Keyboard Contains Entire Mini PC, Just BYOD

Exploded view of a mini PC built into a keyboard.

When we talk about keyboards that do it all, we usually mean either big ones with lots of keys and doodads like rotary encoders and displays, or small ones with lots of layers (and usually a few doodads, too). But this — this is something else entirely. Chinese PC maker Linglong have crammed an entire mini PC into a keyboard that’s small enough to fit in your back pocket. Oh, and it folds, too. All you need is a display.

Why do you need a display? Why not include one, if you’re going to wedge everything else in there? Well, the company envisions its users pairing it with a VR or AR glasses. But we can see use cases far beyond ownership of special spectacles, of course.

For instance, office work. Linglong says this key-puter (you read it here first) will last up to ten hours for light use, and nearly six hours for watching movies, but heavy use will have you down to four hours, which really isn’t that bad.

Spec-wise, it looks pretty good, with an AMD Ryzen 7 and either 16 or 32 GB of memory and a half- or full-terabyte hard drive. The whole thing is around 4 x 6″ (15 x 10cm), presumably in the folded orientation, and weighs less than two pounds (800 g). The projected cost is $400-500 depending on specs.

Unfortunately, this little key-puter isn’t available just yet. There are just 200 units available for Beta testing, and no, we don’t have one!

Main and thumbnail images via Linglong

51 thoughts on “Keyboard Contains Entire Mini PC, Just BYOD

        1. That is actually a negative factors.

          Folding – moving parts, bad keyboard (I have yet to see good folding keyboard), and not being generally sturdy enough for a pocket.

      1. Or the t/s 1000 or maybe even the Apple IIc or , admittedly stretching the definition, the Apple IIe

        Seems like a good thing to just slam into any old TV that happens to be nearby, plus hotels, etc, and leaving the display behind leaves the most delicate part out of the picture.

    1. Harrumph.
      Recently there was a post about importing Kicad boards into CAD, for modelling. I made a comment about making a PCB that fits under a pre-made keyboard PCB, inside the case.
      This improves on that, by making the whole thing foldable.

      I never got past choosing between Keychron K3, and Nuphy Air75, as the one to buy (and modify). There’s a moral about budgets and indecision in that, somewhere.

    1. Only if you consider the wetware to be a “component”. Which it maybe would be?

      A cyberdeck is a computer made from multiple separate components, that are assembled on-site, then disassembled after use and moved.

      A slabtop with a headset is certainly a cyberdeck, so maybe a keyputer that you need to plug into your head to get a display might also be one.

    2. Imagine the DRM involved with that.
      “user agrees to permantly disable audio output function of organic display device , other anti-copy protections may include repetative memory loss”
      The upgrade cycle for the display is gonna be a bit harsh and pricey too!

      1. Grafitti was ahead of its time, but somehow still a product of its time.

        I want to see the folding mechanism in real life. That’s one of those mechanisms where the renders look great, and then physics and friction sneak up on you.

          1. Graffiti was a special set of glyphs used on a product line called Palm Pilot. Thes was like 20 to 30 years ago now. It allowed you to basically write input into your device with a stylus. True character recognition was beyond the capability of most handheld devices at the time but a known set of glyphs allowed you to write your thoughts down. I had a Kyocera
            SmartPhone 6035 that was a Palm phone. I used the cellular modem to dial into some old BBS’s and play L.O.R.D. and some other cool content.

            I hella miss that phone.

    1. In nearly 20 years, Hackaday has _never_ run an ad that isn’t obviously an ad, i.e. those things you see in the banners.

      Legally speaking, we would be required to mark it prominently as an ad / promotion / whatever. If you don’t see any labels like that, you can assume that one of our writers found it themselves and genuinely thought it was neat. If you’re surprised that Kristina found a “keyputer”, and that she thought it was cool, you don’t know her very well…

      Our editorial independence is something that we’re extremely proud of here, and it’s also something that requires _constant_ effort to maintain.

      I understand your general cynicism, of course, and it’s absolutely good practice to ask yourself if what you’re reading/hearing/watching has been paid for. But here at Hackaday, it isn’t.

    1. A desktop form factor game console with a keyboard and mouse, and external storage is a reverse Steamdeck.

      Not a PC.
      Not a controller interface.
      Not an integrated monitor.
      Not portable.

    1. Exactly what I came for. Needs trackpoint. And I already have Xreal (Nreal?) Air. But probably would use Quest 2 for display. Was hoping it would add something beyond my GPD Win Max 2.

      I don’t really need a keyboard, especially if it’s not coming with trackpoint. Although I can see why it would be very difficult to get a trackpoint in the fold there.

      1. How is the n/xreal air? I have a Steam Deck and it *seems* like the perfect addon. I’d never buy the facebook quest personally, considering the demand by facebook to upload a picture of your passport.

        1. I second that feedback request and add: what about text?

          Some reviews claim text is hard to read on nreal/real.
          Have you used them to watch a video, with subtitles?

          1. I have a set of Xreal glasses and initially I thought text was hard to read. Then it occurred to me that the virtual display is a lot farther away than laptop displays, and I usually wear glasses for distance vision. After getting (surprisingly cheap!) prescription lenses for the video glasses, text is crystal clear even in small font. Subtitles are easily visible. Biggest downside I’d say is the limited FoV.

    1. Don’t shout it, but their next project is a tyreputer. A true computer in your tyre, with reallife IP communication via the tyre pressure wireless sensor protocol and a POV display on the wheel (that’s only visible when you’re driving).

  1. All that and it has a hard drive and not an SSD? I feel like that’s a big mistake on their part. Why would you want to have storage in there with moving parts?

    1. I believe it is a NVME drive – so solid state.
      Though for me that isn’t a big deal if it isn’t – the right type of modern HDD is pretty good for portable use now and still offers capacity and price that is attractive. I’d far rather a slower storage device that can hold everything I’d want on such a machine than having to rely on an internet connection.

  2. I somewhat doubt this will be nice to use, it looks like the cooling isn’t going to up to the task really. It might be safe to use, but I expect it is going to get a bit toasty to touch and probably sound like a jet engine. Sure its not a hugely hot running APU, but with only half of the unit to dissipate the heat and all the hot components in that side…

    I am kind of curious though, and if they have put in the work to create a power profile that works well enough while not overwelming the cooling it could be quite handy. I think I’d still rather stick a Pi or Framework style computer in a box and use a ‘real’ keyboard though – laptop style keyboards are rarely that nice to use. Or perhaps with the expectation of AR/VR for display lean into that and do all the HID externally – the steam controller typing experience is pretty darn good for what it is as an example.

    1. How about the TI-99/4 or TI-99/4a

      TI’s basic interpreter is superior to Commodore’s Vic 20 or C-64. There was a cartridge for the c64 called Simon’s BASIC that added many missing pleasantries. (The renumber command alone is worth buying that cartridge…)

  3. Other than the pi units mentioned, none of those pieces of kit mentioned are not keyputers. They are computers with a keyboard on top.
    Do the pi units have batteries?

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