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Microsoft unveils Windows 8 keyboards, mice

Microsoft unveils Windows 8 keyboards, mice

Microsoft's Wedge mouse is an extremely odd design, but should be popular thanks to its pocketable dimensions.

Microsoft's hardware division is working overtime ahead of the launch of Windows 8: not only has it produced the Surface tablets and their clever keyboard-cum-cover, but it has just taken the wraps off a series of new mice and keyboards.

Back on familiar ground - Microsoft has a far longer history producing input devices than any other form of hardware - the Wedge Mobile Keyboard and Wedge Touch Mouse are, as the names possibly suggest, designed for use with the Surface for Windows 8 or Surface for Windows RT tablet devices. Connecting via Bluetooth, they provide a more classical keyboard feel and a fully-fledged traditional pointing device for Microsoft's latest attempt to stem the threat from Apple.

The Wedge Keyboard is designed to be as portable as possible, with a bare-bones tenkeyless design that includes special shortcut keys for the Metro UI. A hinged cover protects the keyboard in transit - and, cleverly, also turns it off to save power when covered - and doubles as an adjustable stand for tablets when the integral kickstand of the Surface design just isn't enough. Unlike the keyboard that comes bundled with the Surface tablets, the Wedge Keyboard has keys that feature laptop-style travel for a more comfortable experience.

The same, sadly, cannot be said of the Wedge Mouse. While it's true that it's one of the smallest and most portable mice around, its door-stop design is likely to be divisive - although the touch-sensitive surface doubling as a four-way touch scrolling trackpad may help alleviate concerns over the design.

For traditionalists, the Sculpt Mobile Keyboard and Sculpt Touch Mouse may be a better choice. The keyboard is based on the design of the Microsoft Comfort Curve Keyboard, and is again a tenkeyless layout designed for portability. Although it doesn't feature the same battery-saving cover of the Wedge, the Sculpt does go to sleep if unused for a period of time only to wake at the push of a button.

The Sculpt Touch Mouse continues the traditional design, looking far more like a traditional digital rodent than the Wedge, but including a four-way touch-strip in place of the traditional mousewheel. Unlike the Wedge, however, BlueTrack technology isn't included - meaning the optical system needs a cleaner surface than the Wedge.

Finally, the company announced plans to offer a firmware update to owners of its Microsoft Touch Mouse which will add Windows 8-specific multi-touch control features including two-finger swiping to switch apps and swiping from the right-hand edge of the mouse to instantly display the Charms menu.

UK pricing has yet to be confirmed, with Microsoft suggesting US RRPs of $79.95 and $69.95 for the Wedge keyboard and mouse respectively and $49.95 each for the Sculpt keyboard and mouse. Pictures of all the new peripherals are available on the Microsoft website.

36 Comments

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Dave Lister 30th July 2012, 12:15 Quote
Maybe it's just me but it seems like companies are trying to make us less proficient at using our computing devices. I mean just look at that oddball POS mouse ! I can only imagine what the weird uncomfortable looking thing the keyboard is.
I'm glad I just ordered a rat 9 mouse and when budget allows a cyborg v7 keyboard - Proper designs made more functional ! not this dodgy looking gimmick.
andrew8200m 30th July 2012, 12:17 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
Maybe it's just me but it seems like companies are trying to make us less proficient at using our computing devices. I mean just look at that oddball POS mouse ! I can only imagine what the weird uncomfortable looking thing the keyboard is.
I'm glad I just ordered a rat 9 mouse and when budget allows a cyborg v7 keyboard - Proper designs made more functional ! not this dodgy looking gimmick.

RAT 9 and Cyborg V7...

Oh the irony :p
Dave Lister 30th July 2012, 12:27 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by andrew8200m
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
Maybe it's just me but it seems like companies are trying to make us less proficient at using our computing devices. I mean just look at that oddball POS mouse ! I can only imagine what the weird uncomfortable looking thing the keyboard is.
I'm glad I just ordered a rat 9 mouse and when budget allows a cyborg v7 keyboard - Proper designs made more functional ! not this dodgy looking gimmick.

