Kinesis Freestyle Edge, the freestyle2 gone mechanical

User avatar
blighty

07 Mar 2017, 21:59

I liked the original freestyle boards, with their split boards and tenting options. Now, Kinesis has revamped things by adding mechanical switches, and doing a kickstarter.

https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/29 ... g-keyboard
5e6e068da1e27ac152d5ed3e0adb0668_original.png
5e6e068da1e27ac152d5ed3e0adb0668_original.png (478.71 KiB) Viewed 1615 times
I've already backed the MX red version, due to my love of normal staggered split ergo boards. I admit, I won't use most of the bells and whistles that come with it, but having the options are nice. Anyone else ready for an easily accessible ergonomic option?

davkol

07 Mar 2017, 22:19


User avatar
blighty

07 Mar 2017, 22:38

davkol wrote: So, this finally happens.
Every couple of months I'd wonder what happened with this. At least it's not vapourware like so many other projects, right?

Findecanor

07 Mar 2017, 23:10

Buying two or six at once is cheaper per unit ...

Hmm. All rows the same OEM profile, except for space bar.

User avatar
blighty

08 Mar 2017, 22:44

Findecanor wrote: Buying two or six at once is cheaper per unit ...

Hmm. All rows the same OEM profile, except for space bar.
With all the rows the same, Colemak and Dvorak layouts are now easily swapped to. I think I may try out those layouts when this ships. With the LEDs on the top of the switch instead of the bottom, cherry/gmk caps may have some interference/rubbing on the inside of the caps. I believe that JTK keycaps account for this, but I won't know for sure until the board ships.

One day into the kickstarter, and it's already 44% funded ($22k out of $50K). I hope the momentum keeps going. They say that production has already started, but a successful kickstarter would definitely have these come to market quicker.

Findecanor

08 Mar 2017, 23:10

I would have been very tempted if it had been available in ISO.

User avatar
kekstee

09 Mar 2017, 12:11

Yeah, LED in top position is likely to cause a problem with all thicker keycap sets you would want to use.
Another downside is the 1.75 bottom row RCtrl. They could have easily gone for a more regular

Code: Select all

1.25 1.25 1.25 3    3    1.5  1.5  1 1 1
instead of

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1.5  1    1.25 3    3    1.25 1.75 1 1 1
That being said it looks like a solid split keyboard. The only readily available alternative would be the Matias Ergo Pro, right? (and the keycaps on that one came straight from an alien spaceship)

User avatar
Wodan
ISO Advocate

09 Mar 2017, 12:31

The design looks like someone with no ambition copied the VE.A ... and then scaled it down for cost reduction hehehe

Naw I'm just being mean.

What's up with established companies doing Kickstarters to bring their products to market?
To me this sounds like we should be worried about their financial liquidity ...

Then again I am generally _NOT_ a fan of hardware Kickstarter campaigns. Quite a number of them fail and the money goes poof while the ones that don't fail will usually soon sell their products very close to a good backer price. And you save yourself the whole risk ...

This picture made me smile:
Image

Okay yeah thanks would have never thought of that. How about the "Sandwich" arrangement?

What sounds really good is the optional tenting stand, this is a must-buy with this keyboard if you ask me.
Image


And this picture is really useless. Finally a keyboard so small, even a person that was born without shoulders can comfortably play:
Image

Seriously why shit on the 60%? Not aware of anyone who ever said "gawd damn those 60% are too wide for my gaming".

But I love some of the attention to detail they are showing. Instead of making some of the secondary buttons a little rubbermat, they are using ML switches for MACRO and REMAP buttons ...

Guess I like it more than I originally thought, just makes me wonder why it's gotta be a kickstarter when there are SO many prominent hardware Kickstarter campaigns that have gone south ...

User avatar
Norman_

09 Mar 2017, 12:59

Wodan wrote: The design looks like someone with no ambition copied the VE.A ... and then scaled it down for cost reduction hehehe

Naw I'm just being mean.

