Art Lebedev Studios, the team behind the Optimus Maximus keyboard, have released some fresh (if scant) detail on their next project. Named Optimus Popularis, as the name suggests it’s another keyboard but one aimed more at general consumers. Estimating a sub-$1,000 final pricetag, it apparently won’t use OLEDs for the keys but “will be based on a totally different principle”.
Other than that, the fact that the keyboard is shorter than the existing Maximus, and the extra row of keys being moved to above the function keys (and gaining another button – eleven on the Popularis compared to the ten on the Maximus), little is known. Presumably it’ll still be another case of having displays for some or all of the keys, but Lebedev’s suggestion of a “different principle” opens up the possibility of alternative technologies to OLED being used. Using OLEDs gave particularly bright and low-power images, but supplier issues severely delayed the Maximus’ launch.
One possibility is a switch to ePaper, such as developed by E Ink and currently used in the Amazon Kindle, Sony Reader and iRex’s e-book range. E Ink’s Vizplex technology can produce print-crisp characters, require no backlight and only draw power when the image is changed. There’s no timescale for the Popularis, but we’ll bring you more detail as we get it.