, and very cute (2, Insightful)

m0RpHeus (122706) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615340)

I guess a good application would be a multi-lingual keyboard. A keyboard that would let me do standard QWERTY then at a press of a button the keyboard layout would change to Kana or Klingon or some other characters used in other language.

Re:The concept is very cool, and very cute (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615421)

After 10 minutes I hacked it in two with my batlith.

Re:The concept is very cool, and very cute (4, Interesting)

AKAImBatman (238306) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615438)

I guess a good application would be a multi-lingual keyboard.

*ding* You are correct, sir!

I have my home computer setup to switch between english and russian cyrillic. It's a real pain to have all those stickers on the keys. Not only do they fade and occasionally stick to you instead of the keyboard, but playing video games (such as Quake III) is a guaranteed way to shear the suckers right off. The result is that you end up with spotty coverage of the keyboard.

Some people use a keyboard overlay (a piece of plastic that is molded to the shape of the keyboard), but those are much harder to come by, don't always fit your keyboard, and interfere with typing.

Now with the Optimus, a switch from english to russian would result in the key glyphs themselves changing. No more worrying about stickers, just *BAM*, there you go. And if my father-in-law is over and wants to type in German for some reason (he's quite good with the language), he can switch the keyboard layout without having to hunt and peck for the keyboard layout.

As a nice bonus, games can finally tell me what keys I'm supposed to press instead of going through the config screen and trying to memorize all the combinations. (Or worse, get out one of those stand-up cheatsheets. Like I have the desk real-esate for that!)

If I was going to buy it.... (2, Insightful)

springbox (853816) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615378)

I wouldn't buy it to actually *press* the keys. I'd be more interested in programming the displays to show something useful. That would be pretty cool.

Re:The concept is very cool, and very cute (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615506)

It really depends on how "scriptable" it is.
I'd like it if it were smart enough to be able to...
  - Close any applications not on a list.
  - Start applications specified on a list.
  - Open specific files in these applications.
It's be nice to be able to switch between different desktop configurations with this.

Another nice idea might be for a family PC with 3 accounts; click the persons' face to switch to his/her account.

But in all honesty, I can't think of any killer application, nor does the demonstration site (coral cache: http://artlebedev.com.nyud.net:8090/portfolio/opti mus-mini/ [nyud.net]) show any.

p.s. You've got to admire the humor of the demo site; just look at which companies stocks are shown in the market quotes example and what the advise is. Or how the casino example is randomized.

thanks for the fud, jerk (-1, Troll)

che.kai-jei (686930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615081)

why the editorial fud?

art lebedev is one of the most prestigious diesgn houses in europe


Re:thanks for the fud, jerk (-1, Offtopic)

che.kai-jei (686930) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615275)

if i was gonna troll dont you think i woudl post anonymously?

the mods are weird today. i only posted because i ran out of mod points and furthermore, this fud could cripple pre-order takeup.

Re:thanks for the fud, jerk (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615521)

Yeah yeah. Go back under your rock troll.

Re:thanks for the fud, jerk (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615341)

"prestigious"? Never fucking heard of them before apart from that vapourware keyboard. If they're one of the most "prestigious" then Europe is fucked.

Slashdotted already... (-1, Redundant)

ExtraT (704420) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615085)


Re:Slashdotted already... (1)

ackthpt (218170) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615422)

Try this [arrrrrr.com] link, it's also a portable keyboard.

When I saw Optimus, I must admit the first thought that popped into my mind was Optimus Prime and I thought of the vast possibilities of a keyboard which could do so much more.

Mirror!!!!!! (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615091)

Two posts and the sites toast!

Optimus [nyud.net]
Optimus Mini [nyud.net]

lol (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615186)

the mirror is slashdotted too.. :P .. anyway.. isn't it a bit suspicious that orders are taken with a cut price untill April 2:nd???... Hmmm... /me ponders

Slashdotted (0, Offtopic)

MarkNijhof (926299) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615093)

Slashdotted before the first comment ... or did they get a heads up and blokked all traffic that came from /. :)


Re:Slashdotted (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615355)

Well, don't be a retard and just paste the link yourself and answer your own stupid question in about 3 second, dipwad.

Uhmm.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615095)

We all remember the Optimus Keyboard from last year.

