July 30, 2012
Microsoft Releases Fresh Mobile Hardware In Advance Of Surface
John Neumann for redOrbit.com - Your Universe Online
Microsoft needs Windows 8 operating system to work and work well with mobile devices becoming the norm and not the exception. A large part of that strategy is updating its hands-on hardware to complement its buzz-worthy mobile OS. With that, Microsoft has rolled out a lineup of keyboards and mice today that should give users some interesting options, writes Devindra Hardawar for VentureBeat.The four input devices, aimed squarely at mobile Windows 8 tablets and laptops are designed to work, not only with Microsoft´s upcoming Surface and hybrid laptops, but with Apple´s iOS and Android based tablets, explaining the early release well before Windows 8´s October debut.
A brief hands-on with the Mobile Wedge keyboard finds a sturdy rubber sleeve that will support your tablet. The keyboard itself also has a stable feel to it, thanks to a rubber-coated wedge on the bottom of the device that hold the keyboard in place while you type on it. Key response was very positive with a light touch giving a satisfying response.
The keyboard includes four specialized hot keys and a “Windows” key featuring the new Windows logo. The only complaint you might have with the Wedge Mobile Keyboard is its $79.95 price tag, although that´s less than a keyboard/iPad dock combo for the iPad, which will run you almost $100. Being just a rubber sleeve however, the Wedge fails to offer the same connectivity and charging capabilities as Apple´s iPad Dock.
The Wedge Touch Mouse is also eye-catching and is designed to work in tandem with the keyboard. An angular design and shallow depth will not make it your favorite mouse but it´s not without a few welcome features, reports Rich Brown for CNET.
A BlueTrack on the new mouse has sensors allowing any surface to be your mouse pad, useful for when workspace is limited and you need to mouse on a pants leg. Instead of a scroll wheel, the Wedge Touch Mouse allows four-way touch-based scrolling that works at any point across the surface of the mouse.
For those who wish for a larger, but updated keyboard, consider the Sculpt Touch Keyboard. Weighing just a bit more than pound and lightning the wallet by only $50, it has a “comfort curve” design so your hands will land in a more natural position. The keyboard also will turn itself off after a period of inactivity, saving power.
The Sculpt Touch Mouse is a cheaper option, also at $50, than the $70 Wedge Touch Mouse utilizing Bluetooth for connecting and features a four-way touch scroll strip for navigating the Windows 8 Start screen.
So it appears perhaps that Microsoft is not stuck in the past or merely playing catch-up as many pundits claim. Fresh hardware on several fronts along with anticipated software should make Microsoft a player for some time to come yet.