The TrackPoint is a polarizing way to interact with your computer. You either love it or hate it. Several journalists and technology writers have said that it seems out of place on a modern computer with TrackPads now being the norm. However, the TrackPad is not always as useful as the TrackPoint, especially in certain circumstances. As you might know from a previous article on this website, I like TrackPoints.

Jul
22

TrackPoint Keyboards

If you are looking for a greater, in-depth article, please consider checking out this fantastic summary of several of the keyboards below here. PS/2 Era or Earlier IBM Model M13 A classic with Buckling springs. Very rare with no active listings on eBay. For more information on this beauty, check out LGR’s episode where he […]

So as I was doing some digging around for patent drawings and such, I found some really cool documents and photos. These were found on a Microsoft Research website archive called the Buxton Collection and I am uploading them below just in case the page is ever removed. This article will also serve as a companion piece to a video that I am currently editing that is related to this subject, but wouldn’t really focus on some of these neat little details.

IBM T. J. Watson Research Paper TrackPoint IBM

TrackPoint Interact 90

Buxton Collection Story(PDF of website above)

The following images below come from an issue of Interactions, September-October 1997 “A Conversation with Ted Selker” and give some insight to ideas they had for TrackPoint’s future.

For more information on the TrackPoint Mouse, check out the following links to the G1, G2 and G3 variants. I’m not sure if any of these three examples exist in the wild, but ScrollPoint technology was developed and released to the general public which is similar but not identical. The ScrollPoint II and onward series has the most in common with the G3 type which featured a different cap/interface. The ScrollPoint I more closely resembles the G1 and G2.

As an added bonus, here is a launch video for the TrackPoint. This promotional video by IBM features Ted Selker introducing the TrackPoint in its early stages before it would make its most memorable appearance on the ThinkPad 700C.

If you follow me on Twitter, consider posting your favourite TrackPoint photo on this thread:

If you are looking for a greater, in-depth article, please consider checking out this fantastic summary of several of the keyboards below here.

PS/2 Era or Earlier

IBM

Model M13

A classic with Buckling springs. Very rare with no active listings on eBay. For more information on this beauty, check out LGR’s episode where he covers it in detail. An even rarer version of this keyboard was made for the IBM PS/55E computer in Japan called the IBM 5576-C01.

KPD8923

Often found in black, but also can be acquired in white, these IBM-bred keyboards feature a full Number pad as well as the classic TrackPoint. On eBay listings will range around the $150-200USD mark for one in good condition.

IBM KPD8923 in White. (Photo by speedonlineau)

SpaceSaver II (RT3200)

This PS/2 based keyboard is pretty rare with no current eBay listings. Users have modified them to have a USB-C connection and even built custom boards based on this layout. The red accents on the left and right-click buttons are very desirable. Claimed as the “World’s Best Computer Keyboard” in this article. There was a USB variant with a similar setup called the KPH0035, which is equally rare with no active listings.

IBM SpaceSaver II (Photo by engadget)

IBM Trackpoint 84 Key AKA “SpaceSaver I” or “M4-1” (84H8503)

Another uncommon PS/2 beast. No known listings but some surplus sites price it at $100 USD. It also came in black.

IBM TrackPoiont 84 Key (Photo by Memory4less.com)

IBM ThinkPad USB Keyboard (SK-8840)

PS/2 variant of the SK-8845 listed below. Somewhat rare and fetch prices of $150USD and up.

USB Era

Lenovo

ThinkPad TrackPoint Keyboard II (4Y40X49493)

Bluetooth, USB-C and wireless, oh my. A modern keyboard for the modern world. $120 CDN if you get it on sale. If you are looking to get one of these, consider checking out my Affiliate page and placing an order through that link.

ThinkPad TrackPoint Keyboard II (Photo by Lenovo)

ThinkPad Wired USB Keyboard with TrackPoint (0B47190)

Sporting the newer key layout, this keyboard can be had directly from Lenovo with many sales for as little as $75 CDN. If you are looking to get one of these, consider checking out my Affiliate page and placing an order through that link.

ThinkPad Wired USB Keyboard with TrackPoint (Photo by Lenovo)

ThinkPad USB Keyboard (SK-8855)

This unit does not feature the combined UltraNav setup of the original IBM variant listed below. These can be found on eBay for around $90USD. For a comprehensive comparison between the IBM and Lenovo variants, check out this great article.

Lenovo ThinkPad USB Keyboard (Photo by notebookreview.com)

IBM

IBM ThinkPad USB Keyboard (SK-8845 and SK-8845CR)

Often what people find when they search eBay is this gem. An IBM Branded USB-based keyboard. A PS/2 variant of this keyboard is also available (SK8840). The CR variant omits the TrackPad. In good shape, they can be found for about $100USD.

IBM ThinkPad USB Keyboard SK-8845 (Photo by notebookreview.com)
The SK-8845CR model (Photo by Tasurinchi)

IBM SK-8835

Not as common as the other IBM branded keyboards, this sports the UltraNav configuration of the TrackPoint and a full Numpad. Prices for these on eBay are usually around $200USD.

IBM SK-8835 (Photo by next.day.automation)

Unicomp

Unicomp which has a history in making excellent Buckling Spring keyboards has the EnduraPro that features a TrackPoint. Modestly priced as $129USD.

Unicomp Endura Pro

Website

Tex Keyboards

These are third-party, high-quality keyboards that include the TrackPoint. Their Yoda II version looks very similar to a keyboard that was a Japanese exclusive anniversary keyboard. They are in the premium price bracket ranging from $185 USD up to $399 USD. A Shinobi DIY kit starts at $109 USD. Stock on these units fluctuates so check back often.

Website

 

There is some speculation that Tex was behind the Anniversary Edition Mechanical Keyboard that Lenovo produced, but the images below found on Twitter do not match up with the branding of the one found here. The boxes are different as well as the logo colouring in the bottom right-hand corner.

 

ZGGA?

Disguised at one point as the “ThinkPad 25th Anniversary Edition” keyboard, this appears to have been made by ZGGA and out of circulation. It looks very similar to the Yoda II as stated earlier. The company appeared to sell this keyboard for a limited time on AliExpress.