No we don't care to remember dupe slashvertisments and that's why that link is slashdotted.

Hope their keyboards (1)

Dugsmyname (451987) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615102)

Hope their keyboards are better than their web servers! Even mirrordot didn't catch a good mirror of the images. bummer...

Re:Hope their keyboards (4, Informative)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615126)

Heres a review (with pics) from engadget [engadget.com]

Hello There (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615104)

Hello. Is Microsoft support here? I bought a second handed computer and it starts with some stupid linux adware. How can I remove that virus?

Not vapourware? (2, Insightful)

stevey (64018) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615105)

"This is not vapourware, pre-orders are being take now with a cut price until April 2nd"

Sadly many projects which have never appeared have also taken pre-orderes.

So this "justification" doesn't amount to very much. I'd love to have a look at the prices, but sadly the site is down so I can't.

Re:Not vapourware? (3, Insightful)

RESPAWN (153636) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615129)

I don't think it's uncommon for companies to rely on the pre-order funds to finish final development of a product. Sometimes they just don't get enough though, and they never release their product.

Dude, it's just a pre-order, not a pre-purchase... (2, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615306)

They don't get your money until the thing ships. What pre-orders CAN do, is give them a somewhat accurate guage of demand, which can help them negotiate volume discounts with the component suppliers, and help them secure loans. But they don't get money from the pre-orders, they can't charge your credit card until the product ships, it's illegal.

Re:Dude, it's just a pre-order, not a pre-purchase (3, Informative)

Richthofen80 (412488) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615351)

What kind of 'they can't charge your card until product ships' crap are you spewing. Video games stores take pre-orders every day. Sears and Tweeter charge you TODAY for the TV that's shipping next week. There's no law that says receipt of good or shipment of goods must take place before charging can.

Now, if they fail to deliver the product EVER, that's a crime.

Re:Dude, it's just a pre-order, not a pre-purchase (3, Informative)

Eivind Eklund (5161) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615505)

I don't know about laws - I *do* know about agreements, though, as I've coded this stuff for customers. Credit card payments work as a two phase system. In phase 1, when the customer orders, you reserve the funds from the customer account. This "feels like" a charge - the money isn't available for your use any more.

Then, you pack up and make the order ready for shipment. When you have the stuff assembled in a box and ready to ship to the customer, you "capture" the payment. This is when you actually get the money, and things can fail at this point too (e.g, if the card had been stolen.)

Capturing the money before you're shipping the order is definately against the agreements used - I'm not sure if it is illegal or not.

There's also some maximum amount of time you can keep the funds reserved - I think this vary by agreement, too.

So, you don't get the money until you're shipping the order, unless you use a factoring company or similar. A factoring company (usually) lends you money against the right to collect on your bills, and cancels the debt as the bills are paid. They're often also collection agencies, and they're normally in the black, so they can grab tax credits for losses etc - thus making the bills more worth to them than to you.


Re:Not vapourware? (2, Informative)

masklinn (823351) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615166)

From the Art.Lebedev website:

The keyboard is in production. The first lot is set to arrive on May 15.

Retail price of Optimus mini three is $100 (subject to change after April 2).

The keyboard will be available for pre-order this week.

It should also be noted that Art.Lebedev is a well known art studio, and that it works and has worked with many world-class industries and corporations. Definitely not the kind of guys who'd bet the (well established) respectability of their name and studio with vaporware they didn't need in the first place

3 keys? Perfect! (5, Funny)

gEvil (beta) (945888) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615120)

I know what I'm mapping my three keys to: CTRL, ALT, and DEL

Re:3 keys? Perfect! (1)

zlogic (892404) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615260)

In fact, there was a photo of Optimus Mini with keys acting like Ctrl, Alt and Del.

Re:3 keys? Perfect! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615298)

aahhh - you're a windows user.

Re:3 keys? Perfect! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615321)

You mean like this? [visualjokes.com]

It's not vaporware... (1)

Roj Blake (931541) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615132)

That they are taking 'pre-orders' means what exactly?

The site is crawling now so I can't see what the price of this might be. The full keyboard would be an interesting device as my wife uses a cyrillic layout quite often and just types from memory. It would be nice to be able to switch the keys from cyrillic to latin, or even dvorak to qwerty.

