You don't really need a whole new keyboard to use the Dvorak layout, but some people prefer having a hard-wired Dvorak keyboard so they don't have to mess with software conversion and possibly moving or relabeling keycaps.
Product designs and availability change often, and it's hard for me to keep this page up to date. News usually turns up first on the alt-keyboards mailing list.
The advantage of buying a hard-wired Dvorak keyboard is that the keycaps are labeled correctly and it almost certainly works with any software you use. The disadvantages are cost and lack of portability. I probably don't need to explain the cost disadvantage. Lack of portability simply means you can't move a keyboard from computer to computer easily.
Right now I'm aware of the following hard-wired keyboard suppliers:
TypeMatrix (formerly DvortyBoards) offers a line of unique compact keyboards on which the keys are lined up in columns, as opposed to the usual staggered positions. Many users find the columnar alignment more comfortable. All TypeMatrix models are easily switched between Dvorak and QWERTY. Models are available with keycaps labeled in either Dvorak, QWERTY, or both. Also, "skins" are offered to effectively relabel the keyboard at will (in addition to protecting it from spills and debris). TypeMatrix keyboards are designed for PCs, but work well on a Mac with the optional PS/2-USB adapter.
I have tried the TypeMatrix myself. It appears to be a fine keyboard, but my hands' positions while typing are better suited to the old staggered layout. The TypeMatrix does offer more hand separation than a usual keyboard. I guess it would be better suited for typists who are not as wide across the middle as I am. Many alt-keyboards group members love it.
Keytime (Tel: 206-522-TYPE) now offers alternative keyboards for PCs in two-hand Dvorak, left-hand only, and right-hand only layouts. Keytime also offers typing instruction, videos, and a number of related learning aids for kids and adults.
Some Kinesis Contoured keyboard models are available with switchable Dvorak/QWERTY layouts.
Hooleon Corporation currently offers a programmable keyboard that comes in a hardwired Dvorak layout. They also have software-switched keyboards, keyboards with moveable keycaps, and a variety of keycap labels.
Many keyboard models are still offered with the old PS/2 (mini-DIN) connector for PCs. These are often offered along with an optional PS/2-to-USB adapter. With the adapter, most keyboards are usable on any current PC or Mac computer, although some key functions may not be available.
Back to Introducing the Dvorak Keyboard.