In pictures: Microsoft Hardware's 30th birthday, new hardware
- — 01 August, 2012 22:00
This year Microsoft Hardware celebrates its 30th birthday, since its 1982 release of the first mouse for Microsoft Word. Today at media event in Auckland, we had some hands-on time with the company's latest range of Windows 8-optimised peripherals.
The Sculpt Touch was the most 'traditional' peripheral on show: a Bluetooth-connected mouse with a touch-sensitive scroll strip in place of a scroll wheel. It appears similar in style to the Microsoft Exporer Touch Mouse we tested in late June.
The Wedge Mobile Keyboard is a Bluetooth-connected device designed to be used with Windows 8 tablets, though we're told it's also compatible with the iPad.
As illustrated on the back of the box, the keyboard's protective rubber cover folds in half to form a tablet stand. The keyboard features 'charm keys' - Windows 8 shortcut keys shared with the Function row, and accessible via an 'Fn' modifier key.
The little wedge-shaped thing on its right? We'll get to that.
Pictured with my (average-sized) hand for scale: the keyboard is about the size you'd find on a netbook or 11-inch laptop. Note that the non-retail sample shown doesn't include the Windows 8 'charm keys' mentioned above.
The keyboard's tablet-stand cover used to prop up a Samsung Series 7 Slate PC. The stand is surprisingly solid, though we're a bit worried about the hinge mechanism: the hinge feels like a flexible strip of metal that will grow loose or snap entirely over time. Judgement reserved until our review!
That wedge-shaped thing beside the keyboard earlier? Microsoft's new Wedge Touch mouse. It reminds us of the Arc Touch mouse, with the flexible 'tail end' sawn off.
Unboxed: it may or may not be comfortable, but it's definitely portable.
We think this one will take some getting used to. From our brief experience it works just fine, but it feels odd (and potentially hand-straining over time) to have nothing to support your palm as you work. The mouse also tends to slip back behind your fingers when trying to push it forward.
Powered by a single disposable AA battery, there's no fancy charging cable or dock to worry about when travelling.
The Wedge Mobile Keyboard and Wedge Touch Mouse, pictured with a Samsung Series 7 Slate PC running Windows 8. According to Microsoft, this is your future PC.
We've got a Wedge Touch Mouse in the labs today, and a Wedge Mobile Keyboard on its way. Watch the site for reviews, coming soon.