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Art Lebedev, design studio from Russia that is known for its innovative keyboards, announced that it would reveal more affordable versions of the Optimus Maximus keyboards shortly and will also disclose new Optimus concepts later on. Even though the much-anticipated 113-key keyboard with a screen inside every key seems to face further delays, the company seems to plan to offer more gadgets based on the same idea.

“Next week we will announce a couple of configurations with pre-order prices starting at sub-$500 and sub-$1000. […] This year we’ll announce a couple of new Optimus concepts and a new model to be released next year,” said Artemy Lebedev, the chief executive of the design studio, in a blog dedicated to Optimus keyboards.

Optimus Maximus is a full-sized 113-keys keyboard with colour OLED screens located inside each key. The screens are 10.1mm² 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.

More affordable versions of the keyboard are projected to feature lower amount of keys with integrated OLED screens, which will be substituted with typical keys with imprinted letters, numbers or symbols on them. Actual configurations remain unknown, but earlier Mr. Lebedev discussed possibilities of “upgrading” keys without screens for keys with displays.

The fully-fledged Optimus Maximus keyboard costs $1564 and while the design studio promised to deliver the first batch in early December, shortages of OLED screens as well as the lack of driver may cause delays for the device.

The more affordable Optimus keyboards will help Art Lebedev to target customers looking for innovative gadgets, but with budget constraints. It is unclear whether there are many of such end-users, as many of those capable of paying half of a thousand for a keyboard are looking forward maximum ergonomics for a particular task, e.g., for gaming; meanwhile, Optimus Maximus has rather conservative design and questionable ergonomics.


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