Talk:Chiclet keyboard

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The term "island-style" is far from obvious. Can anyone find that term's etymology and insert it as an aside? It might be illuminating on the history of chiclet keyboards. — Preceding unsigned comment added by 2620:0:1005:1100:BE30:5BFF:FEE5:3A3C (talk) 15:44, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

"In Norway..."Edit

  In Norway, the term eraser keyboard was commonly used

It was not. They speak norweigan in Norway. —Preceding unsigned comment added by (talkcontribs) 2006-05-13T07:08:57

Obviously, it means the equivalent of eraser keyboard in Norwegian. 13:12, 4 December 2006 (UTC)

Atari 400Edit

Anyone know if the Atari 400 had a chiclet or a membrane keyboard? If it had chiclet, it needs to be linked to the article, of course.

Thanks. —The preceding unsigned comment was added by (talkcontribs).

The Atari 400 had a flat membrane keyboard. Fourohfour 14:24, 16 January 2007 (UTC)
Yep, membrane. Not A Good Thing For Typing. --Lexein (talk) 19:29, 14 December 2012 (UTC)

The picture, and explanation, is WRONG!Edit

These kind of rubber keys do NOT bend through in the middle to make contact! Instead the rubber sides of the key collapse outward so the whole (undistorted) rubber top can move downward. Because the collaps occurs suddenly when pressure on the key is increased steadily there is a kind of "snap" to the key, which improves the tactile feedback to the user in a way that would not be present when the key would simply bend through. Somebody should modify the picture to make this clear. perhaps the original maker of the picture can modify it. Mahjongg 15:47, 24 January 2007 (UTC)

Okay; you have a point. As the original creator, when (and if) I have the time and inclination, I will look at fixing this. However, please keep things in perspective; it was only meant to be a stylised representation illustrating the broad principles behind such keyboards. Fourohfour 22:02, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
Please do not take my criticism of the diagram as criticism toward you. I really like the diagram, and the obvious effort that has gone into making it. In reflection, it would have been better to try to place a message on your user page, Also I did not now about the use of the "disputeabout" tag. I apologise for coming over a bit strong. Mahjongg 23:56, 24 January 2007 (UTC)
No problem; I'm considering how to redraw this, as the diagram is more misleading than I initially thought; most of the distortion takes place at the base, not at the sides, at least on the two keypads I looked at. Fourohfour 13:28, 28 January 2007 (UTC)
Okay; I've replaced the image with a version that more accurately describes the action found in some keyboards. I don't know if this was the action you were describing when you said that the walls collapse, but it's an accurate description of the two cases I looked at.
(If you really need proof, I can take a photograph of a calculator key using this design that has been cut in half and demonstrates- within the bounds of stylisation- the design/distortion shown in the diagram).
Clearly, there are many different designs, and we can't (and shouldn't) provide one for every variation. So long as the principle is accurately portrayed, I feel that one basic case is enough.
I've also removed the tag, but please put it back if there is a problem with the diagram and/or text. Fourohfour 19:15, 29 January 2007 (UTC)
The current picture is now OK. One minor point is that it does not completely explain why the rubber key bounces back when the pressure on the top of the key is released, (because of the spring factor of the thin rubber walls that are pressed outwards, as in the letter omega, like this Ω, and want to return to their original form ), but I know that it is extremely difficult to draw that in a way thats easy to understand. The current drawing is almost completely correct, so it will do fine. Mahjongg 00:31, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
I appreciate your politeness; however I wasn't attempting to illustrate what you described in the first place. At least, not unless I misunderstood you... from what you said, it sounds like you were describing a different style of deformation (I noted this difference in the article). Here are photographs of the version that is meant to be shown in the diagram:-
Not pushed down, and
pushed down.
And with respect, even if it isn't exactly right, IMHO it's close enough, given that it's a stylised diagram illustrating the broad principles.
Fourohfour 19:25, 5 February 2007 (UTC)
I apologise if I frustrate you, maybe I could not express myself clearly enough without drawing a picture (which by the way would have been exactly like the "pushed down" photograph, _and_ your picture, only your picture shows the bends as a 'Z' with sharp angles instead of an 'S', that is all), as I said _I agree_ with you that the picture is close enough to the truth as it is, lets just keep it at that. Mahjongg 12:15, 6 February 2007 (UTC)
I see, no problem. One thing though; are you saying that in some versions, the walls (i.e. vertical sides of the keys, like in the old version of the diagram) bend outwards? If not, we should rewrite that part of the text to clarify it. Fourohfour 16:40, 8 February 2007 (UTC)
Yes, it depends on the size of the keys what happens, in smaller keys you often see exactly what you have drawn, in keyboard with a larger rubber domes you sometimes see the sides "bulge out" more, but the top part of the rubber dome also always collapses, otherwise you would not get the sudden downward movement that gives the "click" feeling. However, (especially in PC keyboards) you often see a spring being used to help the key return to its initial position, so it's not only the springiness of the rubber that helps the key return. But in those systems we are not really talking about a "chicklet" keyboard anymore, also because these keys always have a hard plastic key top stuck on top of the rubber dome. Mahjongg 00:47, 9 February 2007 (UTC).


