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Keyboard print layouts and functionality


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8 minutes ago, Muth said:

Damn, thanks for the link. This is really active !

Yes he is really responsive to input, so if you have any good ideas, throw them in.

Also note that he added Czech very swiftly, so who knows, he might be persuaded to do a standard French AZERTY too, though that of course would still have have the QWERT prints.

...Also a very modest guy, so he is not likely to point to the existence of the Donate button on his site himself... 😇

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Yes I definitely will use that button 🙂

Starting off, I know FR still uses mostly the AZERTY keyboard but who knows if they like this? I'm a Portuguese person who found out about this phone only yesterday. I'm very interested in it and

This is a very interesting suggestion. If the Chinese layout proved to be in a high demand, we would certainly consider it.   In the future perhaps if we can make user to do custom mapping, maybe we

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5 minutes ago, EskeRahn said:

Yes he is really responsive to input, so if you have any good ideas, throw them in.

Also note that he added Czech very swiftly, so who knows, he might be persuaded to do a standard French AZERTY too, though that of course would still have have the QWERT prints.

Personally I don't like very much the azerty layout (the numbers need the shift mode). But yes you're right, it might help to suit more people.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Starting off, I know FR still uses mostly the AZERTY keyboard but who knows if they like this?

I'm a Portuguese person who found out about this phone only yesterday. I'm very interested in it and, because of that, I want to propose a keyboard that should work well for latin-based languages.

To make this economically viable, I believe many destinations require the same keyboard.

Here are the keyboard layouts I believe should be able to fit in, in a single fxtec keyboard layout. (Images courtesy of wikipedia)

pt-PT:

spacer.png

pt-BR:

KB_Portuguese_Brazil.svg

es-ES:

KB_Spanish.svg

ES-[nearly all others]

KB_Latin_American.svg

fr-CA (maybe similar to an fr-FR)

KB_Canadian_French_text.svg

 

With these in mind, I created a few layouts in http://www.keyboard-layout-editor.com, which I share here as attachment for discussion.

I made different layouts for what I believe to be acceptable compromises for all these languages.

If the keys can change shape, I believe this to be the optimum:

947751103_f(x)tec_pro1_lat-layout__balanced_compromise_plusOwn.png.fbfe312976ca3701e69d787a8a72f0e5.png

f(x)tec_pro1_lat-layout__balanced_compromise_plusOwnç.json

I do understand if keys cannot change chape, so, for now, I have compromises below.

Do note that PT-* does not make use of "ñ". So, if you can have 2 keyboard choices where the difference is just swapping "ñ" with "ç" in the dedicated "ñ" key, I believe that can work well for PT-* keyboards in contrast of ES keyboards. If PT people want to use ñ, we just use the composite of "~" and "n".

All below seem to be a proper compromise where all keys stay in the same shape.

f(x)tec_pro1_lat-layout__balanced_compromise.png.f397429b8d567d430b58dba169355eab.png

f(x)tec_pro1_lat-layout__balanced_compromise.json

 

f(x)tec_pro1_lat-layout__least_compromise.png.27fc4fa32e7450052adc83877dbde4e2.png

f(x)tec_pro1_lat-layout__least_compromise.json

 

Here are two keyboards that have success where I live. Do note, I only know mobile keyboards that ended up in Portugal.

Nokia 5510 (90's)

Nokia_5510.thumb.jpg.3bb5e6b82180c866b23abe9d6e75f668.jpg

HTC [I forgot the model] TyTN II (No longer works but I keep it to show to people how a good keyboard was made in the past):

1951911076_HTC_dunno.thumb.jpg.6ce401992173ed50f987a5a1124533fa.jpg

Nokia Asha 210.

NOKIA_Asha_210.thumb.jpg.21ffdb907e3d1aef1e12b54e017380af.jpg

 

In my opinion, all of those photos of keyboards show good keyboard layouts. The HTC one has not good to type in, even though it has a good layout.

