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Black or White Keys?

Black or White Keys?

[The following information was taken from an article on the development of the HP 100LX, first printed in the San Jose Mercury News.]

Designers of the new product realized lighter-colored keys would make the device look more like a PC than the all-black keys of the 95LX did. Research subjects agreed. They also said the lighter keys looked easier to use.

That perception, however, came at a cost: The same people also thought the black keys looked more "powerful."

For calculator engineers who had always revered both power and appearance, the notion of shipping a less potent-appearing device was unthinkable. It caused a huge amount of debate and furor.

Many argued the company was foolish to deliberately design a product that appeared less powerful than its predecessor. But others maintained raw power was not as important in computers as it was in calculators, and said the entire division needed to reshape its thinking to the realities of a new world.

The light keys won.

iPhone Life magazine


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