RAT 9 and Cyborg V7...

Oh the irony :p

Those are standard designs with added usefulness. Not like an uncomfy looking mouse with a touchpad surface ! I mean can you imagine trying to push that thing around a desk ? admittedly a mechanical keyboard might be better than a V7 but that would be waaay out of my budget and I've never tried one to see the difference.
Guinevere 30th July 2012, 12:38 Quote
That wedge mouse looks dreadful. I assume you're just supposed to grip it with your finger tips? So it's effectively the front part of a mouse without the back half?

All their marketing materials and fact sheets detail how attractive it is rather than how ergonomic it is, so they're not doing this because it's a natural evolution - they're doing it because... er... someone help me.
julianmartin 30th July 2012, 12:55 Quote
Quote:
keyboard-cum-cover

OH COME ON!!!
Dave Lister 30th July 2012, 13:02 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by julianmartin
Quote:
keyboard-cum-cover

OH COME ON!!!

lol, now we know what microsoft thinks of us ! a bunch of wan*ers.
Gareth Halfacree 30th July 2012, 13:12 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by julianmartin
OH COME ON!!!
I'm actually quite impressed it took til the 5th comment for my prediction to come true. :p
alpaca 30th July 2012, 14:38 Quote
I like the design of that mouse. I use a claw grip, so my hand is not really touching anything except the front part of the mouse. If it has the same width as a normal mouse, this one will be much more comfortable than the minimouses they now market as 'portable'. Some thumb buttons would be welcome, however.
[-Stash-] 30th July 2012, 14:45 Quote
Took for the 5th comment for someone to actually *read* the entire article…

/me goes back to read the entire article.
schmidtbag 30th July 2012, 15:18 Quote
AFAIK, MS usually never made their own input devices, it was usually companies like Logitech and MS just slapped their name on. Kinda like Dell monitors, where Samsung and NEC manufacture it.

Considering how much I hate MS, I'm actually pretty interested to see the keyboard. The mouse seems interesting too but I don't find it to be a stupid product. I've always liked MS input and media devices, especially considering that some of the more quirky ones work better in linux than they do in Windows.
Shirty 30th July 2012, 16:40 Quote
I've got a strong sense of déjà vu. I'm sure we've had a -cum- debate in a comments thread before, and not even that long ago...

EDIT: Yep...
azrael- 30th July 2012, 16:47 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gareth Halfacree
I'm actually quite impressed it took til the 5th comment for my prediction to come true. :p
Actually, I was about to comment on that earlier. And would have posted the first comment. For some reason I just couldn't get myself to do it, though. Probably because I'm such a nice boy ...yeah, sure. ;)
stanonwheels 30th July 2012, 17:53 Quote
Is nobody else actually kind of curious about the wedge mouse? It's got all the contact points I use for gaming minus the macro buttons, if it's weighted right that could be really interesting. To me, any new hardware's good hardware, especially when it's something a bit different like this :)
GoodBytes 30th July 2012, 17:58 Quote
Guys.. the mouse is a claw grip. And it's not designed for you to play games. It's for a TABLET. you want the mouse as small as possible. For reference, here is the mouse with the AA battery hole.
http://cdn3.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/4842952/005WTM_SoftTouch_ABack3_FY12_gallery_post.jpg

Get a AA battery in front of you, and if you are some imagination, you can image this very small mouse at the tip of your finger tip.

The mouse has Microsoft Bluetrack technology sensor, so it works any surface no problem.

It's like the Logitech Cube mouse:
http://www.logitech.com/assets/41964/8/cube-icon-images.png
http://www.logitech.com/assets/41807/cube-mouse-gallary-3-black.png
You don't play games with it, you don't start drawing with it. You don't do any extended work. It's just when you want to use a mouse for a moment.