Cool commercial applications (5, Insightful)

binaryDigit (557647) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615135)

I think that for personal use, this is pretty much nothing but eye-candy. However, I can see some pretty decent commercial uses (note not necessarily in it's current configuration). Keyboards that are able to adapt to the application their running in a kiosk environment (where the core qwerty keys remain fixed, but the others change as needed) for example. One BIG use would be ..... the keyboard as a display. Imagine one of these keyboards in a kiosk where it's actually displaying content as it treats the keys as a miniature multi-segmented display. It would be quite catchy and you could drive a significant bit of content through it. Picture the main interface display being the keyboard (say something simple like some type of ATM), with the standard display containing other information, or perhaps a "guide", or showing more details.

McFastFood (1)

chiph (523845) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615152)

For the under-educated fast food worker, you could put pictures of burgers, fries, and shakes on the keys.

Getting them to correctly make change, OTOH, is beyond what the technology in the keyboard can offer.

Chip H.

Re:McFastFood (1)

Ford Prefect (8777) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615225)

In a clothes shop just after Christmas, I saw a large point-of-sale keyboard which had a numeric keypad with small monochrome LCD screens in the keys. As the sales person entered information, the text on the keys would change - I was immediately reminded of the Optimus keyboard.

It didn't look particularly new, either - anyone else seen such things?

Confusing? (1)

gmletzkojr (768460) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615300)

Don't people find this type of interface confusing? In my experience, people that use MS Office products seriously dislike the 'feature' that hides inappropriate menu items, and much prefer to see them grayed out if that particular selection is not appropriate. The users I have talked to usually say "Where the $#^% did that selection go?!?". I would think that keys that change meaning would also lead to a similar confusion. Anyone actually use one of these keyboards?

Re:McFastFood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615296)

Working around the change issue is easy, just have them input how much they got and tell them how many dimes, dollars, etc. to give back. If you're particularly concerned, you can use an automated change dispenser.

Despite the thirty-year old fears of pseudo-intellectuals about "Pictures on registers soon HUR HUR STUPID FAST FOOD APES", it hasn't happened, because icons are worthless in a fast-food environment. If you're at McDonalds, how do you distinguish between a hamburger, a cheeseburger, a Quarter Pounder, a Big N' Tasty in a quarter inch-square?

The ~50 word proto-language adjective-noun newspeak they actually use on the registers (QPC BG MC LG FRY MED V SHK) is as distant from literacy as icons; but it doesn't have hook of "PICTURES ARE DESTROYING OUR ABILITY TO COMMUNICATE".

Re:McFastFood (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615332)

If you're at McDonalds, how do you distinguish between a hamburger, a cheeseburger, a Quarter Pounder, a Big N' Tasty in a quarter inch-square?

You could have the picture of a burger with a big H/C/Q/B on it to distinguish. With one of these keyboards, you could have the text scroll if it wasn't tooooo small. The icon gets them close, the text then gets them exact.

The ~50 word proto-language adjective-noun newspeak they actually use on the registers (QPC BG MC LG FRY MED V SHK) is as distant from literacy as icons

Actually this brings up an interesting issue with user interfaces. Most POS user interface absolutely suck. How many times have we been standing there waiting as the sales droid figures out which of the myriad buttons to press. And god forbid that something out of the norm happens, then it's time to call the manager. It also seems that technology hasn't really helped out here.

Re:Cool commercial applications (1)

LiquidCoooled (634315) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615178)

You would be tonnes better just using a full touchscreen display for EPOS.

I liked the *idea* of this keyboard, but its going to end up just like a badly designed very low input resolution touchscreen device.

The only possible practical area where these keyboards might win is with the tactile feedback on the keys, but that can be sorted simply enough.

Re:Cool commercial applications (1)

LadyVirharper (804893) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615396)

If you never need to use special characters, then it might be eye-candy.

I'm a writer, though--and it's a pain in the ass to go to Insert => Special Character or to memorize all the ALT + 1234 codes for each "special" letter. I can think of so many ways I'd use even the 3-key, and the full keyboard would be that much more useful. I could also clear icons out of my quick start in windows, so I have more task-bar space. I keep thinking of new things I could do with these.

I think anyone who's bilingual will like the full version too, particularly if their other language doesn't use the Latin character set. Translators would probably jump all over it, and anyone who has to do business internationally and has need of, say, the pound sign, the yen sign, etc.

