After a very successful Kickstater campaign earlier this year, keyboard maker Das Keyboard is ready to unveil its 5Q "Cloud-Connected" keyboard, which the company says can make the keyboard "an output device." Das Keyboard will be showing it off alongside its accompanying software to the public at CES 2017 next week.
Das Keyboard helped kick off the current flood of mechanical keyboards with the original, ultra-spartan Das Keyboard—a jet black slab of plastic that didn't even bother with letters on keycaps, let alone such frivolity as programmable RGB LEDs. Now, the company has come full circle and is working on what might be the most complex keyboard yet.
The keyboard lights up like so many others, but besides offering programmable lighting with different effects, each key can be programmed to change its hue based on input from third-party applications. For example, an increasing pile of unanswered emails or a rising CPU temperature could turn your Esc key green, then yellow, then orange, and so on. If you watch the wearable space at all, it sounds like a more complex version of what Ringly offers to do.
The idea is a neat one, but Das Keyboard's execution of the control software will be key to the product's success. While we've seen keyboards with LCD screens and downloadable lighting profiles before, the 5Q appears to be the first keyboard with internet connectivity as a main concept.
On the hardware side, Das Keyboard is promising that the 5Q's RGB LEDs will be "many times brighter" compared to those on similar keyboards on the market. The 5Q uses custom "Gamma-Zulu" switches from Japanese manufacturer Omron, which Das Keyboard says are much more durable than "standard mechanical switches." The company is also advertising a 1-ms response time for keypresses, which it claims is 20 to 45 times faster than other keyboards.
While we won't see the live product in action for another week, Das Keyboard already has the 5Q available for pre-order on its site for $229.99.