Forgot your password?
typodupeerror
Portables Hardware

Asus Reveals the Eee Keyboard 312

Posted by timothy
from the want-it-already dept.
El Lobo writes "Asus' success with its Eee line of netbooks might have come as a surprise, but the company is now determined to expand the Eee brand into every possible niche and form factor. Case in point: the insanely cool Eee Keyboard, which will surely bring a smile on the faces of those who remember the glory days of the home computer. Described as a fully functional PC with inset Qwerty key arrangement, the keyboard has a 5in touch screen that displays a suite of bespoke media controls or a Windows desktop."
This discussion has been archived. No new comments can be posted.

Asus Reveals the Eee Keyboard

Comments Filter:
  • by Naatach (574111) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:43PM (#26375801)
    Ahh. Atari 600, I pine for thee.
    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by 3chuck3 (512455)

      OMFG!!!!!!! ASUS REMADE A VIC-20!!!!!!!! OMG!!!!!PONIES!?!!!!

    • Re:Fond memories (Score:4, Informative)

      by PalmKiller (174161) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:26PM (#26376467) Homepage
      I don't remember a straight 600 model, just 400 and 800 in the non XL/XE models. I had a 600XL (which I upgraded the ram in) then a 130XE (and someone gave me a defunct 800XL and several working peripherals), when I start missing them I go find an emulator and play awhile until the urge passes.
      • He may have been thinking of the Atari with the chiclet keyboard. The 400. Yuck. That's what this eee PC reminds me of, and probably just as unfriendly to type on.

        >>>"Plug in a small box at the back of your TV, and connect to it wirelessly"

        This is what I want for my PC. Eliminate the need for a special monitor, same as my Commodore 64 and other gaming consoles.

  • Next up. (Score:2, Flamebait)

    by AltGrendel (175092)
    A wireless 3D mouse.

    Oh wait, that's been done. [slashdot.org]

  • cool (Score:5, Insightful)

    by grumpyman (849537) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:46PM (#26375845)
    This is comparable to a mini pc tucked under the TV with a wireless keyboard and/or a harmony control. The battery life and software UI on the touchpad will be critical to the success of this product.
    • Bam! Power Supply (Score:5, Insightful)

      by KalvinB (205500) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @05:03PM (#26377059) Homepage

      problem solved.

      Seriously unless you plan on using this thing on the go there's no reason to rely on a battery. And it's not much of a system for on the go computing.

      The only reason I don't like laptops is because if the screen goes out you're screwed. My wife's laptop is perfectly functional minus the screen. Fortunatly it has a TV out so it's used to watch Netflix on the TV. This keyboard PC is something that for the right price may be worth getting to replace the old and busted laptop to serve that purpose and be useful for other things as well.

      I don't really want to pay $99 for a dedicated Netflix box but if it could be used as a regular PC as well then that's more reasonable.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by hey! (33014)

        Well, I have a few laptops like that where I've removed the LCD. Bingo: keyboard computer. I mainly use them as printer servers and the like; you just lug a small LCD panel over when you need a screen, or use VNC.

        In any case, if it's the backlight gone, chances are its the inverter board. This provides voltage to the LCD panel, but usually sits at the top edge of the keyboard part. Its usually integrated on a small board about the size of an old fashioned memory SIMM that usually has a few model spe

    • This is comparable to a mini pc tucked under the TV with a wireless keyboard and/or a harmony control. The battery life and software UI on the touchpad will be critical to the success of this product.

      My thoughts exactly.

      Though I do like the idea of separating the control UI display from the media display. Somehow, "on screen" just looks clunky to me in a media room. With the control having an independent display, and being an independent computer in it's own right (I've often thought of using a laptop,

  • 5" screen? (Score:5, Funny)

    by Tired and Emotional (750842) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:47PM (#26375875)
    I am glad I kept my Osborne 1 disks - I can now run those programs in full screen mode under cpem80.
  • by fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:47PM (#26375879) Journal
    Kind of like the EEE itself, actually. You've been able to get computers built into keyboards from specialist suppliers for ages now(not to mention the pantheon of fondly-remembered early systems in the form factor) but they aren't inexpensive and tend toward slightly dull, legacy heavy designs, which is appropriate given the usual customers for such things; but not really exciting.

