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Crowd-sourced ThinkPad Keyboard Design Becomes a Reality

Lenovo is showing off their new ThinkPad External Keyboard to high praise from the public, but that's little wonder since the public is who designed it. Crowd-sourcing is going on in software development circles with some limited success, but crowd-designing is a whole new game entirely. Lenovo surveyed some 800 users to come up with suggestions on how to improve their keyboard. Taking these tips Lenovo went about updating their designs. The new keyboard, meant to be paired with the diminutive ThinkPad notebooks, provides added comfort during long typing sessions on laptop computers. Conversely, ThinkPad users can attach it to a desktop PC to retain the familiarity of your laptop.

The changes over the previous versions are subtle and far from revolutionary. However, they are different enough from more commonplace keyboards that it might inspire more creativity in this stagnant interface. The Delete and Escape keys have been enlarged. The touchpad has been completely eschewed in deference to the TrackPoint touchstick. It's spill resistant, having drain holes that run through the keyboard to keep liquids from pooling into sensitive areas. Also gone is the numeric keypad (like the Apple Keyboard), which for some reason remains upside down as a vestigial comfort to users of the 10-key adding machine. Meanwhile phones and every other keypad are arrange the opposite way. At the end of the list, the removals outweigh the additions, leaving it with a lower price tag which is always the right direction for numbers to go. Pick one up at Lenovo's store for $59.

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