July 30, 2012 2:06 am

New Windows 8-ready mice and keyboards from Microsoft Hardware

By / Senior Program Manager, Windows Insider Program

Today Microsoft Hardware is announcing new mice and keyboards that are designed to take advantage of Windows 8. These new mice and keyboards will help people interact with their Windows 8 PCs and devices. They will be perfect companions to Windows 8. And I was able to get my hands on the new hardware to share my hands-on experience with you.

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I’m pretty quick at typing with Windows 8’s touch keyboard on my Samsung Series 7 tablet. However, for writing out something a bit longer – such as this blog post for example – I find it easier to use a physical keyboard. And that’s where the Wedge Mobile Keyboard comes in. The Wedge Mobile Keyboard is designed specifically to be used with tablets. It seamlessly connected to my tablet via Bluetooth with no trouble at all. Within seconds I had a physical keyboard to use to write this post with.

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The Wedge Mobile Keyboard is what I like to call “uber-mobile”. It’s got a full size keyboard yet has a minimalist, lightweight design that makes it super easy to carry around with me. It’s also stylish. It definitely looks pretty slick.

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This keyboard features the new Windows logo as seen in Windows 8 for the Start button – which is an easy way to get back to my Start screen (which is the dashboard to everything that is important to me). It also has Windows 8-specific “hot keys” which represent how the apps can work together in Windows 8 (charms) – Search, Share, Device and Settings. I especially enjoy quick access to the Share as I love sharing stuff. The Wedge Mobile Keyboard also has media keys for volume and playback control.

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To protect the keyboard from getting banged up and scratched while on the go, it comes with a durable cover that sort of “clamps” on to the keyboard at the sides. The cover will also turn the keyboard off when you “clamp” it on, saving the battery, and turns it back on when you take it off.

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The cover is made of a rubber material that doesn’t just protect the keyboard. When I’m on the go, I like to carry the keyboard and my tablet together and the rubber material of the cover for the keyboard prevents my tablet from getting scratched and scuffed up. It also works great when both the keyboard and tablet are put together in a bag.

The cover also has one other purpose…

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The cover bends at the middle to be used as a tablet stand. I have a dock for my Samsung Series 7 tablet but I don’t carry it when popping from one meeting to the next here at work. This is perfect because I only need to take the keyboard with cover and my tablet to my meetings which can quickly be set up as a stand.

The Wedge Mobile Keyboard will be available soon for $79.95 (U.S.).

The Wedge Mobile Keyboard also has a little brother – the Wedge Touch Mouse.

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The Wedge Touch Mouse is a stylish little mouse that fits in your pocket. It’s really tiny.

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There is no USB transceiver with this mouse – like the Wedge Touch Keyboard, it seamlessly connected to my tablet via Bluetooth. But this mouse isn’t just great with tablets – it can be used with any PC or device and works especially well in limited working spaces. And it features BlueTrack Technology so it works great on virtually any surface. The Wedge Touch Mouse also has four-way touch scrolling. Oh, and to save battery life – it will power down and go into sleep along with the PC or device it’s paired to. How cool is that?

The Wedge Touch Mouse will be available soon for $69.95 (U.S.).

Also being announced today is the Sculpt Touch Mouse and Sculpt Mobile Keyboard.

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While I didn’t get a chance to get my hands on the Sculpt Mobile Keyboard, I am very familiar with its cousin, the Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 5000. The Sculpt Mobile Keyboard has been updated for Windows 8 and like the other devices I’ve mentioned, it too connects via Bluetooth and can be a great traveling companion. It features the same Windows 8-specific “hot keys” mentioned above with the Wedge Mobile Keyboard and has the Comfort Curve design that helps position the hands and wrists to be in a more natural resting position. To save battery life, it will power down and go into sleep mode after inactivity.

The Sculpt Mobile Keyboard will be available soon for $49.95 (U.S.).

I did, however, get to play around with the Sculpt Touch Mouse.

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This little mouse also connects to your PC or device via Bluetooth and like the Explorer Touch Mouse, has a four-way touch scroll strip let lets you swipe up and down, left and right through apps and the Start screen in Windows 8.

The Sculpt Touch Mouse will be available soon for $49.95 (U.S.).

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Earlier this year, Microsoft Hardware announced that the Microsoft Touch Mouse would get updated to include new functionality specifically designed for Windows 8. Today, we’re announcing what that functionality is. The Touch Mouse will be updated to support new gestures that will help make navigating through Windows 8 a breeze.

  • A one finger swipe will allow you to move side to side or up and down, shifting content on your screen.
  • 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.

Here’s a nifty chart that gives a little more detail behind the gestures in Windows 8 with the Touch Mouse:

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I am absolutely loving the Touch Mouse on my All-in-One here at home and Windows 8. For more on the Touch Mouse – see my post here. One thing I’d like to be clear about – if you already own a Touch Mouse you don’t need to buy a new one for Windows 8! All existing Touch Mouse customers will be able to take advantage of these new gestures for Windows 8 when Windows 8 is released this fall.

You can buy the Touch Mouse today for $79.95 (U.S.).

Starting July 30th, you will be able to pre-order the Wedge Mobile Keyboard, Wedge Touch Mouse, Sculpt Mobile Keyboard and Sculpt Touch Mouse on Amazon.com, NewEgg.com, TigerDirect, and Buy.com.

Microsoft Hardware celebrates their 30th anniversary this year and today’s announcements show they have no intention of slowing down! Microsoft Hardware: designed by Microsoft, optimized for Windows.