    This little guy, if it ever makes it to market, should be great fun to play around with(particularly if the secondary screen widget is reasonably open to hackers and third party devs). Good looking, probably fairly cheap, no doubt fairly basic specs; but enough for many purposes. I like it.
    • by mollymoo (202721) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:32PM (#26376543) Journal

      It doesn't look like much use as a laptop due to the tiny screen in an awkward place and lack of cover for the keyboard. A three hour battery life means it's not much use as a wireless keyboard. I suppose as a desktop PC it would be OK, but then why have the tiny additional screen and battery? They just make it larger and more expensive than it needs to be. Ditch the screen and battery and it might make for a cheap, compact desktop PC, but as it is I just don't see the point. On the other hand there are plenty of things I don't see the point of that are hugely popular, so what do I know?

      • but then why have the tiny additional screen and battery?

        The additional screen could have similar uses as the GBA screens in some GameCube games (e.g. Final Fantasy Crystal Chronicles and The Legend of Zelda: Four Swords Adventures) or the touch screen on a DS. The battery is just a built-in UPS.

  • by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:49PM (#26375891) Homepage Journal

    Humm. Now they need to add a USB hard drive that also has a USB Hub in it so that I can add a second USB hard drive and the a printer :)

    • by sexconker (1179573) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:54PM (#26375979)

      Yo dawg we heard you like usb hard drives so we put a usb port on your usb hard drive so you can use a usb hard drive on your usb hard drive.

      • Re:It is the new 64. (Score:5, Informative)

        by LWATCDR (28044) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:59PM (#26376047) Homepage Journal

        You never used a C64 with a 1541 drive did you?
        The old C64 used a serial version of the IEE-488 bus to connect drives and printers. It allowed dasy chaining of one drive to another and usually ended with a printer if you had one.

        • by mmkkbb (816035)

          At least some of the Apple IIs could do this too, with disks at least.

          • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

            by v1 (525388)

            The apple disc controller was for discs only. My //c had an internal 5.25, and an external 5.25, and chained through that was an external 3.5". (800k) It had a chain-through as well and I could have added another I think.

          • by LWATCDR (28044)

            So could the Atari. It was pretty common back then. It would be so tempting to put Linux and C128 emulator on one of these :)

        • WHOOOOOOOOOOOOSH!

        • by mzs (595629)

          There was also an edge style connector out the back that was used as a parallel port for the printer we had. I seem to recall that was the faster option.

    • by qoncept (599709)
      http://www.newertech.com/products/ministackv2_5.php [newertech.com]

      Unfortunately it matches the wrong tiny computer.
  • by argent (18001) <peter@NOspam.slashdot.2006.taronga.com> on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:49PM (#26375893) Homepage Journal

    Everyone's channeling Steve Jobs' these days.

    The computer packs the usual Intel Atom internals, and puts them in a thin metal case with a built-in keyboard with Apple-style individually inset keys...

    So now you have a lousy keyboard you can't replace with a decent one. It's bad enough on my laptop, but at least there's an excuse for lowering the form factor of the keys way too far... here, there's simply no logical reason for it other than style.

    Yep, it's Apple style all right. If it doesn't come with OS X, why put up with the abuse?

    • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

      by Amouth (879122)

      actualy there is a logical reason other thanstyle for a product like this.. given it's size and the goal of being light weight.. by spacing the keys out and allowing the upper frame to be solid accross the mid secion of the device allows the surface to he structural - there for allowing the bottom of it to be thiner and allowing the whole device to be thinner as you don't have to make room under the keyboard for support and you don't need heavy materials around the edges for support - caluse as soon as it f

      • by argent (18001) <peter@NOspam.slashdot.2006.taronga.com> on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:08PM (#26376205) Homepage Journal

        Ever use a really good keyboard, one with microswitch keys? The frame the keys are set in is totally solid. You can't make them all that thin, but this thing has even less reason for thinness than a laptop. The only reason to make it thin is style, and compromising ergonomics for style is exactly the problem I'm talking about.

        • by Amouth (879122)

          i agree.. but if the released this - and it was the size and weight of a c64 they would only sell a handfull where as going thin and lite they will sell alot more - its a function of trying to make something that fills the void they are wanting to fill.. if being small and lite is what they need then they will do it that way.. i was just noting that using the "apple" style keyboard can be explained in a way to make it sturdy not just to look stylish.

          • by argent (18001)

            Indeed. They're making a product to sell to people who value style over everything, so of course it's going to ignore everything but style. I understand why channeling Jobs is profitable, I just don't give a damn for the products that result.

