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Input Devices Microsoft Windows Hardware

Microsoft Releases Batch of Windows 8 Input Devices 156

Posted by Soulskill
from the mouse-doubles-as-doorstop dept.
jones_supa writes "To accompany Windows 8, Microsoft has released some interesting keyboard and mouse devices, all of which are wireless and use Bluetooth. The Wedge Touch Mouse is an artful product shaped as an angular wedge, being compact enough for travel too. Wedge Mobile Keyboard follows the style of laptop keyboards and includes a snap-on cover. Sculpt Touch Mouse is more like a classic mouse, but features a four-way touch-scroll strip. Finally, we have Sculpt Mobile Keyboard, which is a lighter version of a classic curved keyboard. All four are on the expensive side, but at first blush seem high-quality."
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Microsoft Releases Batch of Windows 8 Input Devices

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  • why no wires? (Score:2, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward

    wireless needs batteries and can be issues in a big office full of them.

    • by Kenja (541830) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:49AM (#40829561)

      wireless needs batteries and can be issues in a big office full of them.

      Not to worry, no one in a big office will be using Windows 8.

    • wireless needs batteries and can be issues in a big office full of them.

      Because all bluetooth means these will work with tablets and desktops alike, just like Win8.

    • by Grave (8234)

      If done right, a pair of AA batteries will last in a wireless keyboard/mouse for nearly a year, so it's not as dramatic an issue as you might think. I still can't see many offices using these by default, but no doubt consumers will like them.

      • Re: (Score:3, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward

        Not in bluetooth devices.

        I've had and used a microsoft wireless mouse with bluetooth, I had to change the batteries every 3 weeks. After a few months, I got rid of it, because the upkeep was simply too high.

        Release a version that runs on diesel, and then I might consider it.

        • by jerk (38494)

          Maybe not in your bluetooth devices, but my bluetooth keyboard has close to 6 months on 3 AA batteries (newer models of this keyboard use only 2 AAs) and it's at 43%. After two months, my trackpad is at 77%. This is on my "workstation", so it sees a lot of use 5 days a week, at least 8 hours per day (not a solid 8 hours, of course.)

          • by Pieroxy (222434)

            Keyboards and mice are very different beasts when it comes to battery life. A keyboard is basically a passive device emitting only when you press a key. A mouse is a constantly on device that needs to detect movement. In general, Mice consume 2 to 4 times more battery than a keyboard.

        • by Reece400 (584378)
          We have a lot of Bluetooth mice here, the Logitech and Dell (made by Logitech) last 3-4 months on average, whereas the Microsoft ones barely make it one month.
      • Re:why no wires? (Score:4, Interesting)

        by somersault (912633) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:01AM (#40829711) Homepage Journal

        Logitech also do a nice solar powered keyboard. My desk doesn't get any direct sunlight, and often I leave the lights off, but it always has plenty of charge. The batteries will apparently last 3 months even in complete darkness.

        Now somebody needs to make some decent solar powered trackballs or trackpads and I'll be cable and battery free :)

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Logitech also do a nice solar powered keyboard. My desk doesn't get any direct sunlight, and often I leave the lights off, but it always has plenty of charge. The batteries will apparently last 3 months even in complete darkness.

          Now somebody needs to make some decent solar powered trackballs or trackpads and I'll be cable and battery free :)

          You're probably effectively recycling the energy from light of your LCDs,

        • by Anonymous Coward

          Logitech also do a nice solar powered keyboard.

          It seems someone forgot to tell them that geeks and sunlight don't mix!

        • by Darinbob (1142669)

          But still you have a battery... Wired just works, no toxic products to dispose of safely.

          • Well, that point would have worked while I was still sitting at work.. but right now I'm sitting at home with normal battery powered bluetooth keyboard and mouse.. so in this situation the solar powered keyboard would still be more environmentally friendly.. though I could get rechargeable batteries of course..

  • Wedge (Puck) Mouse (Score:5, Insightful)

    by wazzzup (172351) <astromac.fastmail@fm> on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:48AM (#40829547)

    It looks like Microsoft is taking a page from Apple and emphasizing design now - along with the warts that go with it. I've never used the wedge mouse but instinct tells me that using one will invoke carpal tunnel induced rage like Apple's Bondi iMac puck mouse and clit-scroll Mighty Mouse.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by preaction (1526109)

      Which is sad, because Microsoft had made the best mice in recent years. I can only hope they realize that they DON'T have to be Apple to succeed in the marketplace.

      • by Jaysyn (203771)

        Which is sad, because Microsoft had made the best mice in recent years.

        Compared to who?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      I don't really want to use any kind of mouse other than vertical mice ever again.
      I got one at home, and I'm considering buying my own to take in to work.

      Doesn't look super stylish (although it does look funky because it's so unlike other mice), but it's just super comfortable.

      • I actually find this guy [amazon.com] to be more comfortable than vertical mouse, because besides the hand being in a natural position, you don't have to move it. With the vertical mouse (at least the one I have -- Evoluent) I find it kind of hard to grab when you need to lift it and also I often hit the "back" button on it, when trying to reach for it without looking (i.e. it is too tall).

