Microsoft has unveiled its new lineup of mice and keyboards designed for navigating through its forthcoming Windows 8 operating system. Consisting of three mice and two keyboards, these peripherals mark the largest group of Bluetooth-compatible products to be released at once by Microsoft's hardware division.
The ultraslim Wedge Mobile Keyboard (below) is geared toward tablet users seeking a portable, full-size keyboard. Despite being incredibly compact and weighing next to nothing, it sports a full-size keyboard, along with Windows 8 hotkeys and built-in media keys. One of the Wedge Mobile Keyboard's niftiest features is its multifaceted cover, which includes a flexible material that can be shaped into a tablet stand whenever it's not protecting the keyboard. Moreover, removing the cover automatically powers on the Wedge Mobile Keyboard in a manner similar to that of Apple's Smart Cover. The Wedge Mobile Keyboard runs on two triple-A batteries, and the battery compartment juts out in a manner that allows it to double as a grip for holding your tablet. Information released by Microsoft only lists prices in US dollars at this stage, with the Wedge Mobile Keyboard selling for $79.95 (£50.90).
The Wedge Touch Mouse (below) is a distillation of a mouse's functionality recombined into the lightest, smallest mouse ever made by Microsoft. Small enough to fit into your pocket, its tiny, wedge-shaped chassis is designed to be held between the user's thumb and ring finger. Like the Wedge Mobile Keyboard, its Bluetooth connectivity eliminates clutter, ensuring that you won't have to mess around with any cables or dongles. Further adding to its portability is Microsoft's BlueTrack technology, which allows the Wedge Mobile Touch Mouse to be used on virtually any surface. It runs on a single triple-A battery, and it will likely last for a while thanks to BackPack mode, which automatically powers the Wedge Touch Mouse down whenever your tablet is turned off. The Wedge Touch Mouse will sell for $69.95 (£44.55).
Microsoft also unveiled its new Sculpt Mobile Keyboard and Mouse. The Sculpt Keyboard (below) features Bluetooth connectivity and an ergonomic curved design. Updated for Windows 8, the keyboard has several hotkeys corresponding to the new Windows 8 Charms, as well as an updated Windows button, which features the new logo and pulls up the home screen rather than the start menu. The Sculpt Mobile Keyboard will be available for $49.95 (£31.80).
Joining the keyboard is the Sculpt Touch Mouse (below), a compact wireless mouse optimised for the touch-friendly aspects of Windows 8. The small mouse features an ambidextrous design, has the same Bluetooth connectivity as the Sculpt Mobile Keyboard and features a wide touch-sensitive strip in place of a scroll wheel. Touch functionality includes vertical and horizontal scrolling, letting you navigate through the horizontally oriented Windows 8 environment with ease. Like the Sculpt Mobile Keyboard the Sculpt Touch Mouse has a $49.95 (£31.80) price tag.
In related news, Microsoft also updated its Touch Mouse to allow for updated gesture support for Windows 8. If you purchased an earlier model and intend on getting Windows 8, fear not; earlier purchasers will get the software update, free of charge.
These peripherals will be available soon at Microsoft's online store as well as through other retailers.