If you don't know what a Thinkpad Keyboard is, please see here: http://www.lenovoblogs.com/designmatters/2008/12/thinkpad-external-keyboard-survey-just-your-type/Overview
In this post I present my thoughts about the Thinkpad Keyboard. I also introduce the Concept 3 and Concept 4, which are dream keyboards
, which only exist in my imagination
, and some image editing I did based on these thoughts. They are basically the Thinkpad Keyboard but aiming a minimalist layout and aiming maximum efficiency whilst typing. I would love to have one of these imaginary beauties. Maybe someday Lenovo decides to make them? Background
Let's talk about what the major differences are between the old Thinkpad Keyboard the the current model.
The old Thinkpad Keyboard had a numpad, as you can see in the link above. Most people do not use the numpad at all. It's absolutely useless, just a waste of space. If you really needs a numpad, you can connect an external device via USB directly to your computer or better yet to the Thinkpad Keyboard (if it had an integrated USB hub). So... numpad? Remove it!
The old model had a mousepad. Well... if you already have a trackpoint and 2 buttons next to the spacebar... why on Earth you need a mousepad with 2 additional (read: redundant!) buttons? So, mousepad? Remove it!
Lenovo already did these cuts.Introducing Thinkpad Keyboard Concept 3
Let's now propose more cuts.
Why you need a keyboard which fits a laptop 15" screen? In particular, why those void centimeters near the space bar? Just to rest your hands? It does not sound a very strong argument because, the same way as a numpad, if you really need a palm rest, you will be able to put whatever better fits your preferences in front of the keyboard, when and only when it is really needed.
That's it. Cut the unneeded/useless/undesirable palm rest and you have the Concept 3 thing.Introducing Thinkpad Keyboard Concept 4
The Thinkpad Keyboard Concept 4 is product of several weeks looking for a perfect keyboard which rewards portability, compact size and efficiency whilst typing. Given the affordable price of a Thinkpad Keyboard and aiming on these aspects, the Thinkpad Keyboard Concept 4 offers easy access to keys and functionalities you need all the time whilst it gets rid of everything you rarely need.
I've been collecting ideas and evaluating every professional / semi-professional keyboard for weeks, trying to find the perfect one. The Thinkpad Keyboard Concept 4 condenses this research.
If this thread gains enough interest, I can comment later what the design decisions are.
Here I present only a summary:Layout
1. Get rid of function keys;
2. Get rid of numpad key assignments using Fn key;
3. Get rid of multimedia keys, buttons and assignments using Fn key;
4. Inverted T (arrows on right bottom) are used all the time and should be normal sized keys;
5. Harmonize size of important keys like shift and control. Left Win key must be a normal sized key.
6. Add another Fn key on the right hand.
7. What about Caps Lock and Appl? You don't need them. Remove!
8. Backspace where Caps Lock was, as proposed by Colemak
9. Move highly used arrows and cursor positioning keys very close to strong fingers, next to the home row.
10. Fn+Space as an additional another BackspaceHardware
11. USB hub so that you can connect an external numpad, mouse, tablet or more sophisticated input device;
12. Programmable keyboard: I would love to have it natively running QGMLWY
instead of the horrible QWERTY.Languages
13. There's still room for more function keys. Japanese and Chinese typists, among others, would benefit.Design
14. User could choose colors