Hello from Berkeley!
You might not know it from the weather, but fall's here and no matter whether you're headed back to the office or back to school, it's a great time to treat yourself to a new keyboard. Now's a great time to pick up a new Atreus or Model 100. You can use coupon code SEPTEMBER2023 to take 10% off a new keyboard.
Over the past few months, we've been pretty quiet while we've been gearing up for our next few projects. We’ve also been busy settling into our new place, having moved about half a mile north to Berkeley early this summer. Our new workshop and office are still coming together, but we’ve now got a lot more space for the keyboard collection.
We're quite pleased to be able to tell you about a couple of the next things that we're doing.
First up is a collab with Jack Humbert and OLKB!
The Keyboardio Preonic
We're partnering with OLKB to manufacture and distribute a fully-assembled version of their beloved Preonic ortholinear keyboard.
Starting with the design language we first created for the Keyboardio Atreus, we've been working with Jack Humbert, the Preonic's creator, to hone every aspect of the new keyboard's design, from the configurable 59/60 key matrix of the traditional Preonic layout to a new 3 key command cluster in the keyboard's top right corner. All keys will, of course, be hot-swappable.
The Keyboardio Preonic will be our first bluetooth keyboard, as well as our first keyboard that ships with preinstalled QMK firmware and VIA configurator support right out of the box.
We've got the industrial design and high-level specs for the keyboard just about locked down, but still have a bit of work to do before it's ready for sale.
We expect to launch a crowdfunding campaign for preorders for the Keyboardio Preonic this winter. If you want to be alerted the moment the campaign goes live and aren't already on our mailing list, subscribe now.
We'll be detailing more about the design, pricing, and optional accessories in future updates.
The Model 101
At the same time, we've been working on a single-piece version of the Model 100, dubbed the Model 101. This new keyboard will share the exact same key layout and keycaps as the Model 100, but housed in a gently-tented plastic shell. We're expecting the Model 101 to be a more affordable intro to our sculpted key layout you know and love.
As of right now, we're expecting the new Model 101 to ship with cushioned palm rests which nestle into the recessed circles you see in the photo above. Right now, we're *hoping* to offer a Bluetooth option for the Model 101, but we're not going to make the final call on that until we have a bit of experience with the bluetooth module on the Preonic.
We expect to offer the Model 101 in a few different colors including a shiny electric-guitar red, a stealth black, and another as-yet-unselected color.
The Model 101 has been a bit further along than the Preonic, but over the past couple of weeks, Preonic development has raced ahead of the Model 101 and we're currently expecting crowdfunding for the Model 101 to kick off *after* we launch the Preonic.
The Box Of Crap
Next month, for the first time since December 2019, Jesse's headed back to China to visit the factory to work on finalizing a number of details for both new keyboards. If you've been with us a while, you may be familiar with our side project, the famed Box of Crap.
It's often the case that work at the factory is a mix of busy 16 hour days and....days when we're just waiting for suppliers or engineers to do their thing. One of the ways Jesse passes the time is by wandering around Shenzhen's famous Huaqiangbei market area looking for cool, weird stuff. A couple times now, we've sent him into the markets with thousands of dollars to buy the weirdest, most interesting stuff he could for you.
Previous Boxes of Crap have included all manner of weird stuff, including mini-drones, guaranteed-fake SD cards that let you write 4x the amount of data you can read from them, glasses that let you look around corners, strange cables, and fidget spinners (a month before they became ultra-popular).
You can read an account of our *first* Box of Crap adventure here: https://shift.newco.co/2016/
We haven't always made money on the Box of Crap, but it's always been an adventure. We're going to try changing things up a bit this time - we're planning on using our fulfillment service to pick and pack everything and expect to use their ultra-discounted rates to ship to the US. Even so, shipping rates are a...large part of the cost of the project. In the past, we've paid over $20 for the shipping on $50 Boxes of Crap and there's always been more cool stuff that we've wanted to send folks than we had budget for.
We're currently expecting to be able to ship 100 Boxes of Crap this time around—that's around the largest number of orders we think we'd be able to manage easily buying from the resellers in the markets of Huaqiangbei.
To be sure we get you the best possible crap this time around (without losing money on the project), we're upping our budget a bit. This time, Boxes of Crap will be $100 each, including shipping to the US. (For customs and logistical reasons, we're only shipping Boxes of Crap to the US this time.) Our *goal* is to earn $20 of profit per box, to pay $25 or less of shipping per box, and to spend the rest on useless junk you'll find mildly amusing. None of this stuff will come with any warranty. It's exceedingly likely that the box will contain items known to the State of California to cause cancer.
Next month, once Jesse is on the ground in China, we'll send out email to our mailing list announcing when Boxes of Crap will be going on sale.
<3 Jesse + Kaia