Art Lebedev to take pre-orders for OLED mini keyboard

Westlake Village (CA) - The famous Optimus OLED keyboard may actually be coming to the market in May, but only in a miniature version for now. Dubbed the Optimus mini three, the keyboard will have three keys with miniature OLED screens on top. Art Lebedev Studios, the makers of the keyboard, has begun taking pre-orders and says it will ship the keyboard on May 15.

The keyboard will plug in via a USB 1.0 connector. A 96 x 96 pixel OLED screen will be on the top of each of the three keys. A polycarbonate coating will cover the screens to not only protect against impact, but also liquid spills. Images will be displayed at five frames a second and users will be provided with a utility to customize the images. The mini three keyboard can be oriented either horizontally or vertically.

According to the developer, the OLEDs last for about 5000 hours of continuous use. A screen saver mode, which will blank out the screens periodically, can extend the life of the device

Several websites have speculated that the Optimus keyboard would never come to market. But LED expert Jagdish Rebello, Senior Industry Analyst for iSuppli, told TG Daily in an interview that the keyboard was technologically feasible. The tough part, he said, aren't the screens, but the circuitry that powers the movement of the pixels.

The Art Lebedev website states that the pre-order price for the Optimus mini three is $100 until April 2. The keyboards will ship on May 15. Users will be able to place pre-orders sometime this week, the website states. The full-size Optimus keyboard apparently will see further delays. Art.Lebedev said that it may see a first sample by the end of this year.