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back to article Microsoft unveils fondle-ready keyboards, mice

Offering the latest evidence that Microsoft is moving toward an Apple-like integrated product strategy, on Monday Redmond announced a new collection of keyboards and mice that cater not just to Windows 8's spare aesthetic, but also to the design of Microsoft's upcoming Surface tablets. The new devices, which Microsoft says will …

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Looks like a nice enough keyboard

That said, it doesn't appear to have a USB-cable option for desktop use, which strikes me as missing a trick somewhat. How difficult would it have been to give users the option of not eating up batteries when there's no need for it?

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Re: Looks like a nice enough keyboard

depends on the power usage of the keyboard.

I've been using a Logitech keyboard for over a year, and still on the original batteries which are still sitting at over 50%. (Logitech also a solar powered keyboard which doesn't need to have the users replacing batteries ...never used it so can't comment).

I must admit though that my wife's Microsoft mouse goes through batteries a heck of a lot faster than my Logitech mouse does.

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Re: Looks like a nice enough keyboard

re: Solar-powered Logitech keyboard:

Got one. Love it. Pleasant on the fingers; I know that it's not a huge mechanical beast of yore (lordie we all loved those late 80's early 90's IBM keyboards) but does me nice. It's currently "attached" to the lappy we have plugged into the telly, so its not getting much of a hammering (I wouldn't really call it a gaming keyboard) but I've done a full shed's worth of typing on it when it was doing service on my main PC.

However, think about it - I paid £70 for a keyboard so that I could save £5 of batteries a year... If the keyboard lasts ten years then I'd have made a profit.

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Re: Looks like a nice enough keyboard

According to the blurb on their site, it uses Bluetooth and has no USB connection which seems to continue MS's current design philosophy of building for the people of 2016 rather than the customers of 2012. So I'm pretty unlikely to be buying one of these. I'm still on PS/2 socket here on the grounds that my keyboard should not be using up CPU cycles just to communicate (USB always demands CPU cycles).

The mouse is probably an improvement for mouse users, but a mouse has always been inferior to a trackball (imo - less space required, no flat surface required, much greater precision using the fine control of muscles in the thumb rather than the whole arm).

Keyboards with a clitoris are the best devices for touch typists, imo, as you don't have to reach away from the keyboard ever.

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Re: Looks like a nice enough keyboard

"It's currently "attached" to the lappy"

Do you also say "Desky" and "Phoney" and "Tabby"? Please, if we have to import Americanisms, at least let's limit it to cases where it's actually shorter to say rather than the same number of syllables. "Lappy" sounds like a breed of French poodle. Can we get a Union Jack icon, please?

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Looks like a nice enough keyboard

"According to the blurb on their site, it uses Bluetooth and has no USB connection which seems to continue MS's current design philosophy of building for the people of 2016 rather than the customers of 2012. So I'm pretty unlikely to be buying one of these. I'm still on PS/2 socket here on the grounds that my keyboard should not be using up CPU cycles just to communicate (USB always demands CPU cycles)."

Yeah man keep rocking that dot matrix printer... Don't want that Android phone eating up battery and CPU cycles either. This tin can and string don't need no damn CPU cycles

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Re: Looks like a nice enough keyboard

"Americanisms"? Pah! I think not.

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Windows

Re: Looks like a nice enough keyboard

Complete tangent, my apologies.

While wandering around the The National Museum of Computing this weekend I spent a minute or typing on the DRS20 keyboard just for the pleasure of feeling one under my fingers again.

Modern keyboards are rubbish.

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Re: Looks like a nice enough keyboard

"Lappy" is an Americanism? I've only heard it from Europeans.

But a quick look through the double-tounge dictionary (<a href='http://www.waywordradio.org/lappy_2/>http://www.waywordradio.org/lappy_2/</a>) does seem to indicate that the earliest use was from someone in the US.

I still feel that it's wrong to tar an entire nation or geographic region with the crimes of a few individuals, however. I suggest we use the more appropriate term "pretentious-wanker-ism".

I do, however, use the term "tabby" quite often, but in my defense, I am a cat person.

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FIA

Re: Looks like a nice enough keyboard

I do, however, use the term "tabby" quite often, but in my defense, I am a cat person.

I knew it was only time before they developed opposable thumbs.

We're doomed!

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Pint

Oh sh*t, its another rectangle with rounded corners!

"which are products of the more radical kind of industrial design one usually associates with Apple"

Yes, the rectangles-with-rounded-corners kind of radical...

What you really mean with 'radical' is just "devoid of poor taste, pointless ornamentation"

I think people invented that in some of the earliest woodworking on earth, since even our dumbfounded forefathers from thousands of years ago somehow recognized that sharp corners hurt.

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Anonymous Coward

The wedge mouse now known as the 'cheese'

Well that will fit in my hand nicely thank you.

B*****ks it look an ergonomic disaster does it not.

It's a wedge of cheese for the real mouse!

