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[CES 2008] Hands All Over The Optimus Maximus Keyboard

Optimus Maximus

By Evan Ackerman

Yes, it’s the Optimus Keyboard. If anything, it’s more beautiful in person than in all of the press releases (or maybe that’s just because we’re now sure that it actually exists). It works exactly as advertised. And believe it or not, Art Lebedev Studios had several 100% working versions in their booth at CES. Not vaporware anymore, baby… According to the booth dudes, they’ve got about 2,000 keyboards ready to go and are working on producing more.

Optimus Key

If you’re not familiar with this keyboard, every single key (in its most expensive configuration) contains a little 48×48 color OLED screen, which you can customize to show a letter, a picture, a movie, or even a widget that updates itself. The keyboard includes configuration software that lets you tweak each key to your heart’s content, and save custom configurations for different programs. We learned a little bit more about the keyboard itself, besides how eye-shatteringly cool and beautiful it is… It stores custom configs on an SD card, sucks down enough juice that it needs it own DC jack, and has 2 additional USB 2.0 ports in the back. The keys should last about 20,000 hours before they start to dim and are not susceptible to stuck pixels like conventional LCDs. Each keyboard includes a 1 year warranty (which extends to the keys themselves) and will come with 3 spare keys.

Optimus

It’ll be available in gloss black or gloss white with anywhere from one OLED on the spacebar ($460) to a full 113 OLEDs (nearly $1600). But the good news is that the OLED keys are only 10 bucks each and you can plug them in yourself, so just get the base version, and then find 112 friends who’d each be willing to give you a $10 b-day present. They should (should) start shipping by the end of February, and I think it’s actually halfway likely to happen.

Pics of the retail packaging (if you’re interested), after the jump.

Optimus Maximus

Optimus Maximus

[ Optimus Maxiumus ]







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  • Tom

    > sucks down enough juice that it needs it own DC jack
    do we really need a keyboard with 113 oleds whereas we
    can use launchy, quicksilver or a myriad of hotkey apps ?
    Futile !

  • Erick

    @Tom
    no, we don’t. This keyboard has nothing to do with filling a need, just with being the coolest looking, most uselessly technological piece of hardware on our desks.
    For functionality, durability, usability and even ‘cool’, nothing is going to beat my old Model M. That doesn’t mean I wouldn’t sell one of my sisters to get an Optimus.

  • CM

    This would work well if you play a lot of different keyboard-based games. Each key could describe its action for the particular game you are playing at the moment.

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  • Matt

    Could I have your sister ?
    I need some shirts ironed and my car could do with a clean.

    LOL

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  • justannaekirby

    I'd like the chance to check this out. This would give folks with communication- impairment an option over Boardmaker and the like.

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    EPIC

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  • http://www.computerrepairforstlouis.com CRStL

    One day, this will be a standard keyboard supplied at no extra cost. There are a ton of different uses for this type of keyboard. You can have it display keyboard short cuts related to the program you are using (i.e. Final Cut Pro, Logic, etc.) You can type in the dark with ease. You can do a better job illustrating those multimedia.multifunction keys, etc. If it is comfortable it might make a nice gaming keyboard too.

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  • http://www.technodo.com/ Andrew

    Just stumbled into this. I have to admit, this was pretty cool when I first saw it back in the day. Too bad it cost an arm and a leg, would have really been a neat toy to have.