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The Ex-Best Keyboard

Wednesday, 29 November 2006 releases

Sometimes press releases work. Here is the proof that sometimes, hyping something up can really screw things up in the long run.

The picture on the left is the Optimus 113 OLED Keyboard. The design was released on July 14th 2005 and when the internet found it, they went WILD and for good reason. Some of the features touted at the time:

If the keyboard shipped as per that plan, everything would have been fine… But as with most products nearing production, things have to be scaled back. Parts work out to be more expensive than originally thought. Despite this, the company behind the Optimus keyboard (Art. Lebedev) have made it their mission to keep the hype going as long as possible with additions of rumours like the control software being open-source and various price speculations.
Alas they’ve finally done their sums and have come back this week with two stunning retractions made through the medium of LiveJournal:

  1. There will be no colour. I repeat: All keys will be black and white (not even monochrome) with a colour version being released later (probably for 2008).

  2. The damage for this stunted B&W version is… drum roll one thousand, two hundred United States Dollars. US$1200. ~£700-800. More than… All my hard disks cost me. Okay. Maybe not quite that much but close.

Needless to say, there has been a little bit of negative feedback from these two shockers. These weren’t the first two withdrawals from Lebendev. Earlier this month they said that the 113 was going to be put to one side until the crappy 103 key version was made. AND the colour, 113 key version will cost a lot more… Probably in the region of $4000 if this first one is anything to go by.

They may well have a few “early adopters” swooning over the rubbish version, and probably a few more over the better version but if you ask me, they’ve paid a horrible price of getting the internet on their backs over this. It looks like they’ve been taking a lesson from Sony.