 

So I throw the discussion. What opinions are there about my keyboard layout proposals?

I rather have "ç" in its own key and I believe Spanish people will agree.
Portuguese doesn't use "ñ" key but I believe Spanish will want that one.

The best option for me appears to be the first layout but it requires changing the shape of the keys, which can ruin the fine tuned feel.
The alternative best option, for me, appears to be the 2nd layout where "ç" and "ñ" keys can be swapped depending on PT-* or ES-* destination.

 

Do you you all have to say?

Edited by brunoais
Found the model for the HTC
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24 minutes ago, brunoais said:

Do you you all have to say?

If there will not be a dedicated print, then US International might be an alternative. You can get the functionality already with the existing two prints, installing FinQWERTY, see the different layouts here

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7 minutes ago, EskeRahn said:

If there will not be a dedicated print, then US International might be an alternative. You can get the functionality already with the existing two prints, installing FinQWERTY, see the different layouts here

I'd really like to have such keyboard as I proposed. If they did an US/UK keyboard, then a German QWERTZ keyboard, with a Norwegian one in discussion, why not a latin-origins one that covers Italian (and variants), French (and variants), Spanish (and variants), Portuguese (and variants)?

They would cover a larger potential population than the QWERTZ keyboard does.

Does that mean such idea is denied?

I was thinking this could become available at somewhere Q3/Q4 this year...

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50 minutes ago, brunoais said:

HTC [I forgot the model] (No longer works but I keep it to show to people how a good keyboard was made in the past):

It is a HTC TyTN II, also known as HTC Kaiser.

Mine is working well but has dead battery...

tytn2.jpg

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18 minutes ago, brunoais said:

I'd really like to have such keyboard as I proposed. If they did an US/UK keyboard, then a German QWERTZ keyboard, with a Norwegian one in discussion, why not a latin-origins one that covers Italian (and variants), French (and variants), Spanish (and variants), Portuguese (and variants)?

They would cover a larger potential population than the QWERTZ keyboard does.

Does that mean such idea is denied?

I was thinking this could become available at somewhere Q3/Q4 this year...

I think a LOT depends on the reception when it is out. I do not know the 'magic number' of needed additional orders they would need to cover the expenses of different hardware.

If it gets a smashing success and sells in millions (unfortunately I highly doubt that) then almost any layout would be possible. But if keyboards stay a niche thing it will be hard to finance.

I would have expected them to consider Spanish and French before the Scandinavian layouts. But much higher populations is not the same as a much larger market.
F(x)tec could have some numbers from somewhere indicating a disproportional high interest of keyboard phones in Scandinavia.
That could be why they have been considering the Scandinavian layout. but it is pure guesswork from my side.

Personally I doubt the Scandinavian print will ever happen, as the German qwertZ is really close to what would be wanted for a Swedish qwertY (See my previous posts for details)

Talking numbers, it is not the numbers that would buy a print in it self that is interesting. It is the number that would buy that, but will not buy any other print.

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2 hours ago, EskeRahn said:

needed additional orders they would need to cover the expenses of different hardware.

I wish they'd tell... I really would like a keyboard somewhat like above. I'm actually willing to have a ñ printed which I can have as "ç" changed in software...

2 hours ago, EskeRahn said:

But if keyboards stay a niche thing it will be hard to finance.

I think it will. That's also why I tried engineering a keyboard that fits many countries. If supposed to cram more countries in it, it is quite capable.
I wonder how much it costs to print or grove a different character for a letter... It should be quite cheap (outside the price of just printing in series). My first suggestion should be considerably more expensive but just changing the text in the keys should actually be... Not sure... Maybe 5€ per key?

2 hours ago, EskeRahn said:

I would have expected them to consider Spanish and French before the Scandinavian layouts.

The "native" French keyboard is still AZERTY, which is also not so well adapted to French (the irony),  so... Very niche.

