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Art Lebedev, a leading design studio from Russia that is mostly known for its innovative keyboards, on Tuesday published the first mockup of its forthcoming keyboard that the designers call Optimus Popularis. Not a lot of information is known about the product, however, given the name and sizes, the novelty may be aimed at more or less mass market.

“Our next big release in the Optimus keyboards family will be Optimus Popularis. Shorter than Maximus, it will not use OLED screens, but will be based on a totally different principle. 11 extra keys are above the F-keys now. Price will be below $1000,” said Artemy Lebedev, the chief of Art Lebedev design studio, in a statement.

Based on the mockup, the new keyboard is much narrower, but is higher compared to Optimus Maximus, which is available today for $1854/€1257. It is not clear whether the keyboard will be wired or wireless and how many keyboards with built-in screens will be installed by default.

Earlier this year Art Lebedev promised lower-priced versions of Optimus keyboards that can be equipped with keys that feature displays and sold separately as well as keyboards that feature one large LCD screen as well as transparent keys.

Keyboards with screens built inside keys enable a new level of interactivity, however, the cost of such devices are high these days, whereas the value that they bring remains not completely clear. If Art Lebedev, or Foxconn Electronics with United Keys, bring such products with affordable price onto the market early enough, this could reshape the market presently dominated by companies like Logitech or Microsoft.


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