What's up with established companies doing Kickstarters to bring their products to market?
To me this sounds like we should be worried about their financial liquidity ...

Then again I am generally _NOT_ a fan of hardware Kickstarter campaigns. Quite a number of them fail and the money goes poof while the ones that don't fail will usually soon sell their products very close to a good backer price. And you save yourself the whole risk ...

This picture made me smile:
Image

Okay yeah thanks would have never thought of that. How about the "Sandwich" arrangement?

What sounds really good is the optional tenting stand, this is a must-buy with this keyboard if you ask me.
Image


And this picture is really useless. Finally a keyboard so small, even a person that was born without shoulders can comfortably play:
Image

Seriously why shit on the 60%? Not aware of anyone who ever said "gawd damn those 60% are too wide for my gaming".

But I love some of the attention to detail they are showing. Instead of making some of the secondary buttons a little rubbermat, they are using ML switches for MACRO and REMAP buttons ...

Guess I like it more than I originally thought, just makes me wonder why it's gotta be a kickstarter when there are SO many prominent hardware Kickstarter campaigns that have gone south ...
They're not shitting on anything, they're just pointing out how it gives you more room

User avatar
Wodan
ISO Advocate

09 Mar 2017, 13:02

Norman_ wrote: They're not shitting on anything, they're just pointing out how it gives you more room
Still I think the comparison of HALF their keyboard with a 60% is a little far fetched ...

Comparing it to the "classic" gaming keyboards in TKL and Fullsize proves their point very well.

User avatar
kekstee

09 Mar 2017, 14:08

I think the comparison isn't that far fetched. I certainly managed to hit even a 60% board with my mouse.
So, just moving half your keyboard out of the way is an interesting proposition if you're only going to use your left hand 99% of the time in some game.

User avatar
Wodan
ISO Advocate

09 Mar 2017, 14:53

Maybe ... you should go ...
Spoiler:
40%!!!

Findecanor

09 Mar 2017, 16:07

40% keyboards are still wider.

There is a category of keyboards that are just for gaming, just for the left hand. They show that the Kinesis Freestyle Edge can work just as well as one of those.

User avatar
vivalarevolución
formerly prdlm2009

10 Mar 2017, 00:21

Finally, after years of teasing. But how long will it be until the keyboard is produced after the kickstarter campaign? We all know how long a kickstarter usually takes. However, Kinesis already has a real company with an established manufacturing pipeline, so hopefully that will speed things along.

User avatar
blighty

10 Mar 2017, 21:57

vivalarevolución wrote: Finally, after years of teasing. But how long will it be until the keyboard is produced after the kickstarter campaign? We all know how long a kickstarter usually takes. However, Kinesis already has a real company with an established manufacturing pipeline, so hopefully that will speed things along.
According to the marketingspeak on the kickstarter page, they've already begun the motions of production for this board.

Code: Select all

Surprise, the manufacturing process is already underway! These are our best guesses at the timing for the major milestones. We will provide ongoing updates to all of our backers along with a behind-the-scenes perspective into manufacturing this unique keyboard.

[b]January[/b]: Received bids from three potential manufacturing partners for the project. Chose to use our current Taiwanese partner who has been building Freestyle office keyboards for us in China since 2007. They have a ton of experience making gaming keyboards for some of the biggest names on the planet and are obviously familiar with the unique challenges of manufacturing split keyboards. So when we saw the bids were similar, it was a pretty easy choice.

[b]February[/b]: Worked with factory on "Tooling Review" process to finalize CAD specs for the injection-molded pieces, the metal plate design, the cable specs, and the PCB design. Focus was on "strain reliefs", case attachment points, cable management, plate-to-case mounting, and overall tolerances.

March: Manufacturer has ordered mold bases and will begin making the molds. Kinesis is conducting several rounds of FCC pre-testing to optimize the electronic design for radio-frequency emissions, then finalize PCB and electronic design. Kinesis will begin beta-testing the firmware using rapid-prototype keyboard electronics and enclosures. Kinesis will ship key electronic components (programmed microcontrollers and dataflash chips) consigned for the initial small production run in June.