As for a Spanish keyboard... I have the proposal above which I believe covers all those cultures enough and possibly even allowing to type in Eastern European languages... Maybe if I add some more letters such as Ð, ð, đ, Ø... It does appear to be too cramped, though. I have the design here, f(x)tec_pro1_lat-layout__logicalButCramped.json (f(x)tec_pro1_lat-layout__logicalButCramped.png
) but it seems as it says... cramped... Too many things to see if looking for a character.

2 hours ago, EskeRahn said:

It is the number that would buy that, but will not buy any other print.

That is a good point... From what I know, of the culture in South America, that applies there, same for Spain, for what I know... But how many want a keyboard in the phone... No idea. That's part of the problem...

Edited by brunoais
image was pasted in the wrong place
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  • 8 months later...

I don't mind being sent the last place in queue if I can get a keyboard as I proposed before (and now I noticed I'm in the wrong topic)

Probably the 2nd one would be a good keyboard layout for a balance between Spanish-based languages and Portuguese-based languages. Ideally for me, it would be a different print but I understand the need to reuse.

 

There's also the one I proposed which is more full of symbols but it covers more languages such as greek and other Eastern europe characters.

 As I mentioned before. I am very willing to be sent to the end of the waiting queue and/or pay a little extra just to get the privilege of such different print.

I hope tagging @Erik is not asking too much.

Edited by brunoais
The other, more complete, layout
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32 minutes ago, brunoais said:

(and now I noticed I'm in the wrong topic)

I took the liberty to move yours and a few other comments over here.

 

I guess the problem is that we do not know the volume needed to make a layout profitable.

I have previously mentioned that I would find it a very good subject for crowdfunding. If enough what to fund it then make it.

In principle one rich guy might want to fund the layout he prefers, despite no one else shows any interest....

I doubt we are enough Pro1-owners in Demark to sustain a Danish layout, but including all of Scandinavia, we might be able to fund a Scandinavian layout. But a much larger number of people uses Spanish or Portuguese, so do sound likely that a common layout could be sustainable.

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1 hour ago, brunoais said:

Hardware-wise:

How much does it cost to make 1 keyboard print for USA layout as used for the prototypes vs mass-production?

They definitely know but I don't know if they want to disclose such information.

One keyboard layout (the very first one) is expensive.
In mass production, it going to be cheaper (as the price of "first one" is divided), then a later order is much more cheaper than the first one if there is no modification.
(At least this is how it works in Europe.)

Practically there is a minimum quantity which worth manufacturing, let's say 100, 300 or 1000 depending on other calculations.

I don't know, but let's say the first one costs 1000 USD and every further one costs 15 USD.
(That is because several custom tools are needed for manufacturing and the same tools can be used to manufacture additional products).
The above is a theoretical value but can be more or less close to reality.

...but that is the keyboard layout itself. Replacing it in one or more units is what makes it really complicated.

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Depending on the manufacturing procedures used, each new keyboard layout can cost as little as 100€ or as much as 1000€.

It can be as simple as changing some tiny heads in a cutter or as complex as making a brand new copy mold which has to be hand-made. I have never seen the phone in close up, only images online, so I have no real idea on what the keyboard is made of. From some images, it appears to be rubber. Maybe it's printed?

Or maybe the major cost is much more on the R part of R&D and it's much harder to know what sells than to setup the machine and "print" 1 keyboard.

That's why I need to know how much it costs before I can knowingly propose something reasonable.

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As far as I have been able figure out studying the two offered keyboards,  they have an identical base, with some coloured yellow squares (green for caps), and then finalised with different layers of black on top.

If you look carefully at the top left of the Q, W and E keys on the shifted qwertY, you will note a square that looks slightly different when the light hits at the exact right angle. I'm 99% sure that this is the square for the symbols on W, E and R on the qwertZ. that is hidden by the black paint.

(On the preproduction-unit the green dot for caps was quite small, And was extensible, by carefully scraping the black paint around it, and as can be seen I failed on the 'careful' )

 

R1091284_crop.jpg

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24 minutes ago, EskeRahn said:

As far as I have been able figure out studying the two offered keyboards,  they have an identical base, with some coloured yellow squares (green for caps), and then finalised with different layers of black on top.