Or

Can I use your cheese please?

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Re: The wedge mouse now known as the 'cheese'

No, Microsoft wants to give us a wedgie.

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Woah!

Having used the Mac 'hockey puck' for several years, I'm not going to quibble as to how much people will put up with, but that mouse is astounding. I want to turn it over and see if it has 'Jony' inscribed under it as a joke.

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FAIL

C'mon microsoft....

Okay fine. You like what Apple's been doing and you want in on that action. But did you really need to copy Apple's track record for ergonomic abortions that are their mice?

And your peripherals used to be so stellar too... Especially your natural keyboard, which saved me from developing bad carpel tunnel way back when.

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Meh

I'm not sure...

To be fair, a computer mouse is pretty hard to "feel" just from a picture - I've got a Gigabyte branded mouse (yup, from the motherboard manufacturer - hey, it was cheap) which looks about as ergonomic as you can get, all curvy and swoopy. Unfortunately this means there's only one way to hold it, which causes wrist pain, means my thumb is in front of the thumb buttons on the side thus requiring me to shift my hand in order to use them, and generally feels like shit.

I'll hold out judgement until I actually hold this thing in my hand, but I have to admit sharp edges on anything I have to grasp for long periods of time doesn't strike me as comfortable.

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Re: I'm not sure...

... about as ergonomic as you can get, all curvy and swoopy. Unfortunately this means there's only one way to hold it, which causes wrist pain, means my thumb is in front of the thumb buttons on the side thus requiring me to shift my hand in order to use them, and generally feels like shit.

Agreed. Back when I used mice (as opposed to pointer controls integrated into the keyboard, which keep my hands on the home row where they belong), my favorite were the brick-style mice that were common on late-'80s Unix workstations like the IBM RT PC. They were generally rectangular prisms with rounded corners[1], so they didn't try to enforce any particular grip; you could rest your palm on them or push them with fingertips or lean your elbow on 'em if you liked. And they had a reasonable number of buttons (three).

These days, though, on the rare occasion I'm forced to use a mouse (on someone else's machine), I am instantly filled with loathing for the thing. A terrible idea for an input device, for anyone who does most of their work with a keyboard.

[1] Take that, Apple.

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Paris Hilton

Perfect timing

I'm on the lookout for something stylish to wedge my door open with, I think I have found it...

Paris 'cus she knows a good thick wedge when she sees one!

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FAIL

Why have a nice thin portable 13" laptop when you cn have a tablet and a bag full of shitty acessories?

Win8 is supposed be all about touch so why would I even need a poretable mouse?

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"Win8 is supposed be all about touch"

Yup. That's why the Surface is being released with a keyboard and touchpad dock.

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Anonymous Coward

Win8 is a schizophrenic bastard OS

Using Metro touch to leverage the desktop users, and using desktop market to leverage the Metro touch.

Consequently, a lil' compromise is necessary to appease the desktop users.

More importantly, Microsoft is attempting to lock everyone's hardware in to the Metro-centric world. You want those Win8 touch gestures on your mouse? You'll have to buy our wedge mouse for the optimum experience.

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Trollface

"Aping Apple with custom kit for Surface slabs"

I see. Are we to take from that subheading that Apple invented providing custom accessories with the main device?

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FAIL

Ugly

I don't like them.

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FAIL

Built in obsolescence?

Is this an addition that the keyboard they showed with the Surface is no good? I thought that was one of its main attractions but if MS are already making alternatives they can't think it's that great....

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Anonymous Coward

Gah....

one thing MS do well is keyboards and mice that are good to use.

Looks like they've joined form over function brigade.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Gah....

There's always Logitech, or one of those pricey and exotic gaming/laser mice that's great for both work and play.

The Microsoft Wedgie mouse looks to be nothing more than a glorified touchpad, but we shall see when the real hardware is released to retail. Someone should do a review.

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Logitech had a similar design...

I believe it was Logitech who had something aesthetically similar a couple of years ago - It was a silver, wedge shaped 'micro mouse' for laptop usage - and I we really happy with it until it went missing from my desk...

I think the pictures in the following link put the size into a better perspective- I'll reserve judgement for I can test one myself...

http://gigaom.com/mobile/banking-on-windows-tablets-microsoft-creates-mobile-add-ons/

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Logitech had a similar design...

Good Link :)

"...Microsoft’s new touch mouse supports several gestures and swipes. For example, a single finger swipe moves or shifts content, while two fingers are used to manage apps,..."

For me the choice of one finger or two finger gesture just depends on how annoyed I am.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Logitech had a similar design...

The touch gestures are useless if you're not using Windows 8.

Ergo, if the sales of Surface and/or Windows 8 are abysmal, these mice will be collecting dust in stores.

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Trollface

Round corners on the keyboard, watch out MS, Apple will have a patent for that.

