Project: V | Key features

Hey community,

It’s time to have a look at the state of the keyboard. What does it look like? What can it do? What keys are on it? Let’s get right down to it!

Keyboard coverage

When we showed off the final industrial design for the new V, we briefly featured the keyboard cover in one of the renders. Since then, one focus of the design team has been on refining the industrial design of the keyboard itself, and we’re ready to show you a bit more of it. (Please keep in mind that color, material, and finish (CMF) has not yet been applied in today’s renders!)

vkb4

Major hurdles when trying to implement the popular OREO design were the amount of plastic needed and the point where the pogo pin bar connects: With a plastic frame covering the entire edge, there was no way to let the flexible tab connect tidily. We ended up with a design that didn’t show up in any of our initial concepts, combining the folded edges of the WRAP design on the inside with the plastic frame from OREO on the outside. It’s close to the edge treatment of our first-gen keyboard but more refined.

vkb1
vkb2v2

By curving the back of the keyboard to mirror the pillowed back of the V, the two look like a cohesive unit when put together. Making the keyboard look like it belonged with our new V was an important driver in its design decisions, and this will of course also be taken into account as our designers pick paints, surface treatments, and soft materials to apply the finishing touches to both the V and the V Keyboard.

Bluetooth

The first-gen V Keyboard sported a battery and a Bluetooth radio, allowing it to be used even when it wasn’t directly connected to the V through the pogo pins. The idea was that you could use it anywhere, put the V on its kickstand and take the keyboard into your lap, or even use the keyboard independently with a different tablet or phone. We still really like this idea, as it definitely fits the V’s role as a versatile device that can do everything!

Even so, there were some issues with the V Keyboard that made the experience less-than-ideal for many users, including connecting- and charging issues, accidental device activation when the keyboard was stowed, as well as inconsistent behavior between the keyboard in its attached and its wireless modes.

We’ve taken into account both the positive feedback and the issues that were reported with the previous keyboard. We’ve also considered the added size and weight, which are downsides to the inclusion of Bluetooth, and its added cost – not only in components and manufacturing complexity but also its certifications as a wireless device and the specifics of shipping products that contain batteries.

The new V allows us to improve upon the original in a number of ways, and we are reluctant to remove functionality that existed before. Even so, we believe that a great connected experience will be the better default keyboard option for many users.

That said, we are always looking out for ways to offer cool products to our fans. For some, the wireless option was ideal, and some of the recent community feedback tells us that there may be more interest in a Bluetooth-enabled keyboard than we initially thought.

Offering a choice of wired and wireless keyboards may also allow us to offer other features. After all, if the keyboard is thicker to fit the electronics and battery, why not use that added size to add an extra USB port or similar? Also, if it’s going to be used on its own, should it come with its own angle lift method, and can we avoid a loose-hanging pogo pin bar? Those details will need to be worked out with our manufacturer and with you, our community, if we go that route.

What keyboard cover do you prefer?

  • The standard one that connects directly to the V with pogo pins.
  • A wireless one that also connects to the V with Bluetooth, and am willing to pay up to $50 extra.
  • I want both, so I can pick the most convenient one at any given time.
  • I don’t want a keyboard cover; I just want the tablet portion of the new V.

0 voters

Key Features

The design of the keyboard cover as a whole is one thing, but the real star of the show is the keyboard itself. We’ve found a module that should feel and function great, and even offers a number of extra keys over our first-gen keyboard. A quick and easy way to reduce the size of a keyboard module is to reduce the number of keys. Of course then the question becomes: which keys stay, and which keys go?

We already discussed the modifier keys to the right of the space bar back in June, which showed that Alt(Gr), Menu, and Ctrl are the way to go. Win and Fn were not very popular, each being used by only a fraction of the voters.

xb

The old V Keyboard had one extra key, and after deliberation with our community, that turned into a Del key. This time, we get eight. …the problem is, we’re still missing nine keys. So which function doesn’t get its own physical button? Time to survey you guys!

Which keys do you use?

  • PSc Print Screen / SysRq
  • SLk Scroll Lock
  • Brk Pause / Break
  • Ins Insert
  • Home Home
  • PgUp Page up
  • Del Delete
  • End End
  • PgDn Page down

0 voters

While we’re on the topic of key functions, let’s also look at the function row. Some of the Fn-layer functions of the F-keys are pretty much a given in any modern laptop keyboard. So don’t worry; you’ll get buttons to control display brightness, volume, and media playback. And of course you’ll still be able to use F1 through F12. But what other functions are important to you guys?

fkr

Which function keys do you use?

  • Increase & decrease keyboard backlight brightness
    (separate buttons)
  • Cycle keyboard backlight brightness
    (single button)
  • Enable/disable airplane mode
  • Enable/disable WiFi & Bluetooth
  • Enable/disable WiFi
  • Enable/disable Bluetooth
  • Enable/disable touchpad
  • Enable/disable camera
  • Enable/disable microphone
  • Enable/disable built-in display
  • Lock Windows
  • Put device to sleep
  • Put device to hibernate
  • Launch Windows Snip & Sketch
    (formerly Snipping Tool)
  • Launch Windows Task View / Windows Timeline
  • Launch Windows Settings app
  • Launch Windows Task Manager app
  • Launch Windows Calculator app
  • Cycle Windows Projection mode
    (Internal screen only, external screen only, duplicate screen, extend screen)
  • Enable/disable browser reader mode
  • Other, I will leave a comment

0 voters

(Please keep in mind that these are community-requested features. We will need to discuss their feasibility with the keyboard manufacturer.)

