Tired of missing the backspace because of a lazy pinky? Need some extra function keys for Gaming? Want to use color to reduce your hunt and peck time? No Problem, make that key any size you want or any function you want. Art Lebedev, of Art Lebedev Studios, is using OLED technology to remedy all the scenarios above and many more. My hardware closet contains at least 12 keyboards so I have no clue how I missed reading about this before now. I do remember some vague comments about OLED technology a few months back, but nothing like what I’ve read today. Optimus Maximus, you will be mine!
Let me take a step back at this point and give an extremely simplistic explanation of OLED Technology. OLED is basically a light emitting diode with an organic film covering that holds light emitting pixils. It can be extremely thin and flexible. Picture clothing made of OLED or OLED that is applied to your walls like wallpaper or a changeable mural. Very possible is an HDTV that is 80 inches wide, ¼ inch thick, and can be rolled up and carried away. I’m picturing a complete room where I am totally surrounded, sides, bottom and top. Literally encased in the movie I’m watching. For the moment, however, I’ll settle for the keyboard I’ve been reading about.
|Excellent Grayscale||Development Time|
|High Contrast||Product Life|
|Wide viewing angles from all directions|
|Low Power Consumption|
|A thin & lightweight form factor|
I haven’t purchased my Optimus Maximus yet, but I bet that changes within the next year. The opinions I’m reading give Optimus Maximus positive marks on physically changing keys and key function. Appearance, quality of build, and angle of view are all items on the plus side. Just imagine multi colored keys that can be changed at your direction.
The major drawbacks at this point seem to be related to keystroke and product life. The amount of pressure needed to depress the key is notable. I’ve seen reports of users tiring after as few as 30 minutes of typing. That’s not a good thing for those of us who spend the whole day at the keyboard. It’s reported that double-size keys are doublely hard to depress. Ever the optimist, I’m thinking this might mesh perfectly with my
The problem with product life is directly related to the blue LEDs. They have a life of 14,000 hours as compared to LCD s which currently average about 60, 000 hours. This in mind, I find it somewhat comforting to know that Optimus Maximus comes with a full one-year warranty.
In addition to its Maximus features, this keyboard also has a maximus price. Depending on the features/keys you would like, the prices run from the mid $400.00 range to the $1600.00 range. Sounds outrageous, but looking at current keyboards I see several Microsoft models, using existing technology, that are upwards of $270.00.
Take a look at this engaget.com video clip from the 2008 Consumer Electronics Show. This is the one that got me all excited and searching for more information. See if you catch the bug.
Where are we today with OLED Technology? Well first off Kodak holds the patents and has licensed other firms for commercialization. Samsung introduced a 31 inch OLED TV at the January CES show, but says they will not be in a position to mass produce until 2010.
Application ideas are endless. Use in cell phones, automotive in-dash communication systems, and programmable lighting systems are just a few of the ideas being tossed about.
As you would expect, Sony is right in the mix with Samsung, GE Global Research, and Art. Lebedev Studio. On October 1, 2007, Sony announced it would sell an eleven-inch OLED TVs for 200,000 yen or $1714.00. These are offered only in Japan and initial production is 2000 units per month.
With a little luck and some more hard work by Art Lebedev, the Optimus Maximus Keyboard should be available starting in May for the US, certainly in time for Christmas stockings.