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OLED keyboard maker touts mini keypad

Three-button pad in May, full keyboard by year's end

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Russian hardware designer Artemy Lebedev has announced his second OLED-illuminated keyboard, a three-key unit designed to sit alongside a regular keyboard or one of his own picture-key jobs.

Lebedev's product, the Optimus Mini, comprises three large buttons, each with its own colour OLED screen. The idea is the buttons show a colour icon, in some cases an animated one, that indicates what will happen when you push the button.

optimus mini keypad

It certainly looks cool, but we're unsure of any other value a secondary keypad with only three keys offers. But, hey, it would look good on your desk. More useful, we'd say, is Lebedev's full keyboard, the Optimus, which should provide sufficient functions keys for anyone, though it's not expected to become available until the end of the year.

In the meantime, there's the keypad (worth $100), for which Lebedev is taking pre-orders. The product isn't set to ship until May 15, but Lebedev warned that the pre-order price may go up on April 2.

To connect button presses to actions, and to choose which icons the buttons display, you use Lebedev's Optimus Configurator utility. It runs under Windows, but the designer promised Mac OS X and Linux versions are in the works. The code uses a plug-in architecture to add support for different applications. ®

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