Switch specialist Cherry has announced what it is positioning as a breakthrough for the laptop market sick of membrane and scissor-switch keyboard types: The Cherry MX Low Profile mechanical switch family.

While there have been some small number of modern laptops released with true mechanical keyboards - typically high-end gaming devices which are more luggable than truly portable - the height of a mechanical switch makes for a bulky design. As a result, most modern laptops use membrane, scissor-action, or other low-profile switch types to keep the size and weight down. Cherry, though, is claiming that manufacturers now have a new choice: low-profile true-mechanical switches based on its popular Cherry MX design.

Dubbed, imaginatively, the Cherry MX Low Profile family, Cherry's latest switch design is 11.9mm in height - a 35 percent reduction over standard Chery MX switches. Despite the drop in height, Cherry is claiming the switch features 'the same perfect operation feeling that Cherry's conventional switches have already established as a gold standard on the market'. Overall, the company says, switch travel is reduced from the standard 4mm to 3.2mm but with little to no change in actuation characteristics.

The first model to hit the market, Cherry has confirmed, will be a Cherry MX Low Profile RGB Red in transparent housing for use with board-mounted LEDs in gaming laptops and keyboards. This will, naturally, be followed by variants in Cherry's other popular colours: The rapid-actuation non-tactile gaming-centric Reds to be joined by tactile Blues, quieter Browns, high-actuation-force Blacks, and other models in due course.

Thus far Cherry has not announced when the first Cherry MX Low Profile products will hit the market.

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