The new V continues to take shape with every question answered, every box checked. But we still have things to work out, so keep an eye out for more Project: V news!

nlbanner

11 Likes

Honestly, while I dig some parts of the new keyboard (8 more keys? Yes!), this is the biggest dissappointment.

It’s been shown by the first generation V that a hybrid keyboard can be done - and now that there’s a choice of bringing a more refined version out and the great concept is thrown away for an ‘either or’ version?

I’d kindly ask you to reconsider this choice. I know a Hybrid keyboard will be more expensive, but just look at the success of the first hybrid console - the Nintendo Switch. It’s half-half. People left and right said the concept is weird and you’d just have a heavy paperweight because you’d either never play docked or always play docked.
Yet the device is a big success. Why? I’d partially attribute it to the fact that it combines 2 previously different options, docked and handheld play.
So, why give up on a winning horse? Why make a nintendo switch that is either docked or handheld and can’t be both?

Let’s think again and maybe reconsider into making a hybrid keyboard again. If you want to offer a more value oriented option it should be relatively easy to strip away the battery & bluetooth-part of the keyboard and offer that as an option for more value-oriented customers that ‘just’ want a wired keyboard.

14 Likes

To clarify,

Exact features would still have to be worked out with the manufacturer, community, and design team, but the wireless version described here would still be able to connect through pogo pins as well as through Bluetooth. It would be, as you called it, a hybrid.

I’ve updated the poll options to reflect this, “A wireless one that also connects to the V with Bluetooth”. As the poll had already been live for over ten minutes it could no longer be altered without resetting the results, so the first voters will have to re-submit their choice…

6 Likes

Do I understand it right, you will not add a win key? How would we use basic windows command like: win+SHFIT+S (snapshot) WIN+L (lock device) etc.?

3 Likes

I don’t get the “I want both” option…

1 Like

With the Win key to the left of the space bar.

8 Likes

As the device became one for casual use for me, the biggest problem has been the touchpad being particularly bad. On one keyboard (italian layout) it was not ideal but still working ok. On the second one I got (english layout) the right click doesn’t work and it’s in general impossible to click: only tapping works.

As long as you fix these quality issues, I don’t think any layout change will be a major selling point or loss for your users.

9 Likes

There were many people including me who had stability/longevity problems with their keyboard. Two Eve keyboards I had broke due to the design mistake in the cable that came from the pogo pins. I searched on here after my second keyboard broke and there was one thread where someone opened the keyboard up and showed what exactly broke and how to repair it. I hope you can somehow have a more stable cable or a different cable layout so this is avoided.

5 Likes

I use the actual function keys (F5, F11 etc.) regularly, in fact, much more that the layered functions (volume, brightness etc.) I’d love to see an option (maybe software based) where the ‘F’ keys are the default behavior and the layered functionality is accessed using the Fn key

14 Likes

Bluetooth is more a nice-to-have feature IMHO. That said, I think it’s a valid use case otherwise we wouldn’t be talking about it. If we’re talking costs, I could see the Bluetooth variant being part of a bundle with the most expensive tablet while the non-BT one could be bundled with the low-mid tier version (and obviously sold separately as well). If I’m going to need a detached BT keyboard, I’m personally, most likely at my office desk with a USB hub and my preferred wireless keyboard/mouse setup (2.4 GHz radios).

We will source a more resilient cable for the new V keyboard to prevent similar issues from happening. The connector guide notches shown in the third render are added, together with changes on the tablet portion, to reinforce the pogo pin and housing strength. They are included in our long list of improvement points we gathered from our 1st-Gen V users and our community that we will use to design the V keyboard.

3 Likes

most important thing i‘ve read here is that you want to learn from feedback on the V gen1.
the wiring is really poor, also mine stopped working because of one or more broken wires… another V issue to be fixed by me!

Exactly my point - or better: make it lockable which of both shall be the first choice and not having to set it after every reboot.

3 Likes

The text above was only referring to a second Win key to the right of the space bar. There will still be one on the left, as pointed out in another comment too.

Perfect, sounds great!

1 Like

I clicked “other” for the keys I use…

volume up and down,
brightness up and down.

8 Likes

I love these types of devices because i can create an ergo setup with a seperate keyboard where ever i go. I’d love a no keyboard option.

This updated wording is what confused me when I voted. It sounds redundant to call it wireless and connects with Bluetooth. It should be clarified to use pogo pins and bluetooth.

3 Likes

As I’ve mentioned before, the pogo pins need to be documented and use an open protocol so that third-party keyboards are possible. Ideally just use USB.

2 Likes

I agree. Those options are more important than any on the list.