Artemiy Lebedev, the chief of the Art Lebedev Design Studio, said in a blog dedicated to the already famous Optimus keyboard that the product that is expected to go for sale soon will not feature colour keys and will cost $1200 for early adopters.
“At the moment we’re considering to use FSTN (Film Compensated STN – X-bit labs) displays with a polarizer in Optimus’ keys. But it is possible that we may use some new OLEDs we’ve learned about recently. Optimus-103 will use black and white displays (B&W is perfect for 95% of all tasks a keyboard requires). Color will come later at a greater price,” Mr. Lebedev said.
Film Compensated STN (FSTN) is a passive matrix LCD technology that uses a film compensating layer between the STN display and rear polarizer for added sharpness. Back in the past it was used in laptops.
Art Lebedev studio has been developing a full-sized 113-keys Optimus keyboard with colour OLED keys. However, as the time went by, the full-sized keyboard got rid of the keys with embedded small display that could be reprogrammed and was renamed to Optimus-103, then the developers announced that keys like “Space”, “Shift” and so on will lack the screen. The design studio was looking forward to laying their “hands on a sample of the Optimus before year-end”.
“On December 12 we are going to accept only 103 pre-orders (one hundred and three pre-orders) at a price of US$1200 with a shipping date about May 2007. Later on we'll start accepting more pre-orders at sub-1000 price with a shipping date around September 2007,” Mr. Lebedev said.
Earlier Art Lebedev studio implied that the Optimus keyboard would cost the same price as “a fine mobile phone”. Nokia sells its premium 8800-series phones for roughly Ђ1000, which is about $1315 after the U.S. dollar has tumbled in the recent weeks. A “fine” mobile phone from Nokia or Motorola usually costs starting from Ђ300 ($394) or something. At least, a fine business-customer oriented Nokia E70 costs Ј339 (Ђ501, $659) in the
Currently Art Lebedev is selling the Optimus mini three keypad with coloured keys for $120 - $160 per unit.