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Overview of Types of Keyboard
A keyboard is a compact electronic input device that allows users to input data into laptop and desktop computer systems. It is a versatile device available in various forms to cater to diverse user needs. One of the most common types of keyboard layouts is the QWERTY keyboard. However, other types of computer keyboards available in the market are specialized gaming keyboards, virtual keyboards, and multimedia-centric keyboards. These keyboards are distinguished by their key arrangement, size, shape, alphabets, numerics, symbols, and special characters.
The evolution of computer keyboards has largely replaced traditional typewriters. Keyboards provide users with the ability to correct errors effortlessly, using the backspace key for unlimited correction of mistakes. This advancement has elevated the keyboard to a fundamental tool in modern computing.
Let’s see all types of computer keyboards in detail with their names, functions & pictures.
Computer Keyboard Types
Types of Computer Keyboards
- QWERTY Keyboard
- Multimedia Keyboard
- Mechanical Keyboard
- Wireless Keyboard
- Virtual Keyboard
- USB Keyboards
- Projection Keyboard
- Colemak Keyboard
- AZERTY Keyboard
- Ergonomic Keyboard
- Chiclet Keyboard
- Thumb Keyboard
- Gaming Keyboard
- Membrane Keyboard
- Flexible Keyboard
- Laptop Sized Keyboard
- Backlit Keyboard
- Magic Keyboards
- Bluetooth Keyboard
- Chorded Keyboard
Types of Keyboard
Keyboards can be categorized based on their methods of connecting to a computer. These methods include wired, wireless, Bluetooth, and USB connections, offering flexibility in choosing compatible devices.
The initial design of typewriters featured a keyboard layout known as QWERTY, primarily due to the mechanical arrangement of the typebars.
Early computer keyboards adopted this QWERTY layout to ease the transition for typists. A keyboard can be categorized as QWERTY if it has the letters Q, W, E, R, T, and Y in the first row.
The QWERTY layout was developed to enhance typing efficiency by intentionally placing frequently paired letters as far apart as possible. This keyboard configuration has become the prevailing standard, widely adopted, and familiar to users. It requires a limited introduction due to its widespread use.
A multimedia keyboard comes with a complete set of buttons for controlling various media functions on a computer. These buttons contain essential actions such as play, pause, skipping to the previous or next track, adjusting volume levels (both increasing and decreasing), and mute audio output.
It has a separate button designated for launching media applications. Furthermore, some multimedia keyboards contain dedicated buttons for initiating email clients or web browsers.
Each function corresponds to its distinct button or can be activated via specific key combinations. It helps to enhance user convenience and efficiency.
A mechanical keyboard is an input device with physical buttons for every key. The spring-based key mechanism provides fast feedback and produces an audible click when users press the keys. Pressing a key initiates an electrical signal transmission to the connected computer, displaying the corresponding characters on the screen.
Professional gamers mostly favor mechanical keyboards because they enhance gaming performance. A Tap Counter can be employed to evaluate and enhance the typing skills on such a keyboard. When someone uses a mechanical keyboard, it gives a feel of using a typewriter.
Wireless keyboard uses radio frequency (RF) technology, Bluetooth, or infrared (IR) to communicate and connect with a host device such as a computer or smartphone. Due to their compact and lightweight design, it becomes highly portable.
Like wired keyboards, they do not require a direct physical connection to the parent system. A wireless keyboard has both a transmitter and a transceiver to enable wireless communication. The keyboard transmitter emits keystrokes in the form of radio waves, and the host device receives them through a transceiver.
One good advantage of wireless keyboards is their ability to operate effectively over long distances. It gives great flexibility and convenience to the user in their computing experience.
Mobile Virtual Keyboard
A virtual keyboard is a software program that displays a digital version of a standard keyboard on a screen. Users can type by clicking on the virtual keys with a mouse or touching them on a touchscreen. Importantly, a virtual keyboard has no physical parts like real keys.
Advanced technologies like augmented or virtual reality can create more advanced and futuristic virtual keyboards. These keyboards can appear on the screen when you need to type and disappear when you’re done. They adjust themselves automatically based on what you’re doing.
Additionally, a virtual keyboard can become part of the Windows operating system, giving users an on-screen keyboard to type with. It is especially helpful for people who need different ways to input text, making it more accessible and flexible.
Keyboards usually have two connector types: PS/2 and USB. Both depend on serial communication protocols to work. USB keyboards are connected to any device with a USB port and are widely compatible.
In comparison, desktop computers mainly use PS/2 connectors, while laptops typically require USB keyboards. Sometimes, when you reboot your system, it might not recognize the keyboard, causing inconvenience.
In such cases, it’s crucial to install the right drivers. These drivers act as intermediaries between the keyboard and the computer’s operating system to ensure smooth communication and keyboard functionality.
Projection keyboards are virtual input devices that lack physical components in their layout section. Instead, they depend on a compact handheld device that connects to a computer via Bluetooth or a USB cable.
This device projects a laser-generated keyboard layout onto a surface when we activate it. Users can interact with this projected keyboard just as a traditional keyboard.
