When putting together a new system, many people often overlook their keyboard and often just use whatever they have laying around. But, when people are looking at a new keyboard, regardless of the brand, it most likely uses Cherry MX switches. Having been in business since 1953, Cherry is synonymous with quality keyboards. Where there line up of Cherry MX switches are so popular, most people could guess what you’d see when you visit the Cherry Suite at CES. However, one of the biggest surprises for me at CES, was what we saw at the Cherry Suite.
On the high end of the keyboard spectrum, Cherry has the majority of the market share. However, high-end keyboards only make up about 35% of the market share. The other 65% is made up of mecha-membrane, mech-dome, and mem-chanical offerings. This leaves Cherry out of the majority of the market. Or it did, until now. Introducing Cherry Viola switches. Viola switches are hot-swappable and of course, have full RGB support. But the best feature of the Viola switches, they are the first-ever Cherry switch designed for the value keyboard market.
With VIOLA, CHERRY presents the first fully mechanical key switch for keyboards in the value sector, offering price-sensitive customers a complete mechanical solution. The switch has been developed from scratch and is characterized by its unique technical properties: the patented, self-cleaning V-Shape contact system* establishes an efficient connection between two pads on the circuit board. Due to its minimalist, solderless design, the switch offers hot-swap functionality and can be easily replaced or removed from the keyboard.
The V-Shape contact system also features a distinctive switching characteristic: a two-stage, linear actuation that’s been defined as “CrossLinear” by CHERRY. An actuation force of 45 cN is required for the pretravel of two millimeters. After that, the actuation force ramps up to 75 cN at the end of the travel distance (four millimeters). The resulting characteristic curve enables CHERRY VIOLA to offer ergonomic overtravel and fast reset. Also, CHERRY specially designed the shifting characteristics to meet the requirements of the target consumers.
The main housing of CHERRY VIOLA consists of a high-precision CAD part made of plastic polymer. With a tolerance of less than 0.01 millimeter and a total of eight guide rails on the inside, this ensures wobble-free and scratch-free operation. The outer part of the housing serves as a mounting bracket for the mechanical keyboard. The new CHERRY VIOLA switch for value keyboards uses an industrial standard stem for worldwide compatibility with commonly used keycaps with a cross receptacle.
CHERRY VIOLA is optimized for use with monochrome or RGB-capable SMD LEDs. The compact light-emitting diodes can be mounted directly on the circuit board of the keyboard for cost-efficient, fully automated production. In addition, CHERRY has designed the upper part of the VIOLA housing to be transparent and to guarantee uniform illumination of the entire keycap, resulting in a bright display of all 16.8 million colors of the RGB spectrum.
The German development team at the Auerbach site is responsible for the development and implementation of VIOLA. Like all CHERRY key switches, the CHERRY VIOLA (and all its components) is fully manufactured in Germany. Combined with strict, permanent quality checks this guarantees maximum reliability and precision.