Then as someone else mentioned, this'd be good for store kiosks.

And I bet coders would get a kick out of the full keyboard--all I know is HTML, but I'd love to map things like a href=" etc. to a single key, so I wouldn't have to keep copy and paste and then manually type the closing tags.

Re:Cool commercial applications (1)

srmalloy (263556) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615433)

They're going to have to have a serious MTBF advance, or the 'keysaver' is going to have to be pretty aggressive. From the website: "Organic light-emitting diodes (OLED) in our screens last for 5000 hours of continuous use. The screen saving mode is designed to extend the keyboard's lifetime." Now, that's less than eight months of always-on lifespan. What is the lifespan in intermittent use? Is it still 5000 hours of 'on' time? In that case, the mention under the Optimus keyboard of graphical 'keysavers' would be counterproductive -- you would want the keysaver to turn off the key displays fairly quickly after the keyboard goes idle, not draw pretty pictures across the keyboard for hours. If the lifespan goes up under intermittent use -- i.e., 5000 hours continuous use, but 7000 hours of use on a 50% 'on' cycle, 10,000 hours on a 25% 'on' cycle, etc. -- then something like the existing screensavers (turn the screensaver on after X minutes, blank the screen after Y minutes) would be viable. I'd be pretty annoyed to have to buy a new unit every 18 months because I liked to watch the keysaver...

Money (4, Insightful)

wongn (777209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615140)

Well, news was spreading quickly through Digg and elsewhere hours before this story was posted.

I don't know where you got that $300 figure from. If you're extrapolating it directly up, it'd be $4000; but Art Lebedev are still claiming that it will cost "Less than a decent mobile phone"; which would then give you $300. Did I just argue myself in circles? ^^
But, for people interested in getting the full keyboard, I can't see any of them forking out an extra $100 for these 3 keys; which don't have the greatest of practical applications.

$100 not $300 (1)

waif69 (322360) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615207)

From the site, for those who didn't go there:

"The keyboard is in production. The first lot is set to arrive on May 15. Retail price of Optimus mini three is $100 (subject to change after April 2).

The keyboard will be available for pre-order this week."

So, I guess, the question remains where did $300 amount come from?

Re:$100 not $300 (1)

MindStalker (22827) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615276)

$300 is the rumored price of the full keyboard $100 is the current pre-order price for the mini three.

Re:$100 not $300 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615401)

So increasing the number of keys by a factor of 34 only triples the price?

Either the mini-three is way overpriced or they are seriously lowballing the full-size.

Re:$100 not $300 (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615459)

It costs $94 for the electronics to control such a keyboard. It costs $2 for every key.

Therefore a 3-key keyboard is $100 and a 104-key keyboard is $302. If you need one for a Sun workstation, it'll be $342.

In conclusion, manufacturing costs are not expressable in third-grade math.

Natural Version (3, Funny)

un.sined (946837) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615191)

Why can't they make this in a "natural" version? I'd actually consider it then.

I can't type on a regular keyboard to save my life anymore.

Do the three keys add additional functionality, or are they just mappings of other keys on the keyboard? I mean, who wouldn't want an extra three keys for /rude /chicken and /spit in WoW?

Re:Natural Version (1)

wongn (777209) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615218)

A "natural" version of 3 keys? What sort of layout do you want? =P
Though you're probably refering to the full Optimus keyboard, which they might release a natural layout, but as they said, they haven't even made a sample yet...

I think that they're going to release an Open API for it, so yes - they do add extra functionality. My favourite use that I saw for them was on the Engadget link above; from a gamer who said that they'd be great as an indicator of whether he'd recieved any emails, IMs, etc whilst in game.
That's what I'd use it for...

Perfect for Windows! (-1, Redundant)

the_mind_ (157933) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615195)

First button: Ctrl
Second button: Alt
Third buttib: Delete

Should speed up my productivity by a lot.

Not vaporware? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615216)

I don't know about you but anytime someone tells me something is NOT vaporware and that they're taking pre-orders I assume one thing immediately. It's vaporware :-P

$100 for three keys (4, Insightful)

Refried Beans (70083) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615223)

That's "Piece of History" pricing right there. It sounds like they need the cash in order to make it through to production of the full keyboard. So they took a prototype, sized it down to something they could afford to manufacture and finished the software they need to make it work. They can use this piece to test the market and work out any problems in their manufacturing process. Sounds like a really good move to me.

