Many of us were in awe and disappointed when the Optimus keyboard was announced to be in black & white along with a price tag of $1200. We knew that it couldn’t be cheap to build these but $1200 for a computer keyboard seemed a little outlandish.
I find reading the Optimus blog to be a lot of fun because there are hardly any companies that clue in the rest of the world on their design process. Now the latest post on the Optimus blog details some of the costs that are associated with the manufacturing of the keyboard:
For the Optimus-103 OLEDs have to be custom-made. We have to choose the manufacturer next week (there are some of them), define the specs and finance every production stage including the tooling. Tooling itself costs a minimum of US$70-100k. Production cycle takes at least three months. Every display costs about US$10. Multiply that by the number of active keys.
Remember that the $10 is not for all 103 keys because the “space bar, return, both shifts, numeric keypad, the arrow keys and some other keys of secondary importance” will just be backlit to save some money. That right there knocks off about 25 OLEDs ($250 in parts) that would be needed.
There is no way that I could afford the $1200 for the keyboard, which is what the black & white version was said to cost, but I am sure over the years that the price will continue to fall as the parts become cheaper to manufacture. Look back at how expensive laptops and plasma/LCD televisions were a few years ago and then it is obvious that this technology will follow a similar path.