I’m absolutely in love with the whole idea of the input modules! <3
I just have one open question / concern: What’s the connectivity situation of the modules for the bottom row?
It looks to me like the connectivity for both rows share contacts along the middle of the input deck.
So if a module on the top requires connectivity in that column, the bottom row module can’t get any?
Currently the only bottom row input module that needs a connection is the trackpad, and for that, connectivity seems to be reserved under the keyboard.
And if I saw it correctly, the numpad even blocks / uses both pogo connectors? So you can’t use any connected modules below it?
So if you’re using the keyboard, numpad and trackpad as a daily driver, you won’t get any expandability at all without removing the numpad?
That seems to be quite limiting and not reflecting the flexibility that I thought it would bring.
I’m not sure if there’s still room for change, but what I would wish for as a minimum would be that the numpad design should be altered to keep one connector position free for bottom row modules.
Because my account is too new, I can’t post multiple images, so have them as a collage.
1 Image of pogo connector row from official announcement
2 Image of pogo connector row from LTT video
3 Numpad input module covering up both connector positions
4 Two pogo connectors under the numpad location
I think it will work like this: You have 3 pogo pin locations on the left side and 5 on the right side. The outer 3 ones on both sides give you flexibility to move the keyboard left, right or center and fill the remaining space with two thin or a medium (numpad sized) module. The free pins below the keyboard module are for the touchpad connection.
Keyboard and numpad sized module cover multiple pogo pin locations not because they need the wiring, but supposedly for stability (magnets in the pogo pin connector).
I don’t think the spacers on the touchpad row are replaceable by other modules. They’re just spacers. In any case, the modules in the keyboard row won’t be compatible with the ones in the touchpad row. Framework has already confirmed that. The touchpad row is smaller and obviously has the connections at the top instead of the bottom.
Here’s a sketch of the connection points as far as i can see from the photos:
x x x o x x x x x
(x = electrical and magnet connection, o = magnet only)
Here’s a sketch of the different input module connectors:
keyboard numpad single
_______________ ___ _
x o o x o x
so a standard layout with keyboard on the left and numpad on the right and a touchpad on the left side would look like this connection wise:
x o o x o
↓ ↓ ↓ ↓ ↓
x x x o x x x x x
while a simple centered keyboard without numpad could look like this:
x o o
↓ ↓ ↓
x x x o x x x x x
which means that some combinations probably will be impossible, for example a keyboard on the left side and a touchpad on the right side:
x o o
↓ ↓ ↓
x x x o x x x x x ← same connection used by two modules, not allowed!
Is there anything that would prevent someone from developing a keyboard that fit on the bottom row? Obviously you couldn’t transpose the existing keyboard down there, but as someone who hates touchpads I’d rather have my keyboard (and numpad in a perfect world) on the lower row, and use the top row for specialized customized input modules or secondary displays.
Difficult to say. We don’t have much technical details about the bottom row. There’s definitely less room in the bottom row, so the keyboard would be smaller in height. I don’t know if there’s enough depth there for mechanical keys. Developing a whole keyboard that is that flat will not be easy on any case. But it might be possible if Framework is selling the keyboard switches separately or if very thin ones can be sourced otherwise.
In sock form, a bottom row keyboard wouldn’t fit, I’m afraid.
The bottom modules, the touchpad and side panels, side into tracks. This takes up space that would be needed for a keyboard.
See this picture of the side module showing how much room it takes to accommodate the tracks. Also note that there is dead space at the top where the row of input module data & power connectors are.
You’d have to modify the laptop, remove the tracks to cut them down to a smaller size, or create a different method to secure the modules. How hard that might be remains to be seen. If it’s not too hard wouldn’t be surprised in someone did it (likely only as a personal DIY project). But even with the tracks removed, it looks like there might not be room for a number-key row.