Switch expert Cherry has officially announced its next generation of mechanical keyswitches, the MX RGB, which features a surface-mount LED capable of cycling through 16.7 million colours.
The Cherry MX RGB, seen here in Red format, features a transparent and light-scattering casing designed for use with surface-mount RGB LEDs.
The favoured switch brand among the majority of mechanical keyboard enthusiasts, Cherry's MX family has previously included a variant with 3mm LEDs for key backlighting. This, the company admits, was a stop-gap measure which never really delivered on its promise.
'The illumination of keyboard symbols – especially in terms of their uniformity of illumination – is a technically highly complex and demanding task. The previous solution with the incorporation of 3mm LEDs led to unsatisfactory results,
' explained Cherry's product developer Karl-Heinz Müller at the formal unveiling of the new switches.
'With our newly developed MX RGB switch, key symbols can be evenly illuminated not only in the widest variety of brightness levels but also in up to 16.7 million different colours. Our new concept of light conductance was implemented through the use of new materials and several patent-pending technical solutions. This innovative, technical concept was implemented only in conjunction with manufacturing processes and sophisticated tool concepts constantly optimised over many years.
The result is the MX RGB, a fully-mechanical keyswitch with a transparent casing and a lens designed to transmit light from RGB LEDs mounted directly onto the surface of the printed circuit board below. Using this method, the company claims, allows for much more even illumination while also offering the potential for individual colour control over every key on the board - although single-colour versions as planned as well for buyers on a budget.
As with the company's existing Cherry MX family, the new MX RGB keyswitches will be made available in a variety of 'flavours:' Cherry MX RGB Blues offer a click pressure point with tactile and audible feedback; Cherry MX RGB Browns offer a soft pressure point with soft tactile feedback; Cherry MX RGB Reds offer a linear actuation without pressure point and a 45cN force requirement; and Cherry MX RGB Blacks offer a Red-like feel with a heavier 60cN actuation force requirement.
'Our RGB switch is the first step in our MX innovation roadmap. With additional, innovative features, we will offer our customers solutions in the area of our mechanical MX switches that go far beyond the features known today,
' claimed Manfred Schöttner, Cherry's head of computer input devices, at the unveiling. 'To continue to provide the highest quality standards, we will continue to manufacture our switches in Germany on fully automatic systems.
Cherry has confirmed that it has partnered with Corsair for the first Cherry MX RGB keyboard launches, with the first retail products to be unveiled by the company at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) early next year.