So after a period of quasi-silence, I’m back at the blogging wheel. And what better to kick it off with, than Orée’s wooden keyboard. I first mentioned it on Twitter on Monday and discovered lots of followers not only loved it but also had lots of questions: is it waterproof? Is a French “AZERTY” layout available? How do you clean it? Finally, I decided to get in touch with founder Julien Salanave and get your questions answered.
Now, for anyone who doesn’t know the product or the company, Orée makes portable, wireless, wooden keyboards – either Maple or Walnut – equipped with Bluetooth for a retail value of 125 euros. This may sound like a fat price tag, but we’ll get to this later. When Salanave set out to make the Orée keyboard, he was aiming to make a technology product that was an eco-friendly, durable novelty product – not just another keyboard made of plastic.
So, WTF is “made in France” ?
This is actually a perfectly relevant question in today’s world. For example, a product that is made entirely of foreign components but assembled in France can obtain the “made in France” certification. However, this is not the case with the Orée wooden keyboards as they are actually entirely made in France – believe it or not. The wood for the keyboards comes directly from (sustainable) forests in the Jura department near Switzerland. All keyboards are designed in Montpellier and then made on demand (as they are highly customizable) in the company’s workshop in Castelnaudary in the south of France.
Drinks coffee, not water.
Turns out this keyboard is even more French than one would think. An invisible protective layer on the wood makes it water-resistant. That said, it will still drink up your coffee! And, if you’re in the US, your Coke as well. Keyboards can be easily cleaned with a damp cloth but this method won’t remove your Coke and coffee stains, unfortunately.
AZERTY and you know it.
While a majority of images of the product display a QWERTY keyboard layout, Orée keyboards are available in other international layouts (currently 6 different layouts available on the company’s website), including French AZERTY of course. I guess it isn’t surprising that 75% of orders come from outside of France.
So, isn’t 125 euros a bit expensive for a keyboard?
Actually, when you compare it to the price of an Apple wireless keyboard (69 euros) it may not seem that much more expensive. Plus, you can personalize your Orée wooden keyboard by adding up to 45 characters of text or even a graphical theme.
Up next: more wood.
The company says they’ll be releasing additional wooden products in February – 2 products, to be exact. Hmm, maybe something like this? Guess we’ll have to wait and see. Till then, if you have an Orée keyboard (or another wooden tech device), feel free to share your feedback.