CES2008: Optimus Maximus on Display and Functional

Walking into the conference for the first time, we were greeted immediately by the Optimus Maximus. The Optimus Maximus is a keyboard with every key having an OLED display on it with a 48x48 resolution. The keyboard features a SD card slot to hold the background images of the keys as well as external storage, two USB 2.0 ports, K-Lock, external power source, and it connects to the computer via USB B.

They had three units up with one in demo mode, and the other two fully functioning. The functioning ones were in heavy use, so we looked at the demo. Our first impression was the keys are way too shiny. The glare off of them made it difficult to see the keys at many angles. Also, the feel of the keyboard was 'cheap', not to say it is, as the base model comes in at near $500 USD. Out of the glare, however, the keyboard looked amazing.

One nice feature demonstrated was all of the keys are modular. You can buy the base model and upgrade each key as you want. They weren't sure on per-key pricing yet, but guessed around $10. The keys are plucked out with a tool similar to a fuse remover in cars.

Click Read More for photos

Link: Optimus Maximus Official Site

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I hear printing an image on some paper and taping it to the keys works just as well, and saves you a bunch of money.

The OLED screens are too low in the keys IMHO and probably a reason theres so much glare as it looks like theres quite alot of clear plastic for light to travel through between the top of the key and the screen.

I think it'd look better if either they could elevate the scrrens more or failing that, use lower profile keys more akin to a laptop (although they dont look to be that high anyway atm), with the later option being my preference.

TOO EXPENSIVE!

But I liked Art Lebedev's comment at CES; that if you can't afford the full set of keys, you can go wash dishes at McDonald's at night to work up enough $$$ to buy one key at a time.

I think that would be true if the base model was $50. Then you could afford the base model on a one-time expense, and slowly work up the money $10 a time to buy the full keyboard.

But when it stats out at $500..


$500 for ONE active key (the space bar). To get the full keyboard with 113 active keys it's over $1500!

Plus if you read the description it says they now have it setup with the screens set on keyboard to not move with clear "keys" over them so you're typing by pressing down the clear covers on them. No wonder if feels cheap.

Sorry but for $1500 I can do a lot better than that.

This looks nothing tlike the concept boards we were shown.. what's the light grey case all about? Looks cheap and clunky..

And I agree with the author, the keys are far too shiny.. it's gonna crash and burn if this is the way they are trying to market it... also it needs EXTERNAL memory for the key graphics?, that's just plain LAME, for that (ridiculous) price it should have some internal non-volatile memory for that job.

Yet again, another product with GREAT potential utterly ruined by @ssbackwards execution.

The Walker said,
This looks nothing tlike the concept boards we were shown.. what's the light grey case all about? Looks cheap and clunky..

And I agree with the author, the keys are far too shiny.. it's gonna crash and burn if this is the way they are trying to market it... also it needs EXTERNAL memory for the key graphics?, that's just plain LAME, for that (ridiculous) price it should have some internal non-volatile memory for that job.

Yet again, another product with GREAT potential utterly ruined by @ssbackwards execution.

QFT.

Saw this a few years ago and drooled. Now, i don't know what to think, it may just be the fact that its ridiculously expensive, you aren't really getting what you pay for. Maybe if they added a nice LCD like the G15 and a few other cool features then maybe it would be worth the money.