If you look carefully at the top left of the Q, W and E keys on the shifted qwertY, you will note a square that looks slightly different when the light hits at the exact right angle. I'm 99% sure that this is the square for the symbols on W, E and R on the qwertZ. that is hidden by the black paint.

(On the preproduction-unit the green dot for caps was quite small, And was extensible, by carefully scraping the black paint around it, and as can be seen I failed on the 'careful' )

Just would like to mention they have mentioned improving the keyboard durability earlier.
As far as I remember well, they have changed the way the keyboard is built in some point of time, so it may happen the pre-production unit may have a different version of the keyboard used later.

Also they may have used older components in some of the pre-production units as some factors like long-term durability may not matter that case.
Also there are components which has newer version but already assembled parts can be used in this way - like still not approved motherboard, motherboard with minor bugs, etc.

Late pre-production units may have much closer state to the production units.

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42 minutes ago, EskeRahn said:

As far as I have been able figure out studying the two offered keyboards,  they have an identical base, with some coloured yellow squares (green for caps), and then finalised with different layers of black on top.

If you look carefully at the top left of the Q, W and E keys on the shifted qwertY, you will note a square that looks slightly different when the light hits at the exact right angle. I'm 99% sure that this is the square for the symbols on W, E and R on the qwertZ. that is hidden by the black paint.

(On the preproduction-unit the green dot for caps was quite small, And was extensible, by carefully scraping the black paint around it, and as can be seen I failed on the 'careful' )

 

R1091284_crop.jpg

OK. So seems like the keyboard covers (where each key is) are a piece of translucid rubber-like material(?) with bumps for each key, with colored (light filters) on the top right (Yellow for most and green for Caps lock) and are painted black; inverted to the characters to be written.
Sounds about right?

I've been with one such kind of machine long time ago but it was painting something else. I forgot what. Now I wish I had asked how much it costs to do new spray heads.

It may be that it's not that expensive but still cannot be sold at normal value, otherwise, they don't get the profit they need to make their next one.

2 minutes ago, VaZso said:

Just would like to mention they have mentioned improving the keyboard durability earlier.
As far as I remember well, they have changed the way the keyboard is built in some point of time, so it may happen the pre-production unit may have a different version of the keyboard used later.

Also they may have used older components in some of the pre-production units as some factors like long-term durability may not matter that case.
Also there are components which has newer version but already assembled parts can be used in this way - like still not approved motherboard, motherboard with minor bugs, etc.

Late pre-production units may have much closer state to the production units.

Thank you. It's good to confirm. The point still stands that I'm pretty sure the cost is known. Although, it is known that, at mass-production, phone itself costs 4xx€ IIRC. So, about half the price is to pay for things such as VAT, transportation, company workers, insurance for warranty, office, this forum, etc...

Even then, I believe every step's price has been known to F(x)tec admin. So I'm still convinced they know how much it costs to have a different keyboard. The question is always on whether such extra price is worth it. For me, 100€ would be worth it. 1000€... Not really.

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21 minutes ago, VaZso said:

Late pre-production units may have much closer state to the production units.

Indeed things are likely to be improved, but this particular aspect seems to be the same. At the least it was until the last keyboard I checked.

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24 minutes ago, brunoais said:

Even then, I believe every step's price has been known to F(x)tec admin. So I'm still convinced they know how much it costs to have a different keyboard. The question is always on whether such extra price is worth it. For me, 100€ would be worth it. 1000€... Not really.

The material cost should be available for the head of F(x)tec but that is one thing.
Another one is the demand which affects the final prince and also the management of producing and shipping phones having different kind of layouts and send them to appropriate recipients.

If you can produce relatively low volume and you can sell all of them then it doesn't really worth financially of switching layouts as it may result in a loss of profit then.

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