To absolutely no one’s surprise, Microsoft is hastily preparing for the October launch of the Windows 8 operating system. One way the company has prepared is a revamp of its successful hardware lineup of keyboards and mice, which are launching today.
Windows 8 is Microsoft’s attempt to make Windows a much more versatile OS in the new mobile-focused landscape and it will work across all different form factors including tablets like the Surface and hybrid laptops. But while the OS is better suited for tablets than desktops and laptops, Microsoft nonetheless must be ready to give early adopters and new PC/tablet buyers the tools to run Win 8 in the best way possible.
Microsoft will do this with its just-announced keyboards and mice. Let’s take a look at the lineup:
1. Wedge Touch Mouse ($70): First up is the Wedge Touch Mouse, which is fairly small and minimalist. It includes Bluetooth connectivity and BlueTrack technology so it can be used on almost any surface, even your pants. The mouse is smart enough to sleep automatically whenever the PC it’s paired with also is put to sleep.
2. Wedge Mobile Keyboard ($80): Next is the Wedge Mobile Keyboard, which is light-weight and designed to paired with a tablet. The keyboard has a durable black cover that can also be used as a tablet stand. After testing the cover stand with a Samsung developer tablet, I found it to be a clever addition and one that you’ll have with you as long as you have your keyboard.
3. Sculpt Touch Mouse ($50): The Sculpt Touch Mouse is cheaper option than the Wedge Touch Mouse. It uses Bluetooth for connecting and features a four-way touch scroll strip for navigating the Windows 8 Start screen. Personally, if you’re already considering spending $50, you might as well up it $20 for the more versatile Wedge model.
4. Sculpt Mobile Keyboard ($50): Finally, the Sculpt Mobile Keyboard is a full-size board that weighs a little more than pound and is more likely to be used at a desk rather than mobile. It has a “comfort curve” design so your hands will land in a more natural position. The keyboard also will power down after a period of inactivity to save power.
On an additional note, Microsoft has also updated software drivers in Windows 8 for its popular Touch Mouse ($80). The Touch Mouse itself has not been updated, but when you use it with Windows 8, the device corresponds with the new OS’ gestures.
Check out a few photos of the Wedge Mobile Mouse and Keyboard below:
Photos: Devindra Hardawar/VentureBeat
Like this story? Want to learn more? On April 14-15, our fourth annual VentureBeat Mobile Summit will tackle the six biggest growth opportunities in mobile today. The invitation-only Summit will gather the top 180 executives at the scenic Cavallo Point Resort in Sausalito, Calif., to discuss issues like this. Request an invitation.