Projection keyboards have a higher cost in comparison with normal keyboards. They require a flat and solid surface for accurate projection. Data accuracy may need to be revised, potentially resulting in input errors.
Colemak is a modern alternative to the conventional QWERTY and Dvorak keyboard layouts. Its primary purpose is to enhance typing efficiency and comfort by strategically positioning the most frequently used English letters on the central home row of the keyboard.
Developing proficiency in Colemak is a one-time investment. It promises the permanent benefits of faster and pain-free typing. As per the latest statistics, Colemak has confirmed its place as the third most favored keyboard layout for touch typing in English. It is just ranking after QWERTY and Dvorak.
The Colemak is readily available as a pre-installed option on Mac and Linux operating systems, making it easily accessible to users seeking an improved typing experience.
The AZERTY keyboard design is different from the English QWERTY layout. France and various European regions mainly use it. Some countries have unique adaptations of the AZERTY layout. Its nomenclature originates from the initial six consecutive letters that represent the top-left row of the keyboard.
In addition to rearranging letter placement, the AZERTY layout diverges from the QWERTY configuration in several important aspects.
This keyboard is mainly designed for dual-handed typists, focusing on enhancing user ergonomics. Its key advantage is reducing muscle strain and carpal tunnel syndrome risk. Its special design concentrates on minimizing finger and wrist stress. It significantly enhances the user’s typing speed and overall performance.
Chiclet Keyboard – Types of Keyboard
The term “Chiclet keyboard” draws inspiration from the famous chewing gum brand, Chiclet. These keyboards are distinguished by their distinctive small, square-shaped keys, which stand out due to their rounded corners instead of slanted edges.
What sets these keyboards apart is their diverse underlying technology. These devices employ a button design combined with switch membranes. This configuration has become ubiquitous across various electronic devices today.
Thumb keyboards, often known as small keyboards, are compact input devices specifically made for convenient operation using the thumbs. Users can easily hold these small keyboards in their hands, making them highly portable and suitable for use with handheld devices such as personal computers and mobile gadgets.
People most commonly use thumb keyboards for numerical calculations and gaming purposes because of their ergonomic design and ease of use.
Professional gamers depend on gaming keyboards to achieve peak performance. These specialized keyboards are equipped with additional keys for media control, feature an integrated display, and comfortable palm rest, ideal for extended gaming sessions.
Regarding key layout, gaming keyboards prioritize the essential W, S, D, A, and arrow keys, eliminating unnecessary mess. This streamlined design enhances portability and reduces hand and wrist strain, making it an ergonomic choice for gamers of all levels.
These keyboards employ pressure-sensitive pads and a flexible membrane surface adorned with character markings. This membrane keyboard design is described by its cost-effectiveness and is renowned for its near-flat profile.
Membrane keyboards are notably budget-friendly and emit minimal noise during typing. Nevertheless, their diminished precision in typing and gaming applications has declined their significance.
Flexible Keyboard – Types of Keyboard
Flexible keyboards are a fusion of laptop and traditional keyboard design. It is made from silicone, making them highly flexible. These keyboards have the extraordinary capability to bend and roll. Typically, they establish a connection via USB for seamless integration into various computing setups.
Laptop Sized Keyboard
Laptop-sized keyboards are engineered with a compact layout, which reduces the inter-key distance than standard keyboards. This design is suitable for laptops, where available space for the keyboard is limited.
One notable feature of laptop-sized keyboards is deleting the numeric keypad to accommodate the keyboard within the laptop’s compact space.
Backlit Keyboard – Types of Keyboard
Backlit keyboards are the best solution for low-light environments where visibility is less. These keyboards come equipped with backlighting options that provide an option for a single or coordinated color of light for the keys. They are mostly available in gaming and conventional keyboards.
Magic Keyboards – Types of Keyboard
Apple’s Magic Keyboards are the company’s wireless keyboard solution, distinguished by their clever design and Bluetooth connection. These keyboards include a rechargeable battery that eliminates the need for disposable batteries. While their premium quality and functionality are commendable, they can be relatively costly.
Bluetooth Keyboard – Types of Keyboard
Bluetooth keyboards use Bluetooth technology to connect with host devices. It frees up USB ports for additional functions. They require host devices to be equipped with a Bluetooth receiver. Bluetooth keyboards offer enhanced flexibility compared to their wired counterparts.
Chorded Keyboard – Types of Keyboard
Chorded keyboards, inspired by the concept of piano chords. It generates characters through the simultaneous pressing of specific key combinations. This small design makes them highly portable devices. Chorded keyboards became less famous due to their moderately challenging learning curve.
Conclusion – Types of Keyboard
Keyboards are important input devices for computers, playing a pivotal role in their functionality. The absence of a keyboard hampers the performance.
Keyboards find extensive application in gaming, multimedia control, and efficient execution of application shortcuts. Consequently, when considering the purchase of a keyboard, it is vital to distinguish your precise needs and identify the keyboard type that best aligns with those requirements.