Re:$100 for three keys (1)

Sockatume (732728) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615339)

Agreed, while the Optimus seemed ludicrous, this manages to strike a decent balance between being expensive, pointless, cool, and high-tech: probably decent enough to slacken a few thousand wallets.

Re:$100 for three keys (1)

ajs (35943) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615376)

I especially love this bit:
"This is not vapourware, pre-orders are being take now..."
That's so perfect, that it's almost something you could chant! ;)

Picture (4, Informative)

teslar (706653) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615246)

For those complaining about the site being down without a mirror of a picture.... a little googling does help [engadget.com]

Doh! (0, Offtopic)

nm0n (720057) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615247)

SMASH-dotted...there's smoke rolling off of a server in a datacenter somewhere.

This is not Vaporware... (1)

WED Fan (911325) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615279)

This is not vaporware? Preorders are being taken? Thats a qualification for not being vaporware? Hell, weren't they taking preorders on that little gaming system called the Infinivap...Infinisteam...Infini...hell, are you a schill for the company? Is this the new PR engine?

Keyboard Layout labels (4, Insightful)

dada21 (163177) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615285)

I use so many different keyboards over the year and I wish the industry had a different label for each layout design. Some have large backspace keys with small enter keys, others have tiny backspace keys with mammoth enter keys. I think I've seen 3 or 4 layouts over time, which is crazy considering that typing becomes more efficient if the keys are in the same place. I figure the best way to get manufacturers to conform a little better is to name the layouts, and once you have your preference, you'll tend to buying the ones you're familiar with. That way manufacturers can see what consumers want and don't want. I'm sure there is a market for different layouts, but it frustrates me when I can't recall what keyboard I am used to without actually buying a new one and then finding out a day later that I'm used to a different sized "any" key.

graphics on that page.. (1)

joeldg (518249) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615344)

perhaps they need to remove the big graphics on that page?
at first I thought it was a video load or something..
then realized it was a display graphic of some girls (who are those girls?)

seems they just restarted the server, don't think they quite know yet they are slashdotted.

Their email press release (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615354)

Ladies and gentlemen,

I'm delighted to inform you that we are rolling out the Optimus mini three

Details with images are available at http://www.artlebedev.com/portfolio/optimus-mini/ [artlebedev.com].

It's a three-key keyboard with big color OLED screens. The price of the
keyboard is $100 until April 2, 2006. We are looking forward to receiving a
fresh lot of the keyboards ready for shipment on May 15. We are planning to
give you the opportunity to pre-order the keyboard at our online store this

P. S. As regards the full-fledged Optimus keyboard, we still expect to
obtain its samples by the end of this year. Production is slated for next
year. But before that, we are planning to make another model, of which you
will be immediately notified.

Artemy Lebedev

5000 hours? (4, Informative)

aderusha (32235) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615359)

From the FAQ [artlebedev.com], the expected lifetime of these displays is 5000 hours. That's a little over 200 days. Even with a "key saver", this severly impacts the usable lifetime of this device. I'm as excited about this keyboard as anybody else, but I think I may have to wait until people have had one on their desk for a year to see if I'm going to plunk down a significant amount of coin to buy one.

Re:5000 hours? (2, Insightful)

JPRelph (519032) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615453)

That's 200 days if the keyboard is on 24 hours a day, chances are that you'd be looking at closer to 8 hours a day on average for even pretty heavy users. At that kind of rate you'd be looking at over 600 days and the chances are that 8 hours a day averaged over a year is still a bit high compared to most people.

Re:5000 hours? (1)

ledow (319597) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615462)

A good point, well made.

Didn't we have enough problems with dead pixels on things like the handheld consoles and LCD screens? Why would you want to run 101 (or however many) seperate screens, all of which could fail or degrade at any time just for an (extremely) expensive keyboard?

I thought we'd got rid of screensavers when CRT's became burn-in immune but apparently not only do we have to use them again for things like digital projectors but also for LCD screens and now even our keyboards!

I know what to use those for (5, Funny)

stunt_penguin (906223) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615380)

The 3,5 and 7 keys, making this my optimus prime keyboard.

