Windows 8 represents a change in philosophy at Microsoft. As the company attempts to take hold of the post-PC consumer market, they have to design hardware to compliment their software. The first Windows 8 hardware to be revealed was the Surface tablet which attempts to rethink the tablet. The next hardware update is the company rethinking the keyboard and mouse.
Microsoft officially unveiled the new keyboard and mouse designs that will compliment the launch of Windows 8. The company will be releasing two keyboards and two mice that will compliment either tablets or desktop PCs.
First up is the Wedge Mobile Keyboard and Mouse. Microsoft likes to call them "uber-mobile" devices presumably for their small, light-weight design. The Wedge Keyboard is a fully functional keyboard that connects via bluetooth. It also features a snap on rubber cover that can doubles as a tablet stand when bent in half. The keyboard will cost $79.95.
The Wedge Mouse is the strangest of the Wedge branded accessories. It's a small mouse that looks more like a doorstop. It's similar to Apple's Magic Mouse in that it has no buttons. Everything is controlled through touch. The company also claims that it will work on any surface which is great news for those of us who forget to take a mousepad when traveling. The mouse will be available for $69.95.
For those who want something a little more familiar, Microsoft will also be releasing the Sculpt Mobile Keyboard and Touch Mouse. These peripherals will also work with tablets through bluetooth, but they also seem right at home with Windows 8 desktops or laptops. The Sculpt Mobile Keyboard features a curved design that will help your hands be in a more natural resting position when typing. It will be available soon for $49.95.
The Sculpt Touch Mouse looks more like a traditional mouse. The scroll wheel has been replaced with a touch pad that can scroll in all four directions. Unlike the Wedge Mouse, however, it features a left and right mouse button for more traditional input. The Sculpt Touch Mouse will be available for $49.95.
On a final note, Microsoft notes that they already released a Touch Mouse earlier this year. They will be updating the firmware on the mouse for existing customers that will allow them to take advantage of the new touch gestures in Windows 8. It's a wonderful gesture on Microsoft's part to prevent customers from having to buy new hardware just to take advantage of the software. The Touch Mouse is currently available for $79.95.