Microsoft unveils keyboards and mice for Windows 8
Microsoft has unveiled a new range of mobile keyboards and mice designed to take full advantage of Windows 8 when it arrives later this year.
Four devices have been announced: two mice and two keyboards, all of which connect via Bluetooth so they’ll work with the first batch of Windows 8 tablets.
The new ranges
The Wedge Mobile Keyboard is designed to give a desktop typing experience, but also to work with a tablet when on the move. To this end, it has a full keyboard layout, including a Windows 8 key and new Charms shortcut keys. Its durable cover converts neatly into a stand for your tablet. Clip the cover back on and the keyboard powers down automatically.
The Wedge Touch Mouse is its tiny companion, with support for Windows 8’s four-way touch scrolling gestures. It uses Microsoft’s BlueTrack technology to work on a variety of surface types when on the road, and is clever enough to automatically go into “Backpack Mode” when the host device powers down, preserving battery charge.
The Wedge Mobile Keyboard has a suggested US retail price of $79.95 (around £51), and the Touch Mouse $69.95 (£45). UK pricing has yet to be announced.
In the more affordable Sculpt line, the Sculpt Touch Mouse offers a four-way touch strip where you’d often find a mouse wheel. The Sculpt Mobile Keyboard features the same power-saving features as the Wedge model, but in Microsoft’s familiar Comfort Curve design. Both Sculpt devices will launch in the US at $49.95 (£32).
Microsoft also plans to issue a software update bringing new Windows 8-friendly gestures to its existing Touch Mouse. The new gestures have been detailed by communications manager Brandon LeBlanc on the Windows Experience Blog.
“A one-finger swipe will allow you to move side to side or up and down, shifting content on your screen,” the blog explains.
“Two-finger movements manage apps, allowing users to display Windows 8 charms, switch through open apps and show app commands. Three-finger movements will let you zoom in and out. Thumb gestures navigate backward and forward through apps.”
Full gesture details can be found in this handy graphic: