A chiclet keyboard is slang for a computer keyboard built with an array of small, flat rectangular or lozenge-shaped rubber or plastic keys that look like erasers or pieces of chewing gum. The term comes from "Chiclets", a brand of chewing gum. Most often the top of the Chiclets were hard, but sometimes (notably on the Sinclair Spectrum) they were made of the same material as the rubber dome itself. Specific about Chiclet keyboard is that each key is surrounded (and held in place by) a perforated plate, so that there is a space in-between each key.
Manufacturers liked the chiclet keyboard because it was cheap to produce, and many early home computers (notably the ZX Spectrum), portables and laptop computers were launched with it. However, consumers rejected it with almost equal unanimity, even though it was not quite as unpleasant to work with as the membrane keyboard. Since the mid-1980s, chiclet keyboards have been mainly restricted to lower-end electronics, such as small handheld calculators, cheap PDAs and many remote controls.
List of notable computers with chiclet keyboardsEdit
Most of the computers listed hail from the early home computer era.
- Atari Portfolio
- Cambridge Z88 (arguably a mix between a membrane and chiclet keyboard)
- Commodore PET 2001 (the original 1977 PET) had the square keys of a calculator or cash register.
- Commodore 116 (version of the C16 sold only in Europe)
- Enterprise 64
- IBM PCjr
- Jupiter ACE
- Mattel Aquarius
- Microdigital TK 90X (Brazil ZX Spectrum derivation)
- Multitech Microprofessor I (MPF 1) and MPF II (the latter an early Apple II compatible)
- OLPC XO-1
- Panasonic JR-200
- Sinclair ZX Spectrum 16/48K (later models had slightly improved keyboards)
- Spectravideo SV-318
- Tandy TRS-80 Color Computer I (later 'CoCo's had full-travel keyboards)
- Tandy TRS-80 MC-10 and its French counterpart, the Matra Alice
- Texas Instruments TI-99/4 (predecessor of the TI-99/4A, which had a full-travel keyboard)
- Timex Sinclair 1500 (U.S. ZX81 derivation)
- Timex Sinclair 2068 (U.S. ZX Spectrum derivation)
- VTech Laser 200 (also known as the Video Technology VZ200)
- Some early models of MSX computers, for example the Philips VG-8010