Anyway, here are some additional pictures:
http://cdn3.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/4842882/001WMK_wFlatCover_gallery_post.jpg
http://cdn0.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/4842883/008WMK_CoverBent_gallery_post.jpg

The cover protects your tablet from being scratch by the keyboard.. and the cover is also used as a stand for your tablet.

http://cdn2.sbnation.com/entry_photo_images/4842990/002WMK_WaferCoverSlateSide_v1_large_verge_medium_landscape.jpg
azrael- 30th July 2012, 18:03 Quote
Wedge mouse ...instant fail. Wedge keyboard ...looks acceptable but I'll reserve judgment for later.
GoodBytes 30th July 2012, 18:11 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by schmidtbag
AFAIK, MS usually never made their own input devices, it was usually companies like Logitech and MS just slapped their name on. Kinda like Dell monitors, where Samsung and NEC manufacture it.

Considering how much I hate MS, I'm actually pretty interested to see the keyboard. The mouse seems interesting too but I don't find it to be a stupid product. I've always liked MS input and media devices, especially considering that some of the more quirky ones work better in linux than they do in Windows.

Actually Microsoft does make their own keyboard and mouse. If you open a recent keyboard and mouse, you'll see "Microsoft" on all circuit board(s). Also, unlike Dell/HP/Lenovo mouse, where Logitech SetPoint software work with them, as they ARE Logitech mouses. For Microsoft it's not the case. It only works with Microsoft own software, as they are the ones making it.

The Verge did a little tour at Microsoft model shop for peripheral design.
1xZyF7l5_8w
pantalaimon 30th July 2012, 21:09 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Lister
Maybe it's just me but it seems like companies are trying to make us less proficient at using our computing devices. I mean just look at that oddball POS mouse ! I can only imagine what the weird uncomfortable looking thing the keyboard is.
I'm glad I just ordered a rat 9 mouse and when budget allows a cyborg v7 keyboard - Proper designs made more functional ! not this dodgy looking gimmick.

http://www.scan.co.uk/products/steelseries-6g-v2-gaming-keyboard-mechanical-cherry-switch?utm_source=google+shopping&utm_medium=google+shopping
impar 30th July 2012, 22:57 Quote
Greetings!

Microsoft... what are you thinking?!
Woodspoon 31st July 2012, 02:35 Quote
First light pens and now this, what's next?
MS might as well just come out and say it, "Metro, it's crap for desktops"
GoodBytes 31st July 2012, 02:48 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodspoon
First light pens and now this, what's next?
MS might as well just come out and say it, "Metro, it's crap for desktops"

I think you need some sleep, as what you just said made no sense what's so ever, and don't connect in any way.
fluxtatic 31st July 2012, 07:14 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
Quote:
Originally Posted by Woodspoon
First light pens and now this, what's next?
MS might as well just come out and say it, "Metro, it's crap for desktops"

I think you need some sleep, as what you just said made no sense what's so ever, and don't connect in any way.

Actually, it did. There was an article here just last week about MS bringing back the Light Pen. And that wedge mouse looks terrible, but I'm not a claw-grip sort. Also, I hate touchpads. And small mice.

Then again, I have no plans to install Win8, so I'll have no need for a touchpad.
Mrmelon98 1st August 2012, 18:17 Quote
Microsoft are appealing to technophobic people (who don't see the beauty of hardware) by making the peripherals look like something out of the Tate modern. This leaves out functionality of the mouse. They might as well have got a sculpture and stuck a laser on the bottom.
GoodBytes 1st August 2012, 18:41 Quote
Did you use the mouse? Did anyone used it? No! So how can you talk about comfort.
I used laptop mouse. The best I found is the Logitech VX nano. It's nothing like my desktop mouse due to it's small size. Do I care? No! Why? Because I don't do long work, or play games with my laptop. If I did, I would get a desktop mouse. This is for casual usage. Like using Office here and there.
GoodBytes 1st August 2012, 18:42 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by fluxtatic

Then again, I have no plans to install Win8, so I'll have no need for a touchpad.
So how do you use a laptop on the go?
I guess you prefer the red mouse point from Lenovo keyboard.
theshadow2001 1st August 2012, 19:39 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
Did you use the mouse? Did anyone used it? No! So how can you talk about comfort.

