Optimus keyboard faces another delay

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The much-talked about Optimus Maximus keyboard project is facing another problem but the product should still be available this year, its designer said Tuesday.

The manufacturer of the OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays that are intended to be fitted inside each key is having “serious financial troubles and is not able to deliver displays at all,” designer Artemy Lebedev wrote on the Optimus project’s blog. He didn’t name the display maker.

The displays are an important part of the keyboard and just what makes it stand out. Each of the 114 keys will be customizable and the OLED display in each key will signify the key’s current function. These could include various letters or characters for different languages, quick launch buttons for applications or short-cut keys for programs.

The loss of its OLED manufacturer means the project team has to find a new manufacturer and prototype new displays, Lebedev wrote.

“Good news is that we will start tooling processes without waiting for the displays to arrive. This way we’ll be able to insert OLEDs into the keyboard case with electronics and stay within our schedule,” he wrote.

Lebedev, who is based in Moscow, noted that should the new displays be a different size from the original plan it would mean additional delays and charges for retooling the production line to suit the new OLEDs.

Along with details of the problem Lebedev also said that the keyboard is still on-track to ship in December with preorders accepted from April. That just about matches the time-frame he gave at the Cebit trade fair in Germany earlier this month.

The keyboard was supposed to be unveiled at the fair but wasn’t on show.

At Cebit, Lebedev said it will cost about $1,500 when it goes on sale in December. That’s at least $300 more expensive than the price quoted by the company in November last year.

This story, "Optimus keyboard faces another delay" was originally published by PCWorld.

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