Our pal Kevin Tofel has been busy digging around the FCC website and in doing so has discovered what clearly appears to be a new, Chrome OS-specific keyboard from Logitech. For years, Logitech has been our go-to for wireless input devices thanks to their very handy Unified Receiver setup that uses a tiny dongle to pair your peripherals.
Kevin discovered the new keyboard in the Chromium repository under the code name ‘Kata’ and connected it to Logitech based on the attached vendor ID.
udev: Set keyboard layout 2 for kata
Kata keyboard uses layout 2.
TEST=Attach Kata via bluetooth and via USB. Check that top row works properly.
Further investigation led him to the FCC listing of an unannounced device from Logitech. This keyboard just passed through the FCC a couple of weeks ago but there wasn’t concrete evidence that it is, in fact, the ‘Kata’ device found in the aforementioned commit.
Being equally as curious as we are, Mr. Tofel then turned to Bluetooth certifications. After all, this is a Bluetooth keyboard. If it is nearing production, it would have to be listed in the Bluetooth archives.
What he found was nothing short of a smoking gun. You can see in the image below, Logitech has just certified the Multi-Device ChromeOS Edition K580.
A closer look at the Bluetooth certification gives us even more detail of the new device and even a platform name.
A beautiful simple keyboard created for people to fall in love with at first sight. It targets a design-discerning millennial who is looking for basic functions but who is willing to invest a little more to get the design aesthetic that they love. Samui combines a modern, elegant, minimalist tech design with no compromise on productivity or quality.
The image at top of this article is of the Logitech K480. This model is currently available but I, like Kevin, believe the new Chrome OS keyboard could fall in the same realm of design and there is one comment in the FCC authorization letter that adds a bit of weight to that theory.
FCC ID: JNZYR0074
The label is permanent affixed in the Phone stand recess in the top case,
So, it seems this keyboard will be aimed at tablet users.
This all came as great news as we have used and recommended Logitech keyboards and mice for as long as we’ve used Chrome OS. However, one thing was still nagging at me.
One of the best qualities of Logitech peripherals has to be that Unifying Receiver. You simply plug in the dongle to your device, launch the Logitech Chrome App and pair your stuff. Then, you can move that dongle to whatever device you choose and the paired input devices stay paired. It’s quick, easy and great for productivity on the go.
Just the other day, I need to borrow a mouse from Robby as I had left mine in the recording studio while doing a video. He has a handful of Logitech USB dongles around. So, he tossed me one and I grabbed a mouse and proceeded to pair it.
The Logitech Chrome app was not recognizing any of the devices we had in the office. Now, Robby’s Logitech keyboard was still working as it has been paired with his USB stick for some time. The app was just unable to add a new device.
Upon taking a deeper look, it appears that we weren’t alone. A thread from the Chromebook Support forum shows that Logitech is actually aware of the issue and working on a fix. That’s great but for us, it was a sad day as we always herald Logitech’s setup is the best way to add input devices to your Chromebook, Chromebox, etc.
Back to the new keyboard.
As much as I’d love to tell readers a traditional Bluetooth keyboard is the way to go on your Chrome device, it’s just not true. Bluetooth on Chrome OS is still a bit of a mess and the thought of Logitech’s first Chrome OS keyboard being Bluetooth direct made me shudder.
“Surely they would go the way of the unified receiver, right?”
Well, my fears were quelled when I dug into the Bluetooth certifications. Alongside the keyboard is information regarding a Bluetooth low energy dongle from Nordic Semiconductors.
The nRF51 Dongle is a low-cost, versatile USB development dongle
for Bluetooth® Smart
Shew, that was a close one. Still, Logitech has some kinks to work out in the Chrome App if this keyboard is to be a success. Personally, I’d like to see the manufacturer bring all their popular models to the Chrome OS platform. I use the k360 keyboard at my desk every day and having the Chrome OS layout would be a guaranteed sell for me.
Speaking of sell. Don’t look for this new keyboard to hit the market just yet. The expiry date on the FCC confidentiality listing is late December. That doesn’t mean it can’t launch sooner but it’s a good sign that it will be a bit before it’s public.Shop Logitech