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Das Keyboard is a series of computer keyboards sold by Metadot Corporation, a software company located in Austin, Texas. Some models feature blank keycaps, supposedly to help improve touch typing skills and eliminate the need to rearrange keys for alternative keyboard layouts. Labeled versions have also been available since 2008. The current iterations employ mechanical keyswitches manufactured by either Cherry or Greetech.
Das Keyboard products
There have been multiple generations of Das Keyboard:
The first iteration, released in 2005, did not feature mechanical key switches, but in addition to the blank keycaps, it featured a Model-M-inspired design, and individually weighted keypresses, because some keys are pressed with less force than other keys.
The third iteration in 2008 was the first to be offered in both Ultimate (unlabeled) and Professional (labeled) versions. This USB-only keyboard also offered six-key rollover capability (the maximum for a conventional USB HID keyboard), an internal two-port USB hub and came with a glossy surface. Both 104-key (ANSI) and 105-key layouts (ISO) were offered. This version was not without its problems, however, as it became known that key transposition errors could occur at high typing speeds. In addition, interoperability issues related to the USB hub and lack of power were noticed with some systems.
The "Das Keyboard Model S" was introduced in late 2009, and continues to be sold today. It contains revised electronics to address some of the common complaints along with supporting media keys and PS/2 operation. Again, it is shipped in both Ultimate (unlabeled) and Professional (labeled) versions, both 104- and 105-key, with the addition of a labeled Professional Silent model  featuring non-clicky but tactile MX brown stem keyswitches. The latter is intended for applications demanding lower noise levels than obtained with the regular clicky MX blue stem switches while retaining a similar tactile characteristic.
The "Das Keyboard 4" was introduced in 2014, featuring new aesthetics and improved construction. As with previous models, it was available in an "Ultimate" (blank) configuration, as well as a more standard "Professional" version with key legends.
In 2015, some versions of Das Keyboards began shipping with Cherry MX clone switches manufactured by Greetech. The "Das Keyboard 4" for Windows continues to be sold with Cherry MX switches, but the Mac version and the "Das Keyboard 4C" models all feature the clone switches instead. This move has been somewhat controversial, as the clone switches are cheaper and of unknown quality/durability. However, as of 2016, Das Keyboard discontinued the use of Greetech switches to use only the Cherry brand for MX switch type.
In June of 2016, the "Das Keyboard 5Q" was introduced on Kickstarter. The new keyboard was to be cloud connected, allowing various online services to send signals to the keyboard which would result in various lighting effects. Backers were promised delivery in January of 2017, but Das Keyboard encountered over a year of delays. Most backers did not receive their keyboards until the second quarter of 2018. The accompanying software only functions on Windows, despite the promise of full cross platform support of Mac and Linux. The open source project DieFarbe, not endorsed by Das Keyboard, attempts to implement the Windows driver's feature set for other operating systems.
The product's name is an example of foreign branding as "das" is the German neuter definite article. Although "Das Keyboard" is syntactically correct in German, it only refers to a musical keyboard. A computer keyboard like Das Keyboard is called "(die) Tastatur", where "die" is the female definite article. Thus the use of "das" mirrors the usage in slogans like "das Auto" ("the car", a slogan from VW), which are meant to convey the marketing message that these particular products are a kind of gold standard.
After Metadot Corporation's attempts to censor an alternative, open source driver, security concerns arose. Das Keyboard 5Q's cloud connection driver was questioned by some users due to the possibility of being a remote keylogger.
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- "Blank Keyboard - Slashdot". hardware.slashdot.org.
- "Das Keyboard 4 Professional review". PC Magazine. Retrieved 2015-12-31.
- "Das Keyboard 4C Ultimate review". Retrieved 2015-12-31.
- Zipern, Andrew (2005-05-26). "A Keyboard That Lets the Supremely Confident Show Disdain for Qwerty". The New York Times. Retrieved 2010-05-01.
- "Das Keyboard Professional product page". Archived from the original on November 10, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- "Forum discussion: Details regarding serious key transposition issue with Das Keyboard III".
- "Daniel Guermeur reveals that the Das Keyboard III may transpose keystrokes".
- "Das Keyboard - Mojo Helpdesk". daskeyboard.mojohelpdesk.com.
- O'Neil, Faith. "Das Keyboard Professional S Quiet Mechanical Review". Retrieved 9 June 2014.
- "Das Keyboard Model S Ultimate product page". Archived from the original on October 18, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- "Das Keyboard Model S Professional product page". Archived from the original on November 8, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- "Das Keyboard Model S Professional Silent product page". Archived from the original on October 18, 2009. Retrieved 2009-10-31.
- "Das Keyboard Professional Mac". Retrieved 2016-05-13.
- "Das Keyboard 5Q: The Cloud Connected Keyboard". Kickstarter. Retrieved 2018-07-04.
- "DieFarbe". GitHub. Retrieved 2018-07-04.
- "r/linux - Das Keyboard banning users from the 5Q forums for mentions of open source". reddit. Retrieved 2018-08-08.
- Official Das Keyboard homepage
- The Tech Report: Das Keyboard comparison to the IBM Model M
- Das Keyboard Professional review on Ars Technica
- Das Keyboard review on Maximum PC
- Coverage of Das Keyboard on Slashdot
- Details regarding serious key transposition issue with Das Keyboard III
- Gadget Guys review of Das Keyboard
- Daniel Guermeur reveals that the Das Keyboard III may transpose keystrokes
- Original New York Times article