There’s just a few days left of the group buy (it runs until January 16) to pick up your very own Contra keyboard kit. Cartel and ai03 are working on a 40% ortholinear keyboard kit, and the initial prototypes have been received and tested with the firmware.
We previously covered the Contra keyboard with its old name: “The Danck Keyboard”. This name was referencing the every-so-popular Planck Ortholinear keyboard from OLKB, which has the same 40% form factor.
Understandably, the owner of OLKB (Ortholinear Keyboards),Jack Humbert, was not too pleased with this trademark violation. Although he didn’t mind a lower-cost competing product with the same form factor on the market, he did not want it to so clearly reference the Planck brand. After all, the Danck keyboard’s name is so similar to the Planck keyboard’s name that it could be seen as related, created, or endorsed by OLKB.
Humbert wrote a public message on Reddit asking Cartel to change the name of the Danck keyboard (now Contra) in hopes of avoiding a trademark infringement dispute. In the same message, he also requested that they remove reference to the QMK firmware in the naming of the G80-1800 PCB (another project of Cartel's). This won't affect whether or not you can use the QMK firmware with either keyboard, but it will remove any confusion of affiliation with both projects. Cartel obviously obliged in both cases, and the group buy can continue with a change of name and graphics.
As far as the Contra keyboard itself, Cartel has an update to the PCB’s currently planned graphics. Also, the PCB case design is reversible, so you’ll be able to choose whether or not to hide or display the Cartel branding when you build the kit.
Cartel also showed the two stickers that will be included with the kit – one for Cartel and one for Contra. They also experimented with a black PCB plate and case design for fun, but that won’t be included in the group buy this round.
It’s too late to order a kit with their inexpensive Orange Brown switches, but the kit itself remains at the low price of $30 (Orange is the name of the manufacturer). Because the Orange Brown switches are already out of stock, you’ll have to purchase your own switches elsewhere.
Update, 1/4/18, 8:20pm PT: This article originally misstated the nature of one of Humbert's requests. The error has been corrected.