            And it's not the details of the design. Apple's laptop keyboards without that *specific* design were just as painful, even if they were fractionally thicker.

            There are thin keyboards that are far superior. They (and Apple) need to get some IBM Thinkpad DNA in their produ

    • by sketerpot (454020)
      Your keyboard milage may vary. Personally, I have trouble using any other kind of keyboard these days. It's just easier on the hands.
    • by pavon (30274)

      So now you have a lousy keyboard you can't replace with a decent one.

      Sure you can, it has USB ports. Cue the dueling typists. Heck, the built-in keyboard is probably a USB device internally so you could take it apart and have some nice form-factor circuit boards to build a Model-M computer if you wanted. I know you do :)

      Seriously though, at least this makes more sense to me than the current iMac. I don't mind throwing out a keyboard when I need to get a new computer, but throwing out a monitor is ridiculous. And while I don't love the chicklet keyboard, if the touchpad works

  • by Gary (9413) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:52PM (#26375945)

    "...much like many home computers from the days Back To The Future was cool".

    Oh geez! I missed the memo. Back to the Future isn't cool any more? Man I'm getting old!

  • Eee Keyboard (Score:5, Interesting)

    by clinko (232501) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:53PM (#26375953) Homepage Journal

    Anyone else read the headline and think

    "Finally, a new/good keyboard for the EEE netbook."

    • by travdaddy (527149) <travo&linuxmail,org> on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:03PM (#26376103)
      No I thought, "I understand QWERTY and even DVORAK keyboards, but why the hell would anyone want three E keys?"
      • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

        by bentcd (690786)

        No I thought, "I understand QWERTY and even DVORAK keyboards, but why the hell would anyone want three E keys?"

        Obviously you need e, E and €.

      • by Endo13 (1000782) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:44PM (#26376721)

        Because E is the most used letter in the English alphabet!! Duh!!

      • by Chris Burke (6130)

        No I thought, "I understand QWERTY and even DVORAK keyboards, but why the hell would anyone want three E keys?"

        Don't be silly, it's not three 'E' keys, that's just the name.

        It's got 101 'E' keys!

        I guess it's for some species of monkeys.

    • I did. I'm now contemplating a wireless eee cluster. Imagine, a beowulf cluster of tiny computers interconnected via bluetooth or 802.11. I'll get an eeePC, an eeeKeyboard, an eeeMouse, an eeeMonitor, maybe even an eeePrinter, and for the hour of battery life that I get out of them, I'll have a mobile cloud with the processing power of a 4-core workstation powered by Atom! Well, the Intel Atom, not U-238. But still, that's pretty cool!

  • The first computer that come to my mind seeing that photos was the ZX Spectrum, the keys are similar, and the concept (minus the actual machine specs, power source and the side touchscreen) are somewhat similar too. Too bad no movie (that i remember, at least) used that kind of computers with some cosmetics to represent the computers of the future... could had a major hit in accuracy.
  • What would be really cool is to have the small screen show you an alternate display, so you could watch one video feed and keep an eye on another... or just alternate controls.

    Cool idea, I'm going to look at getting one of those myself.

  • by serviscope_minor (664417) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:56PM (#26376003) Journal

    I already own a computer of a similar form factor. It's kitted out with a state of the art CMOS 6502 processor running at 2 MHz and a unified graphics architecture with 32K of main memory and 32K of PROM based storeage (UV erasable in about 20 minutes or so). Not only that, but it has every expansion port you might expect: parallel, TTL, composite and UHF video, RS-423, analogue, the CPU bus (just for good measure), econet (TM) networking and the innovative Tube(r) interface. Not only that but it also comes with builtin support for both audio tape and *double sided* 5.25 inch floppy disks.

    Programs are available for download every night, for free, over the air with a compatible teletext input interface.

    Frankly, there's no contest.

    Funny anecdote: I remember reading a news story about a burglary at a school which had recently upgraded to the new, shiny Archimedes, replacing their old BBCs. The theives broke in and stole all the keyboards, not realising that the computer was now in a separate box.

