By Alexandra Burlacu | Jul 30, 2012 01:28 PM EDT
Microsoft announced some exciting new hardware on Monday, July 30: four new keyboards and mice optimized for tablets and laptops running the company's latest operating system, Windows 8. The new hardware includes the Wedge Touch Mouse and the Wedge Touch Keyboard, along with the Sculpt Touch Mouse and Sculpt Touch Keyboard.
While the Sculpt products are new iterations of existing gear, the Wedge products are really exciting and reiterate Microsoft's commitment to great design.
The new devices are lighter and more mobile and will work with tablets and laptops running Windows 8 and Windows RT, which are due to arrive on Oct. 26. Moreover, the new gadgets are wireless and connect to the devices via Bluetooth, thus reducing the dependence on cables and USB ports.
Microsoft said in a statement that the new hardware will be released around the same time of the Windows 8 launch. The company will also launch its Surface tablet with Windows in the same timeframe.
Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard
The Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard comes with a $79.95 price tag and is a full-size keyboard designed for tablet users. It features specific hot keys for Windows 8, providing quick access to search, system settings, and the Metro user-interface in the new OS. It doubles as a tablet stand and also comes with a cover that turns off the keyboard when in use in order to increase battery life.
The Microsoft Sculpt Mobile Keyboard comes in at $49.95 and features a six-degree curve, similar to the company's ergonomic keyboards. It also has many of the specific hotkeys for Windows 8 and offers ten months of battery life.
Microsoft Sculpt Touch Mouse
The Microsoft Sculpt Touch Mouse comes at the same $49.95 price point. It is designed to facilitate navigation through the Windows 8 start screen, as it offers a four-way touch scroll strip. Users can easily navigate through multiple panels on the Start screen simply by swiping a finger on the panel. Moreover, the mouse also allows for easier navigation through documents. The $70.95 Microsoft Touch Mouse also includes similar finger swipes and movements to navigate screens, zoom in or out, or switch applications.
Microsoft Touch Mouse
Meanwhile, the $69.95 Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse comes with the ability to shut down when the tablet goes into sleep mode, thus extending its battery life. It is smaller than a traditional mouse and can work on any surface, favoring mobile use. According to Microsoft, the device provides "four-way" touch scrolling.
Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse
Microsoft's new accessories will work with devices powered by Intel processors, as well as Windows RT devices powered by Atom processors. The new keyboards and mice will also work with Windows 7, Vista and Mac OS; however, Microsoft warned that some of the advanced features may not work.
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