Author Topic: My new design keyboard  (Read 2894 times)

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Offline vexchow

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My new design keyboard
« on: Wed, 05 August 2020, 14:46:16 »
It called Designer Keyboard.

Split BLE QMK ergo Keyboard!

PRETTY
VHD Form Study
VHD Optimisation Design
Thin Edge Slim
Small and Light

POWER
Two-handed Work Style
Module System With Pro Stand
Incredible Logic Board
QMK Programmable 

COMFORT
Ergonomic Design
48 and 68 Keys
Split Design
Cherry Mx Switches

https://www.vexc-how-design.com/overview

Offline -Jerry-

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Re: My new design keyboard
« Reply #1 on: Wed, 05 August 2020, 16:02:13 »
It's a nice enough design, if a little plain. I'm curious about how the project is going to progress, as I can see you had an uncuccessful kickstarter for it last year.

From what I can see, you've priced this fairly highly and I'd possibly consider it too expensive for what I see. The 68-key version you're showing on your site with a proposed price of 466 (inc VAT) not including the stands and that it's a 3D printed case. When you consider that you can get an ErgoDox Ez, with tilt kit, wrist rests, LEDs, for 265, so yes, I'm a little concerned that you've priced too highly. Granted, it's an inverted curve, which there aren't many of, which increases complexity, and yes, you've got BLE, etc., but that's 200 more for a 3D printed model. I don't know that I could personally justify that. I can see that you took advice from the previous interest check you made to add QMK support this time, which is good, at least.
« Last Edit: Wed, 05 August 2020, 16:05:16 by -Jerry- »
     
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Offline vexchow

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Re: My new design keyboard
« Reply #2 on: Wed, 05 August 2020, 22:04:37 »
Hi Jerry,

Thanks for you are interested in my project.
After kickstarter, I try to upgrade the Designer Keyboard, so I redesign the hardware and software.

Some people said it is expensive, and others told me can't imagine... it is so cheap!
As you said, Designer Keyboard has split bluetooth, concave finger Area and match with pro stand for no travelling and two-hand work style. Hard to find some similar functions like that, therefore some fans love it very much!
Ergodox EZ is wired, flat, and easy to find some similar functions keyboard for it.

I show you one example.
EarPods - Wired - 29 vs Airpod Pro - Split Bluetooth -250

And more examples.
MALTRON - Wired, concave finger Area - 435
Keymouse - 3D printed case, Split Bluetooth, Flat, with mouse - USD 599-725

Designer Keyboard 68 pre-order - 466(inc tax), up to 100 off, and 10% of the profit will be donated to NHS and Hong Kong Watch.

And we offer 2 models keyboard and 8 versions for Pro Stand this time.
Therefore, 3D printed case is suited for small batch production.
If many people buy it, we will upgrade to injection molding case in the future.

Thanks, I am happy to take good advice for making good design!

Offline jamster

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Re: My new design keyboard
« Reply #3 on: Thu, 06 August 2020, 02:20:16 »
I could be wrong, but BT split concave cases seem to be very rare. A significant premium for BT doesn't seem unreasonable.

More to the point though is whether there is demand for wireless in this already sub, sub niche of the keyboard market. BT seems to be a popular thing that people keep asking for in the mech board market,
but when I started a thread several months ago asking whether people really use their small keyboards in a portable fashion, only one person mentioned that they really required portability. The rest of the respondents were firmly deskbound to one location. This led me to conclude that people clamouring for Bluetooth are more interested in aesthetics than really needing the functionality to carry around and use with phones or tablets, so paying an extra $150 or so might not make sense for many prospective buyers.

The design with the rests for other devices is definitely very cool.

Offline -Jerry-

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Re: My new design keyboard
« Reply #4 on: Thu, 06 August 2020, 04:24:45 »
Some people said it is expensive, and others told me can't imagine... it is so cheap!
As you said, Designer Keyboard has split bluetooth, concave finger Area and match with pro stand for no travelling and two-hand work style. Hard to find some similar functions like that, therefore some fans love it very much!
Ergodox EZ is wired, flat, and easy to find some similar functions keyboard for it.

I can't argue that it's concave and there aren't many of those, though that since you can get a built-to-order Dactyl/Manuform for 257, I still maintain my point that the price is too high. Yes, those aren't bluetooth, but regarding portability and weight, I'm personally not sure that (as Jamster mentions) many people are looking for one to travel with. From experience, taking split beyboards to and from work ended up being so annoying that I just bought a second one for home. Regardless of weight, their shape makes them awkward to stick in a bag compared to a standard shaped board.