  • by Arthur Grumbine (1086397) * on Thursday January 08, 2009 @03:58PM (#26376021) Journal
    I can only imagine the confusion this will bring to non-Asus tech support around the world:
    Tech: How can I help you today, ma'am?
    Little Old Lady: Well, I haven't been able to print my letter using the printer I purchased from you, although I can print other documents just fine. I turned my keyboard off and then back on, just like my son taught me...
    Tech: You mean your computer, ma'am? You turned your computer off and then back on?
    Little Old Lady: Isn't that what I said?! Well, anyways, I'm looking but I can't seem to find my letter, now.
    Tech: Ma'am can you please describe what the screen looks like?
    Little Old Lady: Which one? There's a copy of the letter that I haven't been able to print on the keyboard right now. And there's just a blank document open on the monitor.
    Tech: There's a copy on the keyboard but you haven't been able to print it?!! How did it get onto the keyboard, ma'am?
    etc...
  • The modifier keys (esp. ctrl) were in the right places!

  • nice! (Score:5, Funny)

    by gEvil (beta) (945888) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:04PM (#26376117)
    It's got USB ports, so you can easily add a second keyboard for some marathon sessions of two-player Notepad!
  • http://www.obsoletecomputermuseum.org/compaq/ [obsoleteco...museum.org]

    Looks like the screen is about the same size...

  • I sometimes hit the keyboard hard when I have to track down nasty bugs in my Awk code. This would escalate my rage into a costly problem.
  • 80's flashback.

  • by Bloater (12932)

    I've still got my spectrum... Will this thing support my kempston joystick?

  • Ok, it looks hella cool, and as someone who owned a Tandy CoCo and a Commodore 64 the retro factor is good fun. But what is it for?

    Is it intended as a glorious remote control? If so what the heck are we paying a Windows license fee for? Is it a computer? Then what are we paying for wireless hdmi for again? With that dinky screen or a TV across the room general purpose computing will be hard. A media center? Doing video decode on an Atom will be pain, literally as the damned thing will burn yer nuts.

    • by Knara (9377)
      The specs here [slashdot.org] suggest to me that it may very well be quite hackable. Not a powerhouse, but fun.
    • by westlake (615356)
      Is it intended as a glorious remote control? If so what the heck are we paying a Windows license fee for? Is it a computer? Then what are we paying for wireless hdmi for again? With that dinky screen or a TV across the room general purpose computing will be hard.

      The display across the room is a 1080p HDTV with a 40" - 75" screen.

      The audio is 5.1 surround at 50 - 150 watts per channel.

      The keyboard-PC can't store much of anything, but you can shop Amazon.com. do the IM video chat thing, stream radio from L

      • by jmorris42 (1458) *

        > The display across the room is a 1080p HDTV with a 40" - 75" screen.

        Yea and if you generate much 1080p video on that little thing you won't have nuts. And you still will have problems reading text from across the room, even with a 75" screen.

        > The keyboard-PC can't store much of anything, but you can shop Amazon.com. do the IM video chat thing,
        > stream radio from Live365 or Netflix video, and embarass your kids with the baby photos you slip into
        > your homemade USB slide-shows. just as grandad

  • Memories (Score:5, Funny)

    by MBGMorden (803437) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:22PM (#26376387)

    This brings up fond memories of back when the keyboard WAS the computer. I remember being a REALLY young kid (probably 7 or 8), and seeing a regular IBM/PC keyboard in the store for $35. Since the only computers I'd ever seen back then were Commodores, TI-99/4a's, Apple's, and Tandys, I perceived this as a great deal since I thought that that keyboard was a whole computer. I remember begging my mom to buy it for me since I wanted a computer so bad and it was only $35. Thankfully, she didn't get it. Man I'd have been disappointed if I'd have gotten that thing home and tried to connect it to a TV :).

    Not much later I ended up getting a Commodore 64 :).

    • by dangitman (862676)

      Since the only computers I'd ever seen back then were Commodores, TI-99/4a's, Apple's, and Tandys, I perceived this as a great deal since I thought that that keyboard was a whole computer.

      It seems that to many IBM Model M enthusiasts, that's still the case.

  • You kids. (Score:3, Informative)

    by idontgno (624372) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:22PM (#26376399) Journal

    You have no idea.

    I've used a TI 99/4. I've actually tried typing programs into an original IBM PCjr. I used extensively, and almost bought, an Atari 400.

    What do they have in common with each other, and this keyboard?

    Crappy, short throw, lousy-feedback keys.

    If you think you're seeing an old-timer smiling in nostalgic pleasure at this thing, you've mis-identified a grimace of remembered pain.

    • by lbbros (900904)
      I think the Sinclair up to the Spectrum 48K were worse. I mean, flat keys first, then *rubber*! I can't even remember how could I *type* on those...
    • by jcr (53032)

      The best and the worst keyboards I ever used were both around that time. The PCjr's chicklets were the worst. The best was on an HP 9840 terminal. These days, I'm using a NeXT ADB keyboard, which is my all-time favorite for key layout, and second best for quality of the keyswitches.

