The eagerly anticipated Optimus Maximus keyboard project is facing another problem, but it will be available this year, its designer said today.

The manufacturer of the OLED (organic light-emitting diode) displays that will be fitted inside each key is having "serious financial troubles and is not able to deliver displays at all", designer Artemy Lebedev wrote on the Optimus project's blog. He didn't name the display maker.

The displays are the keyboard's USP. Each of the 114 keys will be customisable. The OLED display in each key will signify the key's current function. These could include various letters or characters for different languages, quick launch buttons for applications or short-cut keys for programs.

The project team now has to find a new manufacturer and prototype new displays, Lebedev wrote.

"Good news is that we will start tooling processes without waiting for the displays to arrive. This way we'll be able to insert OLEDs into the keyboard case with electronics and stay within our schedule," he wrote.

Lebedev, who is based in Moscow, noted that should the new displays be a different size from the original plan it would mean additional delays and charges for retooling the production line.

Along with details of the problem Lebedev also said that the keyboard is still on-track to ship in December with preorders accepted from April. That just about matches the time-frame he gave at the CeBIT tradeshow in Germany earlier this month.

The keyboard was supposed to be unveiled at the fair but wasn't on show.

At Cebit, Lebedev said it will cost about $1,500 when it goes on sale in December. That's at least $300 more expensive than the price quoted by the company in November last year.