I show you one example.
EarPods - Wired - 29 vs Airpod Pro - Split Bluetooth -250

I'd call this a false equivalence, firstly you've got Wired vs Top-Tier Wireless - Apple's entry level Airpods are only 150, not 250. That's besides the point though, because I've purchased AirPod alternatives for 30 that have BT5 LE and wireless charging - it's never fair to equate things to Apple pricing. So I'd contest that adding Bluetooth does not in fact raise the cost by 200, nowhere near that. It looks like you're using something similar to an Adafruit Feather for the controller, which adds maybe 20 to the cost compared to standard pro-micros. Then you've got a battery as well, but those aren't all that expensive. I figure an extra 50 over the parts price of a non-BT keyboard.

And more examples.
MALTRON - Wired, concave finger Area - 435
Keymouse - 3D printed case, Split Bluetooth, Flat, with mouse - USD 599-725

I'd contest that this is also false equivalence, what you're showing here. You can't really compare to Maltron because A) their keyboard are battleship sized slabs with far more buttons and B) they don't actually make split keyboards - you'd be looking at 295 though, not 435, for one of their single-hand keyboards, designed to be used with just one hand, if buying new.

I will grant you that the KeyMouse IS more expensive, you're looking at about 500 for their midrange. That's only 34 more expensive than your board though, has more keys, and has a trackball built in to each hand, which makes them significantly more complex. They also use an RF connection between the two halves so that they stay synced. I can't see that you've mentioned anywhere how yours will talk to each other?


I could be wrong, but BT split concave cases seem to be very rare. A significant premium for BT doesn't seem unreasonable.

You're right, they're pretty rare, I would argue against BT adding a significant premium though. You're looking at a BT compatible SOC for the controller and a battery, if you take that into account for both sides of the keyboard, I don't see it justifying that much of a price premium, if I'm honest.

The design with the rests for other devices is definitely very cool.

I agree with this, at least, that is quite cool, though I'm not sure how practical I'd find it on the day-to-day.


« Last Edit: Thu, 06 August 2020, 04:27:51 by -Jerry- »
     
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Offline vexchow

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Re: My new design keyboard
« Reply #5 on: Thu, 06 August 2020, 15:37:17 »
I could be wrong, but BT split concave cases seem to be very rare. A significant premium for BT doesn't seem unreasonable.

I believe wireless devices is the future.
And all the final version products will become wireless.
So, I designed Designer Keyboard, split bluetooth and concave case.

Some people know the cost of split bluetooth and concave are expensive.
That's why they said the pre-order price is cheap.

More to the point though is whether there is demand for wireless in this already sub, sub niche of the keyboard market. BT seems to be a popular thing that people keep asking for in the mech board market,
but when I started a thread several months ago asking whether people really use their small keyboards in a portable fashion, only one person mentioned that they really required portability. The rest of the respondents were firmly deskbound to one location. This led me to conclude that people clamouring for Bluetooth are more interested in aesthetics than really needing the functionality to carry around and use with phones or tablets, so paying an extra $150 or so might not make sense for many prospective buyers.

Alright, Bluetooth is not only good for travel.
For example, Designer Keyboard can connect to most bluetooth products, such as iphone, ipad, mac, E-ink-reader and TV.
And easy switching to connected devices.
Wired devices make your desk messy, bluetooth keep a neat desk.

The split design keeps wrists at a neutral angle.
Also creates a golden space for your notebook, document and coffee ... etc.

You see, split bluetooth is powerful!

The design with the rests for other devices is definitely very cool.

Thanks, haha :thumb:

Offline vexchow

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Re: My new design keyboard
« Reply #6 on: Thu, 06 August 2020, 16:02:46 »
Hi Jerry,

I know your points are reasonable but sorry I don't reply to it one by one.
I try to make it simple, so I made a table for comparing split ergo keyboards on the market.



I try to make a beautiful, powerful, comfortable... and off course good price keyboard for user.
I hope you love it.

If you don't, I will keep work hard and improve my design.
Maybe one day you will love it. :thumb:

Offline -Jerry-

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Re: My new design keyboard
« Reply #7 on: Thu, 06 August 2020, 16:44:08 »
Yes, I noticed that on your web page, though I can't seem to find it now, so thank you for providing it.