      One of these years, I'm going to see how much of a market there is for the ultimate keyboard: ebony keys, switches that will last for decades, proper steel springs...

      -jcr

      • by mzs (595629)

        I second the HP terminal keyboard as one of the best ever. I visited an HP salesman at the time when I had a CoCo II and that thing was was fantastic. The keyboard of the Coco II was very good for it's time as well. What I miss is that back then you had to hit the key just right for it to register. I am using a spongy Dell keyboard right now. And when I had to capitalize the W two sentences back my hand shifted a bit and I got 'QW' instead of just W. There was no way back then to hit a key on the side and h

        • by jcr (53032)

          I second the HP terminal keyboard as one of the best ever.

          Back when a keyboard cost upwards of a grand, they could really afford to pull out all the stops, quality-wise.

          -jcr

  • If this is intended to control a media center, why does it force the user to get up and to the screen give the media center input?

    Wouldn't it be better if the media center itself were a plain, small and silent box (like the Apple TV) to which this neat keyboard could be connected wirelessly? The screen on it would be ideal for browsing through a music collection on the network, when you're in no mood to fire up the big screen in the living room. Communication between the keyboard and the box with the proc

    • by ErkDemon (1202789) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:39PM (#26376647) Homepage

      Wouldn't it be better if the media center itself were a plain, small and silent box (like the Apple TV) to which this neat keyboard could be connected wirelessly?

      They already do one!

      The Eee Box [wikipedia.org] is a small, plain, (almost) silent PC with wifi that comes with a mounting bracket so you can bolt it to the back of your flat monitor or TV via the four VESA mount holes.

    • RTFA (Score:4, Informative)

      by dangitman (862676) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:52PM (#26376851)

      FTA:

      ... then you should know that it comes with Ultra-Wideband Wireless HDMI buit-in. Plug in a small box at the back of your TV, and connect to it wirelessly, and send the display signal over the airwaves. It comes with the usual wireless options and ports as well, of course.

  • when and where I can get the EeePhone and the EeePod Touch.

  • Why in the hell do all the keyboards made today have the caps lock key where the control key belongs?

    -jcr

    • by Culture20 (968837)
      Because very few people ever used a Sun keyboard. Other IBM keyboards from ancient days use the current setup. For evil fun, use rubbing alcohol on a Sun keyboard intended for a newbie, and watch the confusion as attempts to stop a program become CcCcCc.
  • ... why is it OK to just quote the top paragraph from the source article?

    "Asus' success with its Eee line of netbooks might have come as a surprise, but the company is now determined to expand the Eee brand into every possible niche and form factor. Case in point: the insanely cool Eee Keyboard, which will surely bring a smile on the faces of those who remember the glory days of the home computer." is lifted directly from the article linked in the story.

    No funny / inappropriate / factually incorrect comment

  • by Locke2005 (849178) on Thursday January 08, 2009 @04:49PM (#26376801)
    Let me see if I got this straight: this box has no DVD drive or large hard drive, so the "killer" app for this toy is to stream video over wireless to the keyboard, decode it, then stream it again to another box connected to your television??? I'm no system engineer, but wouldn't it make a lot more sense to put all the brains in the box connected to the television (and the power outlet), and just use a cheap remote control (with much better battery life) to control it?

    Or maybe you could use it to play games on... in which case wouldn't you be better served by any of the current game consoles equipped with a wireless controller? One more thing... if you've got a built-in wireless HDMI for streaming video to a largescreen TV... what the fsck do you need a crappy 5" LCD screen for??? Sure, this is a cute toy, but what does it enable the average user to actually do better than what they are using now?

  • I love my EEE but the worst thing about it is the keyboard for the shape, size and layout of the key board. It looks like they're trying to bring that to the desktop. They can take it back too.
  • And it's still... (Score:3, Informative)

    by Hurricane78 (562437) <deleted AT slashdot DOT org> on Thursday January 08, 2009 @08:42PM (#26380269)

    ... non-ergonomic.

    I'm sorry, but we live in two-thousand-fuckin'-nine! Give me a real keyboard [datahand.com], or at least the closest affordable thing [datadesktech.com]. (Now unfortunately defunct.):

    'Nuff said...

White dwarf seeks red giant for binary relationship.

Working...