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In the midst of global economic crisis a design studio based in Moscow, Russia unveils a gadget with 15 keys that will cost around $650 when it becomes available in several months from now.

Art Lebedev, the design studio known for its Optimus-branded input devices with built-in screens, has published a picture of its new keypad called Optimus Aux (previously known as Optimus Pultius). With the picture available now, it is likely to expect the device to become available in accordance with the company’s promises in very late 2008 or early 2009. Still, the price-tag of the gadget will hardly make it popular.

The Optimus Aux keypad has15 programmable keys with OLED screens inside, a major improvement over another keypad by Art Lebedev – Optimus Mini Three (which has three keys only) – and may be plugged to any computer to support either full-sized Optimus or any other keyboard. The keypad seems to be fully-functional, although this is a pre-production prototypes.

Optimus Configurator software suit will allow creating different pre-sets with special functionality for each key in various programs. Since Art Lebedev already has experience in designing appropriate configuration software, the Aux will make it considerably easier to use programmable keys, it can be expected.

While the Optimus Aux may be a useful product for many professional who need different key configurations for different programs, the $650 price-tag of the device will leave it to customers of luxurious products or hardcore gadget freaks, not those, who use those devices in their daily routine.

Tags: Art Lebedev, Optimus

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