I notice that some of the things you've put there are extremely subjective and are definitely what I'd call marketing speak .

'Beautiful Form Design' - I find particularly weird, I'd say that the the Keyboardio has a particularly beautiful wooden form and the Ergogox Ez is pretty nice on the eyes. Why the X for them?

Thin Edge Slim - Compared to what? The Keymouse has almost no edge and the Ergogox's wrist wrest is the same rough shape as yours. Why the X for them?

Pro Stand For Other Devices - Sure, but this is a unique feature, so it's not really a fair thing to put on a comparison. Also, according to your website, those are 'optional' so I assume they cost extra and therefore shouldn't be included as part of a price comparison.

Two-Handed Work Style - This seems pretty unspecific. I'm using a two handed work style typing on a 60% board right now, in fact I almost always use two hands. Are the Ergodox or Keyboardio Model 01 not two handed? Maybe you mean that you don't ever have to take your hands off? Well then the Keymouse is definitely two-handed in that case. Also, since you have to buy your pro stand AND provide your own mouse or trackpad, you can't really offer that as a selling point in a price/feature comparison.

Switching To Connected Devices - You don't really expand on this, so I assume you mean that the BT chip can store five different device profiles? Fair enough, that's a good feature. There's not really any reason the Keymouse can't be connected to from any device though.

I'd argue that you also highlight unique features about your board, while not indicating anything that those boards have that yours doesn't. Things like LEDs might not be important to you, but the Model 01 and the Ergodox Ez both feature those and that is arguably a part of their value. In fact, if you're not putting that on the chart, the Ergodox Ez should be $325, not $354. For that price, the Ergodox also has adjustable tenting, rather than a fixed angle, so that's worth mentioning, I feel.

I'm not in any way criticising the design of you board, I think you've done great work designing it, have come up with a great website, and are clearly good at marketing it. I just feel that it's important to be transparent about things and not go too heavy on those kinds of comparisons that aren't entirely fair or honest, in my opinion. Tables like that, skewed in a positive fashion towards your product without highlighting any positives of any of the others may be good marketing, but it doesn't seem very classy.

Edit: Also, just because I'm still curious, you didn't answer how the two halves communicate with each other, can you explain?
« Last Edit: Thu, 06 August 2020, 16:46:03 by -Jerry- »
     
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Offline Maledicted

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Re: My new design keyboard
« Reply #8 on: Thu, 06 August 2020, 20:23:25 »
I believe wireless devices is the future.

And I do not. If anything would be for me, it would be RF, since I can just plug in a dongle and go. Even then I need to worry about recharging some battery that will eventually fail and need replacing, which may be some kind of proprietary unobtainium pack of cells you may end up having to try to desolder yourself and rebuild. Bluetooth pairing is a hassle, switching between devices once paired is really the only significant benefit if you ask me.

Logitech's unifying receivers are probably my favorite for wireless peripherals, since you can mix and match whatever you like, configure once, and swap to whatever computers you like from there so long as you keep the dongle with those same peripherals.

At the end of the day, I will always prefer just plugging in a cable and using the board they way it is for 10+ years.

This reminds me of the people who said smartphones would replace computers, touchscreens would replace traditional peripherals, etc. There were even people who said that laser-projected keyboards would replace physical ones. Some things are just already better the way that they are.

Also, bluetooth communication was already a cheap feature of just about anything 10+ years ago. If it isn't, it is just markup. Supply and demand may justify that to some, not to me.

Just an outsider's opinion. I don't even care about ergo boards. The board looks cool. I wish you luck.  :thumb:

Offline Polymer

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Re: My new design keyboard
« Reply #9 on: Thu, 06 August 2020, 20:51:14 »
I like the design...I think you're filling in a niche where a few people would really like something like this...

But it is expensive...I'm sure there are some things that make it expensive but it'll be tough for people to risk it unless they know it'll work out for them..and that's a big unknown. 

So you take an unknown company making what looks like a cool keyboard but no way of knowing if you'll really like it (and if you're selling it that means no).   And when someone said it was a 3D printed case it was like meh...

But I do hope this works out for you...this is one of those things I'd love to try out and if it worked out I'd definitely be interested in buying one.....

Offline jamster

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Re: My new design keyboard
« Reply #10 on: Thu, 06 August 2020, 22:41:12 »
I could be wrong, but BT split concave cases seem to be very rare. A significant premium for BT doesn't seem unreasonable.

I believe wireless devices is the future.
And all the final version products will become wireless.
So, I designed Designer Keyboard, split bluetooth and concave case.

