A collaboration with industry giant Intel Corp. has resulted in Key Tronic Corp.’s newest computer keyboard product.
Spokane-based Key Tronic Tuesday displayed the world’s first keyboard offering a “Universal Serial Bus” (USB) interface at the USB Developers Conference in Santa Clara, Calif.
The USB feature is based on an Intel-developed USB “controller” that was also introduced at the conference Tuesday. Intel is among the world’s leading manufacturers of the newest generations of microchips upon which computers are based.
“We think this is the coming industry standard,” Anja Krammer, Key Tronic’s director of marketing, said in a Tuesday interview. “Intel developed this technology and we are putting it into our keyboard. There are very few other keyboard manufacturers, probably none at this point, who can do that.”
The keyboard provides a port for any low-frequency device - such as a mouse, trackball or scanner - that now must be plugged into the computer. The result should be fewer cumbersome cables.
Key Tronic will offer the new keyboard to a broad range of its original equipment manufacturer customers. Its significance to Key Tronic’s bottom line will depend on how quickly and how extensively the industry moves to USB technology.
“We’re not sure of the immediate result, because it’s new technology,” Krammer said. “But in the long-term, it could have a significant impact.
“By fall,” she added, “with think this technology is going to represent a pretty big explosion.”
Key Tronic is the world’s largest producer of computer keyboards. It has design centers in Spokane and Dundalk, Ireland. The company operates manufacturing facilities in Spokane, Dundalk, Las Cruces, N.M., and Juarez, Mexico.