Preonic prototyping, keyboard restock, and more Keyboardio news

Our most popular Model 100 is back in stock!

Hello from Berkeley!

If you've been waiting to buy a Model 100 with Kailh's excellent silent tactile keyswitches and a walnut enclosure, we've got good news. We've got plenty of them back in stock for immediate shipment. You can buy one! 

These were sold out for a bit, but we did the digital equivalent of finding them in a corner of the warehouse. (We'd made it so our store "saw" a lower inventory number, so that we could hold back some in reserve for Kickstarter backers who were late filling out their survey. And then a year or so later we normalized it for all of the configurations except for this one.)

As of this writing, all 8 versions of the Model 100 are back in stock, although some, like the BOX Silent Tactile / Maple version may be sold out by the time you read this. Maple Model 100s are in relatively limited supply. If you want one, now is the time to buy it. We're in the process of placing the next Model 100 production order and won't be making any Maple keyboards this time. Instead, we're making a special edition "all-cherry" Model 100, pairing gorgeous cherry hardwood and Cherry's latest made-in-Germany keyswitches. 

The Atreus

The Atreus is currently in stock. Right now, you can pick one up with Speed Copper, Speed Silver, Speed Bronze, BOX White, or Noble Yellow switches. Or, you can grab a “bare bones” Atreus without switches or caps. We're expecting to have other keyswitch variants back in stock by sometime in late April.


We're in the process of overhauling to look and feel more like a modern online store. That means that we hired an actual designer and a Shopify specialist to make everything look great, work well, and to help us sell more keyboards to folks who don't yet know that they want one. We've got a professional photo shoot coming up in a few weeks. There's one more thing the folks helping us out have asked for: they'd like us to start collecting proper reviews of the Model 100 and the Atreus from customers.

We're still working through the details, but if you've bought a keyboard from us in the past few years, we'll be emailing you to ask if you'd be willing to share why you love your keyboard.

If you want to go the extra mile, a picture or video of your desk setup is really helpful for people being able to picture what keyboards will look like in their own space.


Over the past few months, we've been hard at work on a major update to Chrysalis, our graphical configuration tool for our keyboards. 

The new version of Chrysalis improves communication with your keyboard and significantly updates the user experience to be simpler and more discoverable.

You no longer need to download or install Chrysalis. The latest version is now on the web at and should work in Chrome, Edge, Arc, Brave, or any other browser that supports the WebSerial and WebUSB standards. (As of right now, Chromium-derived browsers are the only ones that support those standards.)

The Preonic


Above is our most recent prototype—it's not quite what we have planned for production, but we're getting close!

We're hard at work on the Preonic. We've got a mechanical design for the keyboard, a first draft of the keycap legends, and have started work on the firmware and version 2 of the circuit board.

At this point, you're probably asking something like "Version 2? What happened to version 1?"

Well, that's a funny story.

The last time we wrote about the Keyboardio Preonic, we talked a little bit about our plans for the keyboard's featureset and firmware. One of the things we'd mentioned at the time was that we expected the keyboard to ship with QMK, an alternative to our Kaleidoscope firmware. (Spoiler: things have changed!)

A big part of that plan was based on our understanding of the current bluetooth chip market and our factory's belief that they had a partner who specialized in QMK and Bluetooth and who could take care of the Preonic's electronics.

Last fall, Jesse sat down with our factory and the folks from the electronics vendor to talk about how this all might work. They explained that since mainline QMK doesn't support Bluetooth, they used a secondary bluetooth controller chip and set QMK up to talk to that chip. We, of course, asked if we could have the source code for the bluetooth controller. It wouldn't be fair to say that they laughed in our faces. But it was...uncomfortable. 

Jesse eventually said something along the lines of "so you'll only give us binaries for the program for the Bluetooth controller." And there was another uncomfortable silence. Eventually, they explained that no, they would only sell us preprogrammed chips with the Bluetooth firmware.

"What if you decide to increase the price or decide to stop selling us those preprogrammed chips?"

"We wouldn't do that."

That was about the point at which Jesse started to smile and nod. Because this...did not seem like a viable path forward. But maybe we could write our own firmware for the Bluetooth chip.

The vendor told us they were willing to make a sample circuit board for the Preonic without any up-front charge, to show off how well it worked.

Reader, it did not work well. 

In mid-December, the sample showed up at our workshop in Berkeley.

After a couple days of prodding at it, we did manage to get it to send keystrokes to the computer over both bluetooth and USB, but it was pretty fragile.

Some of the issues we thought we might be able to fix by updating the build of QMK on the main microcontroller. So we asked our factory to ask the vendor for the version and configuration of QMK they used to build the firmware. 

Their first response floored us. "No. That's how we earn our living. If we give that away, how will we eat?"

We...pointed out that QMK is GPLed and that this was a license violation. 

They eventually sent over some configuration files and code for their build of the Preonic. They had a third-party copyright statement and...were missing all the code to talk to the Bluetooth chip. 

We asked what was going on and the vendor basically told us that this bit was their IP and they were never going to share it.

That wasn't acceptable to us.

And so we were back to square one on the electronics and firmware side. 

That gave us the opportunity to step back and look at the current state of the bluetooth controller market in early 2024. And things are a lot better than they were a year ago. It's a lot easier to get well-regarded chips like Nordic's nRF52840. 

We still haven't made a final call on what firmware will be running on the Preonic when it ships, but it does look like our best path to something we can provide good support for is to port Kaleidoscope to this new chip. Over the past month, we've gotten Kaleidoscope + USB running on the nRF52840. Next up is adding Bluetooth support to Kaleidoscope.

We're also starting to think about accessories for the Preonic. Right now, a travel case and a wooden desk tray are top of mind, but if there's anything specific you'd like to see, please drop us a line.

We're currently hoping to launch a crowdfunding campaign for the Preonic sometime in the first half of this year.

The Model 101

When the factory sent us the sample Preonic, they also sent over a 3D-printed mechanical prototype of what will become the Model 101.


The form factor is good, but it's not yet perfect. 

Now that we've gotten to put our hands on it, we're going to adjust the tilt angles just a little bit to allow you to hold your arms in a slightly more neutral position.

It's still our plan to use the same controller and firmware stack for the Preonic and the Model 101 (and possibly a future revision of the Atreus).

By the time we've gotten the Model 101's physical layout a bit better sorted out, the electrical design for the Preonic should be a bit further along and we should be able to reuse that work as we do the electrical design for the Model 101.

As of right now, the *earliest* we expect to launch a crowdfunding campaign for the Model 101 is three to six months after the Preonic campaign.

<3 Jesse + Kaia

P.S. If you read all this way, thank you! The discount code SPRINGFORWARD will take $10 off any keyboard order through the end of the month.

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