Keyboards don’t have to be purely functional. They’re potentially one of the biggest statement pieces a desk can have. They sit front and centre for one, and are often one of the most visually interesting peripherals, especially if you’re a fan of artisan keycaps (opens in new tab), or fun ones like these adorable rubber ducks (opens in new tab).
Modern keyboards are often a colour-shifting RGB feast sitting right at the front of your desk. So why not just make the whole thing a screen? Or include a CPU and GPU that can run Unreal Engine? Why not indeed, says Finalmouse, makers of the upcoming Centerpiece keyboard that does exactly this.
The announcement video for the Centrepiece (spotted by The Register (opens in new tab)) is embedded at the top of this article, and really shows off the idea. Displaying a whole interactive screen behind crystal clear keys gives an amazing visual. Not only are the animations beautiful, but it can respond to key presses. LED-lit keyboards can have modes to do this today, but it definitely hits different when the result is rippling water as opposed to just coloured lights.
Aside from looking really freaking cool, Centrepiece doesn’t give us a lot of info in this video, which is a bit of a red flag, but the switches are set to be the result of a collaboration with Gateron, a Chinese brand that fans compare to some Cherry switches (opens in new tab). They’re featured in some of our favourite cheaper gaming keyboards (opens in new tab) on offer. Analog switches are also planned down the line, but for now we’re just waiting to see one of these in action at all.
Featuring a CPU, GPU, and clear graphical capabilities, the Centrepiece ends up looking a bit more like a weird all-in-one PC rather than just a keyboard. When you consider that, the $349 USD price tag makes a bit of sense. That’s a pricy keyboard, but given how flashy it looks it could be worth it. Or, depending on the actual capabilities of this unit it could be a very cheap and unique PC.
Either way, I really want one. If it is anything at all like the video, the Centrepiece will be beautiful. There are little minigames you can play in the keyboard, and it even boasts a skin store, though that seems a little early. Still, it could take those in-game keyboard effects to a new level I’d be very keen to see.
Even if it’s not everything the video promises, which is very likely, it’s a cool idea and I’m always keen to see more of those. Especially if they help to bring a nice aesthetic touch to the world of gaming. I’m hoping to have digital fish swimming around my keyboard when the Centrepiece launches sometime in 2023.