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Art Lebedev Studio, the developer of the infamous customizable keyboard with screens on every key, said Friday it would concentrate on development of a keyboard with colour screens that is planned to be released in future. The company is unlikely to put efforts on releasing black and white Optimus 103 keyboard in 2007.

“We will not release black and white version next year. And there will be no pre-orders on December, 12. Instead, we will concentrate on making a color Optimus-103 with OLEDs – the only color technology we seriously consider at the moment,” said Artemy Lebedev, the head of the Art Lebedev company.

Earlier Art Lebedev said it would release Optimus-103 keyboard with black and white screens in mid-2007 and that it would cost $1200 per unit for early adopters. However, the move faced loads of criticism among observers and bloggers, who claimed that it was unacceptable to get a keyboard with black and white keys at so high price tag.

In addition to the seemed-to-be cancelled black and white Optimus-103 with its exceptionally high price-tag, Art Lebedev has received critics over the form of its keys. Typically, keys on the keyboards feature a kind of a ramp to allow users to point exactly in the middle of the button and do not touch the keys nearby. Additionally, keys usually feature trapezium-like form, whereas Art Lebede’s Optmius keys featured cube-like form, according to pictures released by the company.

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 certain 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. Afterwards, it was said that the Optimus-103 would lack colour and would cost $1200 for those, who order on the 12th of December. The plan to release such a keyboard seems to have been cancelled, however.

“As soon as we'll know all the details from our suppliers, we'll begin taking pre-orders (about February 2007),” Mr. Lebedev said.

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