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Art Lebedev, a design studio from Russia who develops innovative keyboards with keys that contain displays, said that production of organic light-emitting diode (OLED) screens for the Optimus 103 keyboard had begun and the company will receive them in April, which means that, if there are no production flaws, may allow the firm to produce the highly-anticipated keyboard this year.

Production of keys for the Optimus 103 keyboard, which is going to have the majority of keys with built-in OLED screens that change depending on user activity and software, is not easy, as not a lot of manufacturers of OLED screens can produce 9mm x 9mm displays with 65K colours and 32x32 pixels resolution, according to Artemiy Lebedev, the chief of the studio.

“We have asked twenty OLED makers to give us the price for the displays of the size we need. Only five of them answered – probably because our specs require tooling and most factories are afraid of anything new. We’ve chosen one manufacturer who will start producing OLEDs in January 2007,” Mr. Lebedev said back in December.

On the 5th of February the studio chief said that they OLED screens have went into production and, considering production cycle of 8 to 10 weeks, the company will have them in April.

“The production of our custom OLEDs for the Optimus 103 has started and we expect to have them in April 2007,” he said.

Besides OLED screens, the company will need to develop mounting mechanisms for its keyboard and initiate its production, in addition to manufacturing of other components of Optimus, such as keys themselves.

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. After canceling the plans to release black and white Optimus, Art Lebedev has not updated the price estimations of the keyboard.

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