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Art Lebedev, the design studio from Russia primarily known for its innovative Optimus keyboards, announced late on Tuesday three additional configurations of its full-size Optimus keyboards. The new configurations will feature fewer keys with built-in screens and will be available starting from $460.

In order to make Optimus Maximus more affordable, Art Lebedev, as expected, plans to install fewer “active” keys with integrated OLED screens and substituted them with “passive” keys that have no screens inside. Still, end-users who plan to get a cut-down Optimus keyboard will have an opportunity to acquire sets of “active” keys eventually.

The lineup of Optimus keyboards with 113 keys will look as follows:

  • 1 “active” key configuration. Only space bar has built-in OLED screen (which will display current language setting for those who type looking at the keyboard). Approximate price: $460.
  • 10 “active” keys configuration. Programmable keys on the left side of the keyboard have integrated OLED screens. Approximate price: $599.
  • 47 “active” keys configuration. Letters and numbers keys feature built-in OLED screens. Approximate price: $999.
  • Optimus Maximus 113 “active” keys configuration. All keys have screens. Price: $1564.

It is not completely clear whether there are users who would need a keyboard with one “active” key to display current language setting or time for over $450 (keeping in mind that Optimus mini three with three screens is available for $150) or with 47 “active” keys and none of them programmable. However, some customers may be glad to acquire a more affordable Optimus configuration with the intention to upgrade going forward. The new Optimus keyboard configurations are set to become available in February, 2008.

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. It is unclear whether Optimus Maximus emerges as a commercial product in 2007, or will slip into 2008.


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