Could someone clarify how this is pronounced? Is it "CHICK-let" (as in English), "shee-clay" (French), or something else? Could find it in this article or the one on the sweets. Leevclarke (talk) 07:37, 13 June 2008 (UTC)

I believe that the pronunciation is the former; that's what we've always said in the United States, at least. The name comes from the candy-coated gum of the same name, Chiclets, that physically resemble the keys. Remaker (talk) 21:30, 15 April 2016 (UTC)

UK UsageEdit

I'm from the UK, and I've only ever heard the term 'chiclet' for these keyboards, never the alternatives listed in the article.

EDIT: I'm talking about in the context of computer keyboards only, not for calculators or other devices. dudegalea (talk) 21:11, 31 March 2009 (UTC)


@Thumperward: The resurgence in computer manufacturers' use of chicklet keyboards is undeniable - just look up some of the computers mentioned. Given that the rest of the article is about c.1980s computers, remote controls and calculators, I think that the Resurgence section ought to remain. The title might sound a bit dramatic, but look at some of the alternatives (Return, Revival, Reappearance?). ..It's certainly no blog! nagualdesign (talk) 02:06, 14 December 2010 (UTC)

These may superfluously resemble the old chicklet keyboard but they are NOT chicklet keyboards from a key-switch technology point of view, so in my humble opinion, they do NOT count as "chicklet keyboards". Instead they use exactly the same technology as "normal" keyboards, so no "resurgence" is taken place. Mahjongg (talk) 23:28, 14 December 2010 (UTC)
Exactly. It's a pure opinion piece. This article needs a thorough rewrite based on reliable references; it currently consists almost entirely of personal recollection and analysis. If secondary sources aren't forthcoming I'll be trimming this again in future. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward: not at work) - talk 01:21, 15 December 2010 (UTC)
Like the article says; They are not true chiclets, however, as they are not using the rubber membrane or directly moulded hard key tops as the keys themselves, and are built using well-established modern technology for low-profile keyboards. That hasn't stopped some UK retailers from using the term 'chiclet' to describe the current style, and we never used it in the 80s to my knowledge, so I expect a lot of British people that are looking up 'chiclet keyboard' on Wikipedia are thinking of buying a new laptop, not looking to reminisce about ZX Spectrums. Having said that, I agree that a re-write is definitely in order, just don't throw the baby out with the bathwater! nagualdesign (talk) 05:12, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

Done. I've removed the offending material and added a new paragraph to the introduction that retains the relevant information. nagualdesign (talk) 06:01, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

Completely unreferenced? The whole lot should be removed until readers can trust that it isn't simply the personal opinion of whoever last edited the page. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward: not at work) - talk 15:48, 15 December 2010 (UTC)

Well, I wouldn't say completely. How about referencing I'd insert the reference myself but I don't know how to code it. What else would you recommend? Removed until what? It's fact, not opinion, that if you remove the whole lot there won't be any readers, trusting or otherwise! nagualdesign (talk) 03:10, 16 December 2010 (UTC)

This is not a blog, nor a fanzine, nor any other excuse for readers to put up their own interpretation of subjects without any reasonable secondary sourcing. The process for creating articles should be: a) collect references; b) write an article based on them. Right now, the whole of this article is personal interpretation / recollection, and the Amazon product description provided (a primary source of the most trivial variety) does not help with that. Right now I think the best option would be to redirect this page to the main computer keyboard article, work on finding referencing for a paragraph or two there, and to re-expand if and when this article can be properly built on reliable sourcing. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward: not at work) - talk 01:04, 17 December 2010 (UTC)