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Anonymous Coward

@Truffle

Dang. That's exactly what I was gonna say :-)

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Facepalm

I'm typing this on a Mac with a Microsoft mouse plugged in because every Apple mouse I've used is atrocious and entirely inappropriate for work. The new 'magic' mouse with gestures built in is utterly hopeless.

In my experience people often replace a Microsoft mouse with another Microsoft mouse which is the surest sign of a product done right. A mouse is a fork or a screwdriver; it doesn't have to look nice or be packed with features, it just needs to sit in my hand and obey.

I sincerely hope this remains a sideline and that they will stick to their existing range because if this is what Microsoft aspire to then it's bad news for those of us who just want to get a job done.

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"In my experience people often replace a Microsoft mouse with another Microsoft mouse"

I'm the same. Except replace Microsoft with Logitech :)

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Anonymous Coward

Mouse has special feature to help uses navigate Metro somewhat suggests to me Metro isn't really very suited to being used with a traditional mouse.

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Are you sure some is not pulling the wool over your eyes? The surface tablet has a keyboard and track mouse built into the cover and attached magnetically so it can be removed. They were demo'd at the Surface announcement event. It will even come in two versions: one a thin lightweight option for occasional use; the other a more robust keyboard with keys that have travel. Why would Microsoft want this stuff in stores before or after the launch of Windows 8 when there are many wireless (in bluetooth) and USB keyboard from which to choose.

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bluetooth

Why?

Bluetooth mice and keyboards are a pain. They use far too much power and, in my experience, loose their pairing far too often. I have a really nice logitech bluetooth keyboard and I never use it because it always has to be left on charge and half the time when you load it up you need to pair it with the computer again which requires you to find another mouse or keyboard.

By contrast the wireless logitech keyboard and mouse I have are fantastic, they use 2.4GHz so the range is very similar to bluetooth. Pairing is hardware based so the keyboard and mouse are paired with the dongle, you can move the dongle to another computer and there's nothing to install or configure. The batteries last years (I've had the mouse over a year and battery life says good, the keyboard should be OK for 3 years).

The problem with the logitech system is that it takes up a USB port. What we need is better bluetooth profiles that allow keyboards and mice to operate in the same way with lower power usage and hardware based pairing.

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Anonymous Coward

Keyboard and mouse for a tablet?

Doesn't that just make it into a rather clunky laptop? Is this a pre-emptive admission that tablets are FAIL?

Do they sell handsets with curly leads for their mobile phones as well?

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MJI
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BlueTrack

T read this as BlueTac - and I was imagining it covered in it

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Thumb Up

Innovation!

Wonderful to see Microsoft continuing their long and illustrious history of always innovating and leading the industry!

* In compliance with the Americans With Disabilities act this post has been fitted with <irony> tags for the hard of thinking.

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"Win8 is supposed be all about touch so why would I even need a poretable mouse?"

If your using your PC on a wall mounted screen do you really want to keep getting up off your sofa to touch the screen all the time?

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Am I the only

... right handed person who deliberatly uses the mouse with the left hand, because my right hand is the "lead hand" used for typing, enter, etc ??

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Re: Am I the only

Don't know but I'm ambidextrous and I swap the mouse from side to side to reduce cramp. That's when I'm working in an office with a mouse and I haven't brought my trackball. I just invert the buttons when I swap it over and it feels very natural to me in either hand.

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Re: Am I the only

you're not. But do you swap buttons too ?

I went for a job interview recently, where they wanted you to sit a technical test. The PC was locked down, and the poor interviewer had to dig someone out of IT support to log in to change mouse settings.

One massive FAIL with Windows, is when you RDP into a box, it uses the boxes settiings, not the terminals - so you have to change settings on the box. Which is a real nuisance, if you are sharing a server, as I used to in a team. Every time I logged in, I had to swap buttons.

Also the Windows login screen defaults to right-handed.

Now Linux - or at least the NX protocol is much more sensible, and inherits mouse settings from the client.

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Am I the only

no

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Anonymous Coward

Re: Am I the only

Even more massive RDP fail - the remote server gets kb settings from the client. I use a dvorak keymap - I RDP onto a server session, and the next person onto that session can only type M, A and numbers.

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Re: Am I the only

No I don't change the buttons, so I'm using left hand it's middle finger yo click, index finger to rightclick, and using right hand (which ocassionaly happens) it's the other way round.

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Anonymous Coward

That mouse is a purrfect xmas prezzie for Kryton.

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Silver badge

Nothing is going to drag me away from my Logitech MX700. Wireless, rechargeable and it takes AA sized batteries. When the batteries finally give up taking a charge you can just replace them. If you forget to leave it on charge for the week (a weekend off-charge is not a problem) you can just stick a couple of normal AAs in there to tide you through the day.

My only gripe with it is that sometimes I have to wiggle it or wipe the contacts to get it to start charging.

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WTF?

How is this a "new strategy"?

Microsoft have been making their own keyboards and mice for years, including integrating them with the OS such as windows and office keys, as well as scroll wheels, back-buttons etc. on their mice.

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