Talk:Localized Keyboards


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Ok, this discussion is becoming a bit more useful...

An SKU is a particular build including keyboard, power adapter, and exact components used to build the system).  In short, the more SKU's necessary, the higher the cost (and risk of OLPC losing its shirt).

There are a number of issues here, all intertwingled:

  1. whether keyboard designs exist.
  2. whether those keyboard designs have ever actually been produced, and therefore the tooling is paid for already (so we might be able to make another SKU at less delay and cost than when we have to actually do a new keyboard from scratch).
  3. whether said designs will be "good enough" for a different market than initially intended. Note that language != keyboard design: Portugal uses a very different keyboard than Brazil).

# lead times to produce new keyboard designs (and demand for those), and how to pay for the tooling

  1. whether whomever we work with for G1G1 fulfillment is able/willing to undertake to ship multiple SKU's, and how we'll deal with power plug requirements.
  2. number of different SKU's needed to cover what populations of what size, and being able to predict volumes for that population accurately enough to forecast the demand (and not lose your shirt). Note that conventional keyboards on conventional laptops are replaceable easily; this means if you get the forecasting wrong, at worst, you replace keyboards and ship to different geographies. That's not true for us. If we make a mistake, we can't necessarily do anything to ship the laptops elsewhere, and we already have at least one example of this having happened (and a stack of machines in a warehouse, waiting for the day that keyboard is needed).
  3. regulatory requirements to ship into a given country, which may include power plug type, any printed material, localization requirements, and possibly keyboard layouts.

So while I can't hold out hope of *anything* beyond US international before any analysis is done, if someone wants to start gathering information more systematically into a wiki page, that would be good, so that decisions might be based on some data, rather than no data....

- Jim



I don't see tooling as an issue. Exactly the same molds are used for any membranes, because the base electronics is one only. I agree it would be absurd and extremely cost prohibitive to change that.

Then the printing on the membrane is done with exactly the same process and equipment and inks, by silkscreening, so we are talking a total cost addition of less than a hundred dollars to add a new design screen, at the very worst and being extremely generous. You can print thousands with one single screen, and when printing tens of thousands you have to make several screens anyway, which would be identical if the design is the same, so if there are several designs, a few thousand of each, then there is no additional cost from the point of view of tooling or manufacturing the printed membranes.

The problem then becomes one of logistics, how many keyboards are needed in this or in that variant, building up a stock of a couple extra hundred from initial projections, keeping track, but this is a trivial matter in terms of modern just-in-time manufacturing. The necessary extra stock (that might not get used), extra handling and follow up adds to the cost, but in a contemporary run operation should be only a couple extra dollars per machine, very well worth it in terms of the total PR disaster we face if Europe is offered US keyboards or else. Yamaplos 16:39, 11 June 2008 (EDT)

Manufacturing specification

It would be very helpful if a detailed manufacturing specification of the keyboard membrane could be posted to the wiki. There are many firms that do custom membrane keyboard manufacturing, just google "custom silkscreen membrane keyboard". With a detailed specification in hand, there would be the possibility of creating "aftermarket" membranes independently of OLPC's mfg. process. Cjl 17:44, 11 June 2008 (EDT)

From discussion

Transcribed from

German-speaking countries, German Language keyboard variants

  • German Germany
  • German Austria
    • Those two are the same, there is no german-austrian keyboard. (confirmed by an Austrian.)
  • German Switzerland
    • This one is different from the "standard" german layout. (confirmed by a Swiss person.)

French-speaking countries, French Language keyboard variants

  • French Switzerland
    • This one is different from the "standard" french layout. (confirmed by a swiss person.)

Italian-speaking countries, Italian Language keyboard variants

  • Italian Switzerland
  • Italian Italy
    • Those are the same, or rather, there is no italian-swiss keyboard, they use the "standard" italian keyboard. (confirmed by a swiss person.)

and then we can discuss Belgian (French and Flemish/Dutch). Yup. Belgians (whether flemish or french speaking) use belgium AZERTY keyboards (which are different from french AZERTY keyboards), while Dutch people use Dutch QWERTY keyboards. (Dutch and Flemish are very similar languages...) (info from a person from Belgium)

Spanish-speaking countries, Spanish Language keyboard variants

  • Catalan (Spain)
    • There are no Catalan keyboards (or other regional keyboards in spain), they all use spanish keyboards. (puh.) (confirmed by several spanish persons.)

Actually, the Catalan keyboard contains one extra letter.--Mokurai 19:18, 11 June 2008 (EDT)

XO-2 keybaord

"The XO-2, with a touch screen graphical keyboard, will go a long way to solve this problem. It is much easier to provide a localized flash image for a country and language than to modify the hardware."

The basic assumption here is that "this problem" is essentially the logistics of getting the correct physical keyboard to the correct location. Getting the software properly configured per location has proved to be burdensome in and of itself. Further, to suggest that the touchscreen keyboard will (a) work reliably in harsh environments; (b) be usable for extensive typing; (c) have working, debugged software support; (d) have an ergonomically well designed and tested affordances for the complexities of the keyboards already in production; (e) magically solve the issues of designing keyboard layouts and inegrating those layouts with available input systems; etc. All of these issues dwarf the logistics problem. --Walter 10:09, 12 June 2008 (EDT)

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