No, no one has used this mouse. But people have hands which interact a huge amount of objects on a daily basis. We have used various other mice as well. We should have a reasonable intuition on an objects comfort by looking at it. I can't imagine how to even grip that device. The wedge shape would mean a really awkward pincer grip between the thumb and ring finger

A mouse that shape is just never going to be comfortable to use for any period of time and its small size won't add to its comfort. However if they just made it into a stationary touch pad like you get on a laptop it would be small, comfortable to use and effective enough to complete most tasks that you need a mouse for.
GoodBytes 1st August 2012, 20:04 Quote
Actually, a touchpad is terrible. Even Apple's touchpad's. It doesn't come close to the precision that you get from a desktop mouse. This Microsoft mouse seams to bring a both.. touchpad and mouse together. While not excellent, for sure, for a tablet purpose, it's fine.

For me, I see perfectly how to hold it. in fact, with all the laptop mouse I used, you are forced in a claw grip. So in any case, you don't touch the area that is supposed to be for your palm, but isn't. Microsoft just cut that part out.. that no one uses... to make the mouse more compact.

You hold the mouse in a claw grip position, where you thumb and ring finger hold the mouse on the side, where, at the about, the battery compartment is , and you have your index, and long finger on mouse button area/touchpad. Get a laptop mouse, and see how your hands are put, and you'll see that Microsoft design makes sense.

It's strange that no one complained about Logitech cube mouse. I guess its a curse that Microsoft has.
theshadow2001 1st August 2012, 20:21 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
Actually, a touchpad is terrible. Even Apple's touchpad's. It doesn't come close to the precision that you get from a desktop mouse. This Microsoft mouse seams to bring a both.. touchpad and mouse together. While not excellent, for sure, for a tablet purpose, it's fine.

For me, I see perfectly how to hold it. in fact, with all the laptop mouse I used, you are forced in a claw grip. So in any case, you don't touch the area that is supposed to be for your palm, but isn't. Microsoft just cut that part out.. that no one uses... to make the mouse more compact.

You hold the mouse in a claw grip position, where you thumb and ring finger hold the mouse on the side, where, at the about, the battery compartment is , and you have your index, and long finger on mouse button area/touchpad. Get a laptop mouse, and see how your hands are put, and you'll see that Microsoft design makes sense.

It's strange that no one complained about Logitech cube mouse. I guess its a curse that Microsoft has.

The logitech is also rubbish. It only allows one finger operation. The pincer grip looks awkward, again it's too small to use comfortably.

A touch pad doesn't live up to the accuracy of a mouse. But I can easily operate a computer at a similar speed with a touch pad as I do with a mouse. But as you say with this mouse
Quote:
You don't play games with it, you don't start drawing with it. You don't do any extended work. It's just when you want to use a mouse for a moment.

a touchpad would more than suffice for what little mousing activities are left.
GoodBytes 1st August 2012, 20:33 Quote
You have no precision with a touchpad. It is not sufficient in any way. It's there because it is better than nothing. But for actually using the computer it's not. A mouse provide the accuracy needed, and is more comfortable. From what you are saying, it seams to me that you are guessing and assuming on everything, including your experience with a touchpad. And if that is not the case, then you better tell me what touchpad technology you have on your laptop, as I think that company made the best touchpad in the world (or a manufacture error that lead to the best touchpad in the world), that provide a great experience as would a mouse.. any mouse, and people should definitely buy this laptop. I would have never guessed you could game with a touchpad.
theshadow2001 1st August 2012, 21:09 Quote
I use a synaptic touch pad version 7.2. I use circular scrolling, the tap to left click and tap and hold to drag functions. It works fine. In fact I have used it to add a couple of lines in paint to a picture I have found!

http://forums.bit-tech.net/picture.php?albumid=2029&pictureid=28555
http://forums.bit-tech.net/picture.php?albumid=2029&pictureid=28555

When the ring finger and thumb are brought together they meet at quite an acute angle to the index finger highlighted along the black line. The wedge mouse would require the thumb and ring finger to pinch along the red line this leads to an awkward and unergonomic grip since it's more natural for the ring finger to be more forward of the thumb while the middle and index finger are pointing forward

No you can't game with a touchpad. In fact its one of the few things you can't do with any reasonable effectiveness on a touchpad. That said if you're going to game you're not really going to use anything other than a proper mouse.

