Microsoft Corp. on Monday announced a family of new keyboards and mice which are optimized for usage with Windows 8-based mobile and desktop devices. Four of the devices are Bluetooth-enabled, pocket-sized yet sturdy, and specially designed for use on the go – including with tablets.
In the coming weeks and months, the company will introduce two new Bluetooth-enabled keyboards and mice to the market – the Wedge Touch Mouse, the Wedge Mobile Keyboard, the Sculpt Touch Mouse, and the Sculpt Mobile Keyboard. On October 26, the general availability date of the new Windows 8 operating system, Microsoft will also release updated Windows 8 gestures for the Microsoft Touch Mouse.
"For 30 years, we’ve been creating products designed to light up features in Microsoft software and making it easier to get things done. It’s part of our DNA. In that way, it’s fitting that we are showcasing our first set of hardware products designed and optimized for Windows 8. It’s the reason why our group was formed and, in these products, that’s shining through," said Brett Kelleran, general manager of Microsoft Hardware.
The new keyboards and mice have special touches designed for just such use, including a cover for the Wedge Mobile Keyboard that doubles as a stand for your tablet, a mouse that sleeps when the computer sleeps to save batteries, and the battery door cover slides instead of unclipping so users on the go w will not lose it. Thanks to wireless Bluetooth technology, there is no need for cords or wires, and no need to take up a USB port.
The devices have Windows 8 shortcut keys for searching, sharing, changing settings, and device access, and the mice are designed to have the same precision, control, and fluid interaction a customer would have if they were using a touch screen.
The family of new Microsoft controller devices includes:
- The pocket-sized Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse ($69.95) is designed for the mobile lifestyle, but still provides four-way touch scrolling and navigation. It is Bluetooth-enabled, and features BlueTrack Technology, so it can be used on virtually any surface. It also has “backpack mode,” which means it will power down and sleep along with the computer it is paired to, saving battery life.
- The slim Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard ($79.95) is designed for use with a tablet but brings the comfort and efficiency of a full-size keyboard. The keyboard features Windows 8 Hot Key, media keys, Bluetooth technology, and a durable cover to protect it – and tablet – from scratches. The cover also converts into a tablet stand.
- The Bluetooth-enabled Microsoft Sculpt Touch Mouse ($49.95) is finely tuned for use with Windows 8, including a four-way touch scroll strip for navigating up and down, left and right, and swiping through windows and documents.
- The Bluetooth-enabled Microsoft Sculpt Mobile Keyboard ($49.95) is sturdy, but just over one pound and ideal for travel. It has a Comfort Curve design to position hands and wrists naturally, and a battery saving mode that powers the keyboard down after a period of inactivity (and wakes it up again with the tap of a key).
- The Microsoft Touch Mouse ($79.95) has been updated specifically for use with Windows 8 to incorporate finger swipes and movements that allow for navigation, switching through apps, and zooming in and out.