Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Mass Production of Optimus Maximus Has Not Started, Driver Not Developed – Chief Exec

Artemy Lebedev, chief executive of Art Lebedev Design studio, said in an interview that mass production of the highly-anticipated Optimus Maximus keyboard with OLED screens inside every key has not yet started and currently there is no driver for the device. The claims may mean that development of the device is taking too long and its availability may be delayed.

“As the time goes [the price will decline]. We have not even started mass production yet,” said Artemy Lebedev in an interview with Webplaneta web-site when asked about possibilities of price-reductions after the mass production begins.

Earlier this year Art Lebedev promised to deliver the first 200 Optimus Maximus keyboards to customers as early as on the 1st of December. But while two hundred of units can hardly be called “mass production”, the design studio still has to finalize the device and produce it even in this volume. Moreover, the company also needs to develop the driver for the device, which is crucial for the keyboard’s functionality. Even during a live demo of Optimus Maximus in Moscow, Russia, Art Lebedev only managed to display a single picture on each of the keys due to the lack of the driver.

“There is no driver. [There is] physically no driver. This is an experimental sample,” said Mr. Lebedev.

It is unclear when the production of the device starts and when the driver is available.

Moreover, it is unclear whether Art Lebedev will be able to deliver working Optimus Maximus keyboards to those, who pre-ordered them for $1564 a piece back in May, 2007. In early October it transpired that the company may face shortages of certain components, which, in addition to some other factors, might cause delay of the product release.

Optimus Maximus is a full-sized 113-keys keyboard with colour OLED screens located inside each key. The screens are 10.1mm² large and have 48x48 pixels resolution, according to its developers. Specially designed software will be able to change images on the colour screens depending on the program running.

The company planned to ship the first batch, or 200 pieces, of Optimus Maximus starting the 30th of November. The company also promised that in December, 2007 and January, 2008 it will ship another 200 and 400 units, respectively.

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