Update, 1/11/17, 10:55am PT: We have received confirmation that these switches were developed by Tesoro in a partnership with Gateron, not Kailh, as we’d previously suspected. We have significantly amended the copy to reflect that new data point.
Tesoro isn’t a household name in the peripherals world, but the young brand is eager to innovate. It’s already announced an optical switch keyboard, the Tesoro Gram Spectrum SE, and at CES the company showed off a super-slim mechanical keyboard prototype.
The as-yet unnamed device is a chiclet keyboard with ultra-low-profile Gateron Blue switches on board. (A Red offering may be coming, too.) These are proprietary to Tesoro.
To be clear, these are not the low-profile, Kaihua-made “Agile” switches Tesoro popped onto its Gram Spectrum keyboard; this is a different switch altogether. These Gateron switches have the same characteristics as typical mechanical switches, though–linear, tactile, and clicky, respectively–but they have a substantially smaller travel and actuation point.
It’s also worth noting that Tesoro and Kailh have a competitor in this space: Razer has its own (take a deep breath) “Razer Ultra-Low-Profile Mechanical Switch,” which it first teased on a throwaway iPad Pro case. Those, too, have chiclet caps. What we’re seeing here is a bit of demand from the market for a switch with the low profile and shallow travel people like on laptops and standalone chiclet keyboards that also offers a true mechanical option.
Tesoro’s prototype low-profile keyboard is just 12mm thick in total. The keyboard pictured here is a handmade prototype, but Tesoro expects the final, shipping version in Q2, by the time Computex rolls around this summer.