Cherry Goes After Copycats With a New Generation of Mechanical Keyboard Switches

Cherry Goes After Copycats With a New Generation of Mechanical Keyboard Switches

Cherry, the OGs of the mechanical keys, announced a redesign of its signature Cherry MX mechanical switches. The switch-maker is releasing the next-generation Cherry MX2A, which is promised to feel smoother and quieter. The first mechanical keyboard to feature the new switches will be the XTRFY K5V2.

This particular update will entirely revamp most of the Cherry MX lineup, including linear Red, tactile Brown, speed Silver, and heavy Black switches. Silent Reds and clicky Blues also get a tune-up, though they won’t get the full effect. For instance, the Blues won’t be switching from a cylindrical to a barrel spring like the rest of the lineup.

Everything else in the lineup has been reimagined. Cherry added a crown to the stem to better stabilize the switch and help make it quieter, as well as added lubrication around the sock dome so it’s a smoother ride every time. The new switches will be backward compatible with all other boards and keycaps floating in the hobby.

Cherry also insists that its new switches can handle 100 million clicks over their lifetime. But at this point, all major keyboard manufacturers and their component makers are staking similar claims. Mechanical keyboards are in their best era ever as far as reliability is concerned.

So, why did Cherry need a new set of switches? Since the brand’s original patents expired nearly ten years ago, other brands have adopted the switches and tweaked them enough to develop a devoted audience of users. For instance, I’m typing to you on a Keychron Q3 with Gateron Brown switches, which have been tweaked from the original Cherry Browns to offer a softer landing, which I prefer. Even Razer has reinterpreted the original Cherry switches, and you can find evidence of that in its latest batch of mechanical gaming keyboards, including its latest hot-swappable release. As mechanical keyboards grow in popularity, Cherry is looking to find the edge to maintain the relevance it once did in the niche communities.

The new Cherry MX2A switches will be sold first through B2B orders. Then, later this year, they should be available separately through other outlets and DIY enthusiasts. Cherry’s head of global component sales, Jim Foster, told The Verge they should cost about 10% more than the originals.

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