Things are rolling along and we have some progress pictures! Let’s dive into it.
Shipped Rewards for Exclusive Innovators & Swag Backers
As we mentioned in our last update, we have shipped some rewards to the Exclusive Innovators and the Swag Backers. Here are some pictures of the packages that we sent out this month.
5Q Early Handbuilt Unit for Exclusive Innovators:
This is how the 5Q Early Handbuilt Unit sits inside the package. Of course, we added a sleeve to protect the keyboard and a panel to hold the palmrest. This is early prototype packaging, not the production box. The final production box will look much nicer.
Swag Package for Swag Reward Backers:
All packages should have been delivered by now and we’re excited to receive feedback from some of the Exclusive Innovators.
5Q Hardware Progress
Almost all of the parts that required tooling modification have been sampled and completed. Below is the palm-rest silicon insert.
The top half of this part had to be retooled because of shrinkage that occurs when the coatings required to make the silicon feel smooth are heat cured. When the part was heated, we lost definition in part features and dimensions and we couldn’t process this out, so we re-tooled. New parts are looking good!
Two remaining items are the current focus prior to pilot – First, FCC compliance for radiated emissions – we have some frequencies that are at or too close to the limit and we’ve had to go back into the PCB and introduce some guard banding for the high frequency signals and add a few other contingency components to deal with any potentially “hot” signals. The challenge with EMC issues is that the fixes are not guaranteed to fully address the problems and may require another PCB cycle. A PCB cycle is about 4 weeks in design, fabrication, and build. We’re pretty hopeful that the latest PCB will be our last, but it’s simply too hard say that will be the case for certain.
The second issue is the user experience associated with the Q knob. We’re simply not happy with the Q knob encoder; feel, sound, and look. We’ve tried a range of adjustments to avoid major changes at this stage in the project, but they simply have not panned out. So we have a small redesign ongoing in this one area of the product. We’re in the home stretch with 98% complete on the HW side of the product. Most everything else is looking very good and ready for production.
Q Software Progress
The Das Keyboard software team is hard at work connecting all the different moving parts of the 5Q software. We are working on performance improvement and functionality completion.
The upcoming Q desktop beta 2 and Q Android beta 2 will be released early May to all the Early Access backers. This release will bring:
- A Windows service: ability to communicate with the physical keyboard
- Ability to automatically switch on an RGB profile based on the running application
- Windows installer
- Ability to show when a software update is available
- Compatibility with the updated Signal API
Features on deck:
- Support of different layouts (German, French, etc…)
- Ability to load RGB profiles from the market place
- Ability to publish RGB profiles to the market place
- Mac installer
- Linux installer Multi (RGB) zone signals
Based upon the current hardware and software progress, we estimate the first batch of 5Q keyboards to be ready to send to backers starting in July. This is a tentative date and it may change based on various factors like the remaining work indicated above. Next week we’ll be completing a product build to verify regulatory compliance (FCC and CE). If all is well with that mandatory testing then we will proceed to a pilot build in late May and a production start date in early July. We as eager as everyone to get this board shipping and into your hands.
Have a great day!
Julie + Das Keyboard