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World's first keyboard with LCD keys

World's first keyboard with LCD keys

The United Keys 205PRO PC keyboard features twelve monochrome 20x20 pixel LCD keys.

California-based United Keys has announced today the world's first PC keyboard with user programmable display keys, the 205PRO. The USB 2.0 keyboard comes with twelve tiny monochrome LCDs mounted into the Function keys along the top row of the keyboard. Using the bundled Icon Editor software, users can design their own custom graphics for each key.

If this idea is sounding familiar, many will recall the frenzy back in July caused by the Russian design studio Art.Lebedev, creators of the Optimus OLED keyboard. Each key is a 32x32 pixel Organic LED (OLED) onto which you can display custom icons for various applications, game-specific key configurations and more.

Unfortunately, the Optimus is only a design concept - the images are no more than high quality renders. Art.Lebedev hope to put it into production in 2006, but there are serious questions marks over the cost and longevity of their proposed design.

While the United Keys design may be less ambitious, featuring fewer, lower-resolution monochrome LCDs, the difference is that the 205PRO PC keyboard will be available in Q1 2006, and is already available for pre-order at the discounted price of US$199.99 until the end of this year; the regular price is to be US$299.99.

It may not be as cool as the Optimus, and it would arguably be cheaper for users to either use sticky labels, or just bother to remember which key does what. But for some, the United Keys 205PRO PC keyboard could be just what they are looking for.

Here are a few teaser photos. Share your opinions on this product in News Discussion.