April: Kinesis will finalize and provide the factory with artwork for product silkscreening and keycap laser legending. Kinesis will receive "T1" molded samples (aka "Test 1") from the factory. These samples are used to confirm the fit of all the molded parts.The initial molds will probably need to be tweaked over several weeks. Beta testing will continue to refine the firmware and the SmartSet App.

May: "T2" as well as possibly "T3" samples of molded enclosures will be shipped to Kinesis. Keycap and cable samples should also be received during this time. "Sample Run" of ~10 keyboards (untextured) will be produced. Factory will use some of these to conduct FCC and CE testing. Kinesis will receive a few of these for internal review and for final beta testing. Beta testing will conclude in late May and v1.0.0 of the firmware will be finalized. Once the mold is completely dialed-in it will be textured, then a small run of parts is used to create a few "golden sample" keyboards. The factory keeps one, one is express-shipped to Kinesis for approval.

June: Kinesis will receive a "Golden Sample" from the factory. The Golden Sample represents the fully-finished production keyboard. Once the Golden Sample is approved by Kinesis, the factory then schedules the initial small production Run of "First Edition" keyboards for late June or early July.

July-August: Kinesis receives the "First Edition" keyboards from the factory by air shipment. To minimize the lead time, the factory will have installed chips shipped by Kinesis in March with an early firmware version and we will use the on-board bootloader to individually update every "First Edition" keyboard to v1.0.0 firmware after the keyboards have arrived at Kinesis in July. Kinesis distributes keyboards to the 210 "First Edition" backers.

September-October: Factory produces the first full "Mass Production" run.  Kinesis receives first "Mass Production" run by ocean and distributes keyboards to all other backers.
Who knows if they'll be able to keep up with this timeline. I am hard pressed to think of any pre-order/group buy that I've been apart of went ahead without any hiccups, but with any luck, the Kinesis team and their manufacturing partners have their shit together. I know that Kinesis has put in at least a year and a half of time/effort into research and surveys to access what people want/need in a mechanical version of the freestyle board. With that much time invested, I doubt they would let that effort go to waste. I'm hoping that the kickstarter is just to speed up the process of bringing it to market, and not a determinant as to whether they will be produced.

Numbers are looking good so far I think, with 195 backers pledging $30,444 out of the $50k needed to proceed. With any luck, the numbers will keep pouring in over the next 27 days.

Edit: up to 259 backers @ $41,005 out of $50k with 24 days left. :D

On the plus side, Kinesis mentioned that'd they'd look into implementing an ISO layout in 2018. Considering how many DIY pcb kits support both ANSI and ISO layouts, I'm sure they could easily make universal pcbs/plates for both layouts. I wonder how much interest in ISO would it take for them to green light the adaption?

User avatar
vivalarevolución
formerly prdlm2009

15 Mar 2017, 16:00

Kinesis's timelines have been very hopeful in the past, so I won't hold my breath. Do kickstarters ever deliver on time?

User avatar
fruitalgorithm

15 Mar 2017, 21:36

This kickstarter could just be part of marketing before the product launches.

User avatar
fruitalgorithm

15 Mar 2017, 21:47

It could turn out to be a pretty great idea to have one keyboard that targets two markets: ergonomic and gamers

It's always great to see more ergonomic keyboards in general.

User avatar
Compgeke

16 Mar 2017, 04:56

If I had to guess I'd say Kickstarter is being used as an interest check for it. It's one thing to get x amount of people to say "Yeah I want one" but if you can get paying customers before production it's easier to make sure you aren't wasting your time and end up with a bunch of unsold keyboards.

User avatar
fruitalgorithm

16 Mar 2017, 12:13

What I really like about this is that they provide a good solution for tenting and tilting. That's missing from many other split keyboards sadly. The Ergodox EZ's legs weren't that great when I tried them. The Matias Ergo Pro has legs but they are limited.

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