So what is a ‘chiclet’ keyboard anyway?

April 19, 2009 at 11:17 am

Chiclet gumThis morning we have a guest contribution from reader, Igor Igorski, who looks at the chiclet keyboard and where the term originates from.

With many developments in the fast changing world of electronics, consumers have been introduced to a new word or rather jargon, the “chiclet” keyboard. In recent months the term has appeared more and more in the context of notebooks and netbooks. But what is it exactly and why is it called “chiclet”?

The keyboard has been around since the early era of computing and during that time it has not changed much over the course of its history. The number of keys has increased to incorporate new functions such as the Windows key (a key to launch the Start menu in Microsoft Windows). With the introduction of notebooks the keyboard was flattened to be as slim and light as possible. For smaller notebooks (and netbooks) the individual keys have been reduced to fit as many keys as possible on the keyboard. This in turn makes it more difficult to type on especially for those who touch-type.

Apple was one of the first companies to change the design of their keyboard to give it that extra touch of style. This was applied to their desktop keyboards as well as their notebooks. The difference is that they individual keys no longer have slanted edges but rather straight edges which make squares. As a result there is more space between each squared key. These squares are known commonly as “chiclets” and hence we talk about “chiclet” keyboards.

This word refers to the shape which is similar to the packaging of Adams Chiclets chewing gum. People started to use this reference and very soon it was adopted mainstream! Today more and more computer manufacturers are adopting chiclet keyboards in their small notebooks and netbooks such as Sony and ASUS with their Eee PC 1000HE model. Indeed, Asus have even been refreshing its older netbook lines with this new style of keyboard (as seen with the Eee PC 1000HA). The chiclet keyboards may not suit everyone, but it looks like they are becoming a staple of netbook technology both now and in the future.

Chiclet Keyboard


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