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Microsoft Intros All-In-One Keyboard With Built-In Touchpad

On Wednesday, Microsoft added to its arsenal of Windows 8 hardware a new all-in-one peripheral that crams together a multitouch trackpad and a full-size keyboard. The device will be available sometime in April for $39.95 at participating retailers such as Microsoft Store, Best Buy and more.

According to a brief product sheet, the new keyboard has a spill resistant design, meaning the keyboard will still function after users knock over their morning cup of coffee all over the keys (been there, done it). The peripheral can also withstand bumps, drops, or other "accidents" that take place in everyday life.

Surprisingly, this keyboard connects via USB. That means users will be required to tie up one of the USB ports on a PC with a 2.4 GHz dongle. Bluetooth would seem like the better choice, but given the keyboard focuses on multi-device use, USB is the ideal connection. This keyboard can be connected to a smartphone, tablet, console or Smart TV with USB HID compliant ports. The dongle fits inside the keyboard when not in use.

As with all Microsoft keyboards since Fall 2012, the function row plays host to Windows 8-specific commands like the Charms bar, Settings, Search and so on. Along the left edge there's a special left-click button at the top corner so that users can hold the keyboard in two hands and click without having to interact with the touchpad with the left hand. The keyboard also provides volume buttons and what appears to be a mute button.

"With customizable hotkeys for the Web, music, photos and movies, you can quickly access your favorite media with one touch," reads the product sheet.

The touchpad provides support for two simultaneous inputs (two fingers), allowing users to swipe, scroll and zoom. For those without a touchscreen, this touchpad will enable users to swipe in from the right to reveal the charms bar, swipe left to switch between apps and so on. This touchpad also provides the standard left and right mouse buttons.

Microsoft's new keyboard is compatible with Windows 8.1, Windows 8, Windows RT 8.1, Windows RT 8 and Windows 7.

  • hang-the-9
    They needed to bundle this with Windows 8 when it first came out for helping people without touchscreens navigate. Good price, but the fact it uses a USB dongle makes it useless for many devices like phones and tablets that don't have USB ports. Bluetooth is the way to go if they wanted it to be used multi-platform.
    Reply
  • red77star
    Microsoft is really trying hard to convince people that they should use touch interface so their OS can make sense...what a 'tards.
    Reply
  • Am I the only one that is excited about this keyboard? I have an HTPC with Windows 7 and this is the PERFECT keyboard for it. My computer doesn't have bluetooth and i don't care about using one of the 6 usb ports for a dongle. As for using bluetooth if you want ot be "multi-platform"? I dunno about you, but my TV doesn't support bluetooth, my home computer doesn't support bluetooth, or my HTPC support bluetooth. I was actually hoping it DIDN"T use bluetooth, or if it did, came bundled with a dongle anyway.

    Also great is the "mouse" being replaced with a touchpad. One less thing to worry about. And at only $40? Sold.
    Reply
  • Spac3nerd
    A point stick is the only pointing device that makes sense in a stand-alone keyboard because it does not significantly increase the physical size of the keyboard and you can keep both hands on the keyboard at all times.
    With the space that is taken up by the touchpad, you might as well use a mouse.
    Reply
  • hang-the-9
    13109953 said:
    Am I the only one that is excited about this keyboard? I have an HTPC with Windows 7 and this is the PERFECT keyboard for it. My computer doesn't have bluetooth and i don't care about using one of the 6 usb ports for a dongle. As for using bluetooth if you want ot be "multi-platform"? I dunno about you, but my TV doesn't support bluetooth, my home computer doesn't support bluetooth, or my HTPC support bluetooth. I was actually hoping it DIDN"T use bluetooth, or if it did, came bundled with a dongle anyway.

    Also great is the "mouse" being replaced with a touchpad. One less thing to worry about. And at only $40? Sold.

    There are a ton of keyboards like this that were out for years, Logitech has one, lots of other less known names have one. http://www.logitech.com/en-us/product/wireless-touch-keyboard-k400r http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA0U008P8452 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=9SIA1NV1450475 http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16823852001

    This keyboard is actually a bit too bulky to be used as a good remote for a media computer, especially for a bedroom where you want the thing small enough to fit on a night-table. Although the touchpad is larger than most, it's nothing new for a media center computer, and is worse than most due to the size.
    Reply
  • Nada190
    Might return my K400 then, I don't like the mini shift and enter keys and keys are too close together.
    Reply
  • Soda-88
    That's a tenkeyless keyboard, not a full sized one...
    Reply
  • 2Be_or_Not2Be
    They needed to bundle this with Windows 8 when it first came out for helping people without touchscreens navigate. Good price, but the fact it uses a USB dongle makes it useless for many devices like phones and tablets that don't have USB ports. Bluetooth is the way to go if they wanted it to be used multi-platform.

    There is still a large percentage of computers that do NOT have Bluetooth. In fact, I would say that the majority of desktop PCs do not have Bluetooth. Even for the ones that do have it, I can imagine the frustration of people who will have problems just trying to pair the devices, let alone those who can't even figure out how to turn on Bluetooth on their desktop.
    Reply
  • hang-the-9
    13110413 said:
    They needed to bundle this with Windows 8 when it first came out for helping people without touchscreens navigate. Good price, but the fact it uses a USB dongle makes it useless for many devices like phones and tablets that don't have USB ports. Bluetooth is the way to go if they wanted it to be used multi-platform.

    There is still a large percentage of computers that do NOT have Bluetooth. In fact, I would say that the majority of desktop PCs do not have Bluetooth. Even for the ones that do have it, I can imagine the frustration of people who will have problems just trying to pair the devices, let alone those who can't even figure out how to turn on Bluetooth on their desktop.

    If MS wants that keyboard to be used for several types of devices outside of computers (as it seems to be according to the article), not having it be a bluetooth one is a bad idea. Every wireless keyboard I have seen comes with a dongle to use it with, you don't need bluetooth built-in to a computer, the bluetooth dongle will be bundled with the keyboard. But you can't add a regular PC wireless dongle to most portable devices that DO have bluetooth built-in so a bluetooth keyboard is a LOT more usable cross platform than anything that needs it's own special dongle to work.
    Reply
  • knowom
    I'll stick to having a traditional number pad on my keyboards thanks, but no thanks Microsoft. A touch pad in place of "some" of the additional macro keys "would still probably want 3-4" that you see in a lot of keyboards might be a worth while trade off.
    Reply