It may sound like kind-of a stupid suggestion, I know. But hear me out.
Let’s say I want to still keep the numpad but also have the keyboard be located in the middle of the laptop. If the number keys would be small in size they could actually fit into the small side panel and there wouldn’t be a need to have a large 9-digit key panel for them.
For instance it could be located in the top part of the small panel and in general you wouldn’t be changing your hand posture because of these buttons until you need them. I.e. your hands and spine wouldn’t need to be rotated to the left and you’d still be able to use numpad. This could be used by somebody who would appreciate these buttons but don’t use them too often.
This could be a fully aftermarket part but maybe I’m not alone with this thought.
Or maybe it’s just plain stupid, who knows.
unless you accept blackberry physical keyboard level of sized keys
Yes. Exactly. They don’t need to have the same stiffness as in phones but this is the size that I was thinking about. If you want to type many numbers then it’s better to type them on a grid instead of typing on a line. So if you want to type like 8 numbers in a row but not type them often then this could work.
Also QMK will allow to reconfigure the keyboard which could allow to type the numbers without number row by pressing FN or something. But I was thinking about the panel and not about software solutions first.
Habit is not everything. Simply having them on a grid instead of having them on a line makes you not think which key does what. I like number keys but I’d also prefer to have the keyboard in the middle. But for me it’s hard to consistently use number row to type the correct digits. So grid pattern would help and I don’t try to address the already solved problem of the numpad that FW16 will be sold with right from the start.
When you try to sign a transaction using your banking code generator you don’t have full-sized keypad. You have a small and kind-of clunky one. But it’s still a grid pad and not a line of buttons.
I would be very happy with a 3x9 button grid as a small panel instead of 2x6 button panel. Of course that would mean that you could bind PgUp and other less used buttons there.
I don’t think the width allow for that.
HOWEVER, you can probably fit a few macro or nagivation keys. (e.g., Home, End, etc. 2x5?) The keyboard runs on a RP2040 and QMK (?) firmware so you can customize that.