Okay, I don't want to comment on the rest of the article, about which I know nothing. The only point I wanted to make is that the article should retain a reference to the fact that many retailers are currently using the term 'chiclet keyboard', albeit incorrectly, to describe several brands of low-profile, dare I say Apple-style keyboards. I could provide many trivial examles, but no amount of anecdotal evidence is going to prove, or improve, anything. I'm just saying that some people will use Wikipedia to find out what a chiclet keyboard is, and to have no mention of this (mis)use would be misleading - which is why I undid your revision in the first place. nagualdesign (talk) 04:01, 18 December 2010 (UTC)

Wikipedia is not a repository for trivia. If no secondary sources note your observation, then it is too trivial to include here. That is the extent of our guidelines on article content and referencing of such. I'll merge whatever tiny fragments of this are worth saving to computer keyboard#Key switches and redirect there in due course. Chris Cunningham (user:thumperward: not at work) - talk 19:30, 19 December 2010 (UTC)

Alternative keyboard typesEdit

There should be a list of alternative keyboard types listed linking to wikipedia articles about them. For example, the thin flat keys that hover used in many of acers laptops, I dont even know what their official, unofficial name is. Theres others as well, but its difficult to find info on them. — Preceding unsigned comment added by (talk) 15:47, 27 January 2012 (UTC)

Not chicletEdit

removed image

Keyboard from a remote control. When the key is pushed down, the conductive material on its underside touches the pair of fork-shaped traces below, bridging the gap between them and closing the circuit. The fork-shaped traces are very-dark grey, and can be hard to see. The prominent white borders surround interconnecting traces.

This image shows the common remote control keypad

"The contact system utilizes conductive rubber to mate the appropiate PC board traces" (Practical Aspects of Embedded System Design using Microcontrollers section 2.4 p.26 google books

This is completely different from the design described in the text.

It's just confusing and wrong to show images of a completely different keypad design (talk) 15:30, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

Also removed a second image :

Chiclet calculator keyboard

Again this is conductive rubber in silicone - not the tecnology described in the article. (talk) 15:32, 20 June 2020 (UTC)

Multiple issues taggingEdit

rational :

Primary rational - the article attempts to define the term based on switch technology used (but cannot decide what it is exectly), whilst most resources seem to define based on external appearance. In short I think the article has a wrong definition.

The general content of the article needs improving in several ways also:

Oric 1
  • Firstly origin of name :these are chiclet sweets
    • These (right "oric1") are classic "chiclet" keys in the original meaning - the similarity should be obvious
    • The list of examples contains many dubious or subjective examples. Mot don't match the article's own description " a computer keyboard with keys that form an array of small, flat rectangular or lozenge-shaped rubber or plastic keys that look like erasers or "Chiclets", a brand of chewing gum manufactured in the shape of small squares with rounded corners"
  • NOTE the original IBM PC jr keyboard is possibly the originator of this term, and is a clear example of the type - see image right (source for use [1] )
Commdore PET
  • However a completely different design has also be called "chicklet" in the Commodore PET (source for use [2] )
  • Note - terms dates to at least 1984 eg Bowker/Bantam 1984 Complete Sourcebook of Personal Computing p.64 describing the "Laser 200" computer - however I did not find any use of the term before 1983/4
  • The article says the chiclet is "essentially the same mechanism as in the membrane keyboard. " without a single source
    • It also the describes a different technology Other versions of the chiclet keyboard omit the upper membrane and hole/spacer layers; instead the underside of the rubber keys themselves have a conductive coating. " again without source. - this is a contradiction - the two are not the same
    • It also showed (see section above) examples of conductive rubber/PCB trace keypads
  • It waffles more. eg The dome switch keyboards used with a large proportion of modern PCs are technically similar to chiclet keyboards. - again the tech described at the link is not the same as the definition given in the article, and is actually a conductiverubber/electrical trace switch
  • It then notes that The term "chiclet" has also been used to describe low-profile, low-travel scissor keyboards with simplified, flat keycaps separated by a bezel. - the link [3] is to a bezel-less design.
    • Note - the definition "keycaps separated by a bezel" appears to be the correct one (opinion)
  • Things needed
    • Sources stating what was considered "chiclet" historically (ie 1970s-2000)
    • An reliable sourced definition of the term
    • Removal of attempt to pin the descriptive term down to a specific switch technology - it seems clear (eg from image search) that the term refers to external appearance of keyboard
    • Images of actual chiclet keyboards (talk)

Keycaps designEdit

Comparison of classic-style and chiclet/island-style keycaps

Although, I think, this images can be added after rewriting page to illustrate of keycaps differences. ThisIsNotABetter (talk) 17:32, 9 July 2021 (UTC)

Return to "Chiclet keyboard" page.