These keys aren't printed--they're individual OLED, programmable screens.
Would you pay a whole grand for a keyboard? What if it had OLED screens mounted in each individual key. Would you pay ten Franklins for it then? That's the question we asked ourselves after taking a look at Art Lebedev's Optimus Popularis OLED keyboard.
This isn't the first of its kind--Lebedev released a similar product called the Optimus Maximus a few years ago, however the screens didn't fill up the entire key's physical real estate. Pricing for the four Maximus models also ranged from $462 to $1564, depending on the number of key using OLED displays.
So the big question is why even bother with adding displays to the keys in the first place. In short, users can load up anything, whether it's static images like GIFs or actual MOV files. Did you get that? It's possible for any number of keys to play movies.
But as seen here, the previous Maximus models were heavy and wide, didn't have wireless capabilities, and wasn't even plug and play capable. In turn it's biggest selling point was the heavy customization. After all, any key could be configured to do just about anything.
Now the newer Popularis line--slated for a Q4 2010 release--will supposedly feature OLED screens that encompass the individual keys' entire physical real estate. There's also a long widget mounted between the function keys and the number keys. As for the price, it's still relatively high-- less than $1000 for the model featuring OLED screens on all keys.
"Optimus Popularis comes in compact form-factor without the dedicated numeric keypad section," Lebedev said. "We have special Fn key in the lower left corner that turns the right part of keyboard into the page-up and num-lock keys, as well as the numbers arranged in a familiar calculator layout."
What's your opinion? Is this keyboard practical, or does it belong in the same category as the gold-plated iPhone and diamond-studded mouse? The keyboard itself looks awesome, but doesn't seem worth shelling out nearly $1000 for a peripheral that could be bought for far less at Walmart.