Some people know the cost of split bluetooth and concave are expensive.
That's why they said the pre-order price is cheap.

Personally, I want wired. I've been in IT for a fairly long time, and one of the things I have learnt is that for anything really important that needs to last for years, I want the option of a physical cable. My newest laptop purchase was based specifically round this, my keyboards are all wired, my mouse is wireless but has a wired mode (and it's a mouse, it's disposable anyway).

But that's just me, I am definitely old fashioned :)

Thing is though, I don't think that other people really want Bluetooth either. I think it's something that people talk about wanting, but when it's time for the wallet to come out, very few are really prepared to pay extra for it. Most people who want Bluetooth want it at very little incremental cost- when I look around, it's a function built into the cheaper range of keyboards aimed at the younger and more fashion conscious crowd. Anne, Keychron, Varmillo. Good keyboards, sure, but all are sold to a more constrained budget. Look at the people paying 200+ for a Realforce or some whacky custom, and things default back to wired. I guess there's a BT HHKB, that's the only one that occurs to me.

From what I've been able to gather when looking into the weird ergo boards when researching the Dactyl, is that these boards are most likely to appeal to seriously geeky obsessives who code a lot, which means they're generally deskbound and require a fair bit of screen real estate (i.e. not smartphones or tablets).

Anyway, I definitely admire the product you've created. I think it's a very niche product, but it's a good one that is practically unique.

Offline squizzler

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Re: My new design keyboard
« Reply #11 on: Fri, 07 August 2020, 15:59:01 »
Thank you for sharing your creation! The overall concept appeals a bit to me since I must confess a soft spot for the Maltron, which was the originator of such styles and which your design appears to follow quite closely. I must also concur for a product of this complexity (presumably hand wired switches, etc) the quoted price does not seem outrageous. All round a solid looking design. That said, I just can't help but feel that there is something missing from the current proposal that would make it compelling for those after a fancy ergonomic board. At the risk of sounding harsh, the name 'designer keyboard' perhaps sets very high expectations and, whilst not unpleasant, the appearance does not excite me, and I am somebody who likes ergonomic boards. The plain black of the prototype may not be doing it many favours, maybe something could be done with materials and lighting whilst keeping the same design?

The 'pro stands' are an interesting concept but not something that I would commit to online: I am not sure without trying if the position and angle of the trackpad, for instance, would be practical.

Since there are few people bringing forward 'Maltron style' 3D designs I have in the past had a number of thoughts which I would like to see in such a keyboard but might not be relevant to your own vision:
  • Firstly, I there might be the opportunity to do something with the thumb cluster unlike the 'grid' of the Maltron, Kinesis and Dactyl. I would mimic the Keyboardio 'arc'. I also wonder if the Keyboardio palm button should be adopted. I am considering the Keyboardio as my next 'board as I think these aspects of the design are compelling, although my immediate aspiration is for the atreus (for firmware reasons mentioned later).
  • Because it is a 3D design, portability will be its achilles heel, and will go right out the window if customers trick it out with 'pro stand' accessories. I would be tempted to go with a single piece design like Maltron rather than a two piece design. I am currently using a two piece ergonomic and am not convinced it offers benefits over one piece designs, even for portability. In practice I don't separate them so far, certainly not enough to have documents plus both trackpad and 3D mouse in-between. Your aspiration for light weight also invites the likelihood that they would slide about the desk
  • Instead I would look at a 'chassis' onto which mount the keyboard sections, palm rests and feet. Perhaps this 'chassis' might be a simple length of metal tube like a bicycle handlebar on which the brake, gear shifters and grips clamp. In a bicycle setup this method is both robust and allows for easy adjustment to rider position. The individual 'bowls' could be thinner if they are clamped thus rather than with a flat base to rest on the table. Further clamp-on supports for trackpad, 3D mouse or document clipboards could be provided.
  • Firmware. One of the reasons I am thinking of the Keyboardio is that the firmware appears to facilitate options I am struggling to implement in QMK (shapeshifter, a more logical system to establish combos). Would that firmware (Kaleidoscope, also open source) be an option? It would certainly separate the project from the hoi-polloi of QMK based boards.
  • I agree with others that USB (type-c port - excellent!) is more desirable than wireless.
I wish you luck progressing your design, and hope you share future progress with this forum!
« Last Edit: Fri, 07 August 2020, 16:28:36 by squizzler »
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