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The ambitious Optimus Maximus keyboard from Art Lebedev design studio may face further delay if the company does not get necessary components or will have problems with firmware development, the company said in its blog last week. The potential delays could push the actual Optimus Maximus product launch to 2008.

“There may be a slight shift in the schedule due to possible shortages of OLED controllers supplies, that are shipping to Taiwan from Japan. At the moment the main priority for us is firmware development. We use LPC2888 Philips CPU, and Philips doesn’t have any ready software solutions that we may use right away,” said Artemy Lebedev, the head of the design studio.

Earlier this year Art Lebedev announced that the first batch of Optimus Maximus keyboards will be finished by the 30th of November, 2007. Currently, the online store of the company claims that the “new” lot is projected to emerge on the 20th of December with customers receiving their Optimus Maximus keyboards in late December.

Given the relatively short period of time between the arrival of the first batch and the second one as well as some other factors, including requirements to pass validations by EC and FCC, necessity to develop firmware along with software as well as necessity to obtain enough OLED controllers, it is really possible that Art Lebedev  will revise its Optimus Maximus schedules.

Optimus Maximus is a full-sized 113-keys keyboard with colour OLED screens located inside each key. The screens are 10.1mm? large and have 48x48 pixels resolution, according to its developers. Specially designed software will be able to change images on the colour screens depending on the program running.

Art Lebedev started accepting pre-orders on its Optimus keyboard on the 20th of May and it took the company 12 hours to pre-sell 200 keyboards that cost $1564 each.

The company planned to ship the first batch, or 200 pieces, of Optimus Maximus starting the 30th of November. The company promised that in December, 2007 and January, 2008 it will ship another 200 and 400 units, respectively.


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