Welcome to the New Year! Our team has finished up CES 2017 and are back with a new update regarding our current Das Keyboard 5Q progress. In this update, we’ll be going over:
- Das Keyboard 5Q progress
- Issues & challenges
- New shipping schedule
- Das Keyboard 5Q in Las Vegas for CES 2017
- NEW: IFTTT + Q App Integration
Das Keyboard 5Q Progress: Where is the 5Q at right now?
We are currently working hard on ensuring only the best quality for the Das Keyboard 5Q and are not accepting anything less. We have experienced a few bumps in the road and are working through each of them as they arise. Correspondingly, however, we are ultimately experiencing delays on both the product and software side of the 5Q.
Right now, we are in the middle of our second engineering build and hope to have these units in hand for testing later next week. We plan to have testing completed and are well on our way to Pilot production sometime in February. The software is also coming along and we should see the first version sometime in March.
Issues & Challenges: Why is the 5Q delayed?
When developing products, the first 90% is usually easy and the last 10% can be agonizingly hard. Of course it’s the last 10% that makes the difference in the end product. The 5Q has been no exception and in Mid-December once we had hardware, we came across several issues that set us back schedule wise.
First was the not-so-great light distribution on the slide lights and Q knob surround. We showed you the poor light distribution in the last update. After trying various approaches to improve the uniformity of the light, we settled on adding more LEDs to fill in the gaps.
Second issue was a squealing capacitor…. Not good on the ears! Occasionally the switching frequency of the signals, the geometry and mounting of the component can result in an oscillation that lands square in our hearing frequency range. Well, we had all the conditions right to create a not-so-nice shrill coming out the center of the keyboard…. This required further circuit changes to eliminate this problem.
So back to schematics and PCB layout. It was not our plan to make hardware revisions at this stage of the program, but we had no choice. It has cost us time in the schedule, but as we prepare this update, new boards are off the SMT line and being built into full 5Qs for the remaining design verification testing.
On another front, our keycap manufacturer has been struggling with injection plastic shrink rates on the keycaps. They have solved the problems for the primary double-injected keycaps, but we had to make the tough decision to release a new tool for all the other laser etched and clear black keycaps. These keycaps tools have a ton of detail and take a good 8 weeks to fabricate. We’re well on our way on the 8 week cycle and will have first shots in early March, but getting the last 10% of perfection on these keycaps is going to consume another 4-6 weeks.
We wish we had better news overall but we know these changes are required to produce the kind of quality Das Keyboard wants to deliver to our customers.
New Shipping Schedule: When can we expect the 5Q?
Our shipping schedule has been affected by the above issues and is still subject to the remaining development activities going smoothly. As a result, the Das Keyboard 5Q is currently projected to start shipping to all backers in batches during early Q2 around April and May.
Early hand-built units without complete software connection should still be ready to shipped late January or early February to the Exclusive Innovators.
Das Keyboard 5Q in Las Vegas for CES 2017
Our team was recently in Las Vegas for CES 2017 and Digital Experience (press event) during the first week of January. We brought 3 of our Das Keyboard 5Q engineering models to demo at the show. These keyboards were functional but only to the extent of our demo purposes. There were still some issues with the compatibility of the keyboard with our software, so our demos were fairly simple.
It was a crazy week and we’re glad to say that it went very well and that it’s finally over. We even survived the post-show flu that followed.
Several media stopped by to check out our 5Q. Here are some of these links below:
- Engadget: The Das Keyboard 5Q brought notifications to my fingertips.
- PCWorld: You can program Das Keyboard’s super-smart 5Q keyboard to tell you when Trump is tweeting.
- The Verge: The Das Keyboard 5Q doubles as a light-up notification board
Now for your viewing pleasure, here are the exclusive pictures we took during the show:
NEW: IFTTT + Q App Integration
We are excited to announce that as of yesterday, IFTTT and Das Keyboard’s Q application are now live and integrated. You may visit our IFTTT page here: https://ifttt.com/daskeyboardq
We have invited Early Access backers to join us in creating new signals for the 5Q keyboard, so look out for many new signals to come.
As a summary, we are working hard to complete the 5Q keyboard. We did not anticipate these delays, but we are diligently dealing with the challenges and overcoming them one by one. The response from the media and the CES visitors has been outstanding and reinforces the fact that people love our our products and expect only the highest quality from Das Keyboard.
– Julie + Das Keyboard Team