Windows 8 may not be available yet, but Microsoft is certainly preparing the ground to make it a success. Its latest effort: New Bluetooth peripherals designed for tablets and laptops running Windows 8.
The Wedge Touch Mouse looks the most interesting of the lot–as its name suggests, it looks like a wedge of cheese. It is also rather small, which while being a good fit with mobile devices, looks uncomfortable to hold. The device has no scroll wheel; instead, the top of the mouse is touch-sensitive and supports both horizontal and vertical scrolling.
The Wedge Touch Mouse uses BlueTrack technology, allowing it to be used on different surface types, such as carpet and granite. It also won’t come cheap at an estimated retail price of US$69.95.
The other Wedge-branded device is the keyboard. The Wedge Mobile Keyboard comes with a thick rubber cover that not only protects the keyboard, but can be folded in the middle to act as an adjustable stand for a tablet. The keyboard has a rubber-coated wedge at the bottom that holds it in place and also tilts it at a slight angle for better ergonomics. It’s priced at US$79.95.
Besides these two products, Microsoft has a more affordable pair of peripherals–the Sculpt Touch Mouse and Sculpt Travel Keyboard. Like the Wedge Touch Mouse, the US$49.95 Sculpt has a BlueTrack sensor, but the touch-sensitive surface is restricted to a strip in the middle. It’s slightly larger, too, which could be more suitable for those with larger hands.
Meanwhile, the Sculpt Travel Keyboard has a similar curved design found on some Microsoft keyboards. It’s a basic, lightweight keyboard that’s priced at US$49.95.
As these peripherals all come with Bluetooth connectivity, they will work with Android and iOS tablets.
Do note that the prices here are for the US market and they may vary in other countries. According to Microsoft, these new products will be “coming soon at the online Microsoft Store and other retailers”.
Microsoft also announced that its existing Touch Mouse will get updated with support for new Windows 8 touch gestures.
We should be able to get our own hands-on impressions, along with Asian pricing and availability, later this week when Microsoft launches these products in Singapore.