Sony KDB-1 / HB-F500 keyboard

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20 Feb 2020, 16:43

This interesting gem just arrived in the mail from Japan.

After a bit of research this keyboard appears to belong to the Sony HB-F500 computer and happens to have SMK spring over dome switches just like the Canon S-59 typewriter. These switches are pretty nice if you ask me.

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Note: Bad lighting and might look grey but is actually white.
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20 Feb 2020, 19:22

Nice! Those are switches that I think many would like if they got a chance to try them.

I am fascinated by that Japanese layout — which is not JIS. It is quite logical and easy to follow but not at all optimised for finger movement...
The reason why the . and / keys are not grey is apparently because the colouring follows that layout.
The two Kana "alphabets" in Japanese are syllabic: a consonant sound followed by a vowel sound, and the columns and rows correspond (roughly) to consonants and vowels respectively. The three grey keys in a row are Ya, Yu and Yo — but there are no "Yi" or "Ye" in Japanese. Thus, there are only three grey keys on that row.
(Only Ya is in the "correct" column though. Wa, Wo, Ra, Ri, Ru, Re, Ro, N and the "Dakuten" diacritic for soft consonants are to the right of the grey keys)
Edit: I have only found one reference to the layout: here it is called "ANSI Hiragana Mode". Apparently, there were also MSX machines that did have JIS instead.

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20 Feb 2020, 23:33

Interesting! I have a quite similar Sony, a KI9700, that I just wrote a prelim on, as it happens. Don't like the switches much though xD . They're much better outside the keyboard!

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