I'm so sad.

Re:I know what to use those for (0, Offtopic)

CerebusUS (21051) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615534)

Oh, well done, sir. Well done.

If my mod points hadn't run out yesterday, you'd surely be +1 by now :-)

NOT Slashdotted..... (0, Offtopic)

SumeyDevil (906408) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615398)

People need to realize that sites aren't generally that terrible. By the time the site's posted on Slashdot, it's been posted at five different other places.

Integrate with Chording techology? (1)

Hyperbolix (214002) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615417)

I think this could be a really interesting way to optimize keyboard sizes.

OK, with the given 3-key keyboard, one has up to 8 possible modes, with [0,0,0] being the default mode with which no action is assigned. With a 2-key chording configuration, one can generate 6 distinct modes: 0+1, 0+2, 1+0, 1+2, 2+0, 2+1. With 1-key chording configuration, one can generate only 3 distinct modes: 0, 1, 2. Three-key chording would provide the same result as two key chording (for obvious reasons.)

Suppose this chording were applied to a full size keyboard? On my mac, when using the "Keyboard Viewer" (as I sometimes do for international characters), depressing the shift and option keys updates the display with the new possible outputs. What if this were applied to a normal keyboard, to generate an easier to learn full size keyboard? Or a keyboard with easily accessed international character sets? Or with a modal key that can be depressed to make every key into a hot key, with, perhaps, an icon associated with each key and with each action?

The applicability of this is extensive, but the lifetime and framerate (and presumably response time) leaves something to be desired.

My only question: Where is the API?

'5000 hours of continuous use' (3, Insightful)

affinity (118397) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615434)

This seems a little slim to me. I'm not up on the expected lifetime of OLED tech but I hope it has a nifty sleep function. Because 5000 is just over 200 days of contiuous use. How many of us keep our computers running all the time....

Images and Details (1)

Primotech (731340) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615435)

I wasn't going to post this, but since their website seems to be under too much of a load... I actually interviewed Artemy and published preview [primotechnology.com] with all the details on the site (and then some) plus plenty of pictures.

$100 to help get the full size to market. (1)

hometoast (114833) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615473)

It's possible to configure Optimus mini to display additional functions with modifier keys (Ctrl, Alt, Shift) pressed and held on a "regular" keyboard. So instead of three screens, the user will in fact have an infinite number of them./quote?

I still have 3 screens! That's some great logic.
It does seem a bit steep ($100), but I really like the idea. It may be more useful with something like a dozen keys.
I'd bet the $100 tag on these is to help get the full sized Optimus to market.

qwe (1, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 8 years ago | (#14615482)

qwe qwewwq qwweew qwwqqe wwqew wwwww qqq qwe eee ewe...had to switch back to my non-optimus keyboard. I just can't spell the words with 3 keys...sigh...

Only three keys? (0)

Se7enLC (714730) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615510)

3 keys, real useful. If anything, I want MORE keys, not less. How could I even pick what to make those three keys? And what am I going to push that I won't then need a normal keyboard or mouse for anyway. Lets think about this for a second:

1). Program Launcher: I can map the keys to programs I often load, like winamp, firefox, instant messenger, email, oh crap, I've already gone over my quota of THREE. Not even the elderly in Korea limit themselves to only three programs!

2). Multimedia Keys / Remote: I can use this to remote control my media player! I'll map things like volume up, volume down, mute, play/pause, next track, previous track. Oh wait, that's right, > 3 functions.

3). Game Controller: Forget it, the friggin atari 2600 had a directional joystick and a single button and it was more useful than this!

How about... (1)

captjc (453680) | more than 8 years ago | (#14615513)

... A Star Trek style keyboard. One big touch screen that has the ability to not only map buttons but make them any size, shape, and in any position. Even put video displays and the such. Now THAT would be great, especially for games. Keep weapons and inventory on the keyboard and to switch you could just tap the item itself as opposed to using the on screen menu and weapons groups that can be very inconvenient in the heat of battle.

Better yet keyboard accessories...why clutter up the screen with widgets, gadgets or Desktop accessories? Just send them to the keyboard display. It would be great for things like calculators, toys and meters (Power, CPU, RAM, Network).

I would buy that! (For a reasonable price)
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