I'm not saying a touchpad is better than a mouse. I'm saying its better than a mouse that forces unergonomic grips.

You have to admit that ergonomics have been cast a side to make way for aesthetics in the wedge mouse.
GoodBytes 1st August 2012, 21:16 Quote
Obviously the index finger plays a part. And that picture is just stupid. You don't hold a mouse like that, else it would be in angle.

What I am saying is that the ergonomic of the laptop mouses is 100% useless. as you don't place your palm (unless you have kids hands). Microsoft made a smaller circuit, and wanted a smaller mouse. So they made this mouse. Simple. They remove what you don't use. It might not LOOK ergonomic. But it's not like you are using any of the other part of the mouse.
theshadow2001 1st August 2012, 21:39 Quote
The picture isn't showing how you hold a mouse it's showing that when you grip or pinch with your ring finger and thumb it follows a natural path that is at an acute angle to the index finger. Having your thumb and ring finger grip something which is perpendicular with the index finger i.e. along the red line forces the hand into an awkward position. This is how you would likely grip the wedge mouse. With the thumb on one side of the cylindrical element and your ring finger on the other side.

You can't just throw ergonomics out the window because you don't use the palm! Your fingers follow a natural path to grip an object. When they are forced away from this natural path it can become uncomfortable.
GoodBytes 1st August 2012, 21:58 Quote
yes but larger you open your hand, the less the angle is. The mouse is large than a AA battery, which at that level, is a bit larger than a laptop mouse, so the angle is fairly flat, like your hand position on a large laptop mouse, or desktop claw grip mouse.
GoodBytes 24th August 2012, 21:12 Quote
You see, what I told you. The Mouse is actually not bad:
http://www.theverge.com/2012/8/24/3265121/microsoft-wedge-touch-mouse-and-mobile-keyboard-review

It's down side is just missing features, but overall, good product, and you can see from the picture, it's a claw grip mouse, as I was saying, like laptop mouses.
theshadow2001 24th August 2012, 21:48 Quote
Quote:
With no bulb to rest your palm on, the Wedge Touch mouse takes a little more conscious effort to hold and move, and the flat surface doesn’t guide your fingers onto it with bumps or depressions. It’s a bit like the mouse equivalent of a standing desk, with a stark disregard for conventional comfort.

Yeah maybe you're right...
impar 25th August 2012, 10:15 Quote
Greetings!
Quote:
Originally Posted by GoodBytes
You see, what I told you. The Mouse is actually not bad:
http://www.theverge.com/2012/8/24/3265121/microsoft-wedge-touch-mouse-and-mobile-keyboard-review
We may have different definitions of what "not bad" means:
Quote:
The mouse also supports four-way swiping to scroll, a feature that’s a little less consistent. Horizontal swipes work well, as does downward scrolling, but trying to scroll back up produces uncomfortable friction or pushes the mouse across the desk. I also wasn’t able to find a way to center-click, though I never found that limiting.
And no back-forward buttons.
All that for just $70...
GoodBytes 25th August 2012, 15:56 Quote
Quote:
Originally Posted by impar

And no back-forward buttons.
All that for just $70...

Logitech laptop mouse are 90$. Bigger (still claw grip), has back and forth buttons thaugh, no Bluetooth, uses 2.5Ghz wireless adapter.

[edit]Ignore that, Logitech drop the price of their mouse to 60$[/edit]
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