        • by CastrTroy (595695)
          +1 for trackballs. They are better than any mouse. Once you get used to them, you'll never go back. A trackball is always in the right position. You never have to reach for it, and you never have to put your arm in weird positions to use it, because it stays in the same place. Sadly, it's getting harder and harder to find them these days. You can pretty much only order them online, and they cost way more than they should given their simplicity.
          • For general purpose usage, you're right. Even for graphic design, you're right. But a trackball pales in comparison to a mouse when you're a PC gamer.
            • by CastrTroy (595695)
              While not a professional PC gamer, I've been able to hold my own against people using a mouse. As long as they were similarly experienced to me in the game. Maybe at the top end it matters, but at one time, I was pretty good using not only a trackball, but also using the number pad instead of the standard WASD controls. It really just depends on what you are used to for the most part. The nice thing about using the trackball is that you don't have to constantly pick it up and reposition it like you would
    • Microsoft was always good at input devices. Microsoft Natural keyboard is the one I instantly fell in love with and use it ever since. I also have some trackball from them. Don't remember the model and won't bother to look for the picture, but it is very comfortable.

      Apple's keyboard only looks nice. Pretty crappy when you actually try to use it (when compared to MS's).

    • Go do an image search for Microsoft Mouse [google.com] and tell us that they are only just started thinking about design now.

      Go on, keep scrolling the images. It is actually kind of hypnotic seeing all the shapes and colours scrolling by. It would be super freaky to do this if you were high on drugs!

    • by tlhIngan (30335) <[ten.frow] [ta] [todhsals]> on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:44AM (#40830245)

      It looks like Microsoft is taking a page from Apple and emphasizing design now - along with the warts that go with it. I've never used the wedge mouse but instinct tells me that using one will invoke carpal tunnel induced rage like Apple's Bondi iMac puck mouse and clit-scroll Mighty Mouse.

      Generally speaking, Apple mice are among the worst, and always have been since the original Mac. Mice, though. Their trackballs tended to be quite nice at least on the powerbooks way back when). Their touchpads have gotten way better in the last few years (acreage... I don't understand where PC manufacturers get their awful smaller-than-the-original-ipod-screen touchpads from that you can barely fit your finger on).

      But Apple mice? Generally crap.

    • I have the Mighty Mouse and it's my favorite out of probably a dozen I've tried. Apple quit making it in favor of the Magic Mouse, which I hate. I know people have had issues with the Mighty Mouse ball getting stuck, and from time to time mine gets stuck. However, a good soaking in 90% alcohol and a stiff fabric (I use a piece of denim on a wood surface, invert the mouse and rub the ball vigorously) and all is right with the world. A little compressed air gets whatever is left. I even bought a spare in case
  • by Guano_Jim (157555) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:51AM (#40829579)

    From TFA:

    I wouldn't use the Wedge Touch Mouse for extended, serious work because of its small size, but it seemed to work well for basic tablet navigation.

    Isn't one of the selling points of a tablet that one doesn't need to use a mouse with it? Who is this targeting?

    • by Mia'cova (691309)

      Mobile users who don't need to use a mouse for extended periods of time. But if you wanted to pick one golden scenario, it would be 'perfect' for on-the-go users of office on a win8 tablet, which is still mostly a desktop-based experience.

    • If you use your tablet as a screen together with a keyboard, you will want a mouse as well (or perhaps a separate touch tablet). Having to reach over your keyboard for any mousey action (moving the cursor, menus, etc) gets tiring real soon. I found the same when I tried typing for an extended period of time on an iPad + bluetooth keyboard.

      Then again, your question is a good one in light of the remark from the article. That mouse looks insanely ill-suited for extended work, and if you're only using the
    • Who is this targeting?

      People like me - I travel regularly for business. At airports and on planes I would use the device in tablet-style. When I get to my hotel room, I'd set the device up on my desk and use it with a mouse and keyboard.

      • Re:I don't get it. (Score:4, Interesting)

        by tsa (15680) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:42AM (#40830207) Homepage

        So basically you need a laptop.

  • Does anyone use these tiny mouses?
    I don't know A SINGLE person who actually uses these mini-mouses, and ultraportable tiny mouses, etc.

    As a matter of fact, I own a Logitech Performance MX [flickr.com], which is quite huge actually, and don't have any issue carrying it around. Especially since the laptop is the actual bulky thing. I've also noticed most people that try it seem to prefer to actually have something large and comfortable, since it's only ~150g vs the ~2kg that a laptop can weight.

    What's the point of savin

    • by MikeS2k (589190)

      Those tiny mice are quite popular where I work, but then I do work in a school where most of the users have tiny hands :p
      Probably the only real use for them.
      I prefer a larger mouse even though I have small hands myself.

    • Re: (Score:2, Funny)

      by Anonymous Coward

      Tiny cats.

    • Does anyone use these tiny mouses?
      I don't know A SINGLE person who actually uses these mini-mouses, and ultraportable tiny mouses, etc.

      As a matter of fact, I own a Logitech Performance MX [flickr.com], which is quite huge actually, and don't have any issue carrying it around. Especially since the laptop is the actual bulky thing. I've also noticed most people that try it seem to prefer to actually have something large and comfortable, since it's only ~150g vs the ~2kg that a laptop can weight.

      What's the point of saving space and weight in a mouse, when you can't even save 10% of what the laptop weight. Not to mention the charger. Especially since the price you pay (in comfort) by using a small mouse is really really high.

      Yes, I do. I currently use a Dell bluetooth travel mouse, as my main mouse. I do also have a full-size Logitech cordless mouse (similar to yours) but it's on a computer I use less often. The 'travel mouse' isn't 'for a laptop', it's just a mouse I really like. I find it comfortable and easy to use. Small mice also mean more desk space to fill with clutter.

      As an aside, I started using mice on Xerox workstations back in 1985, and they were pretty small by modern standards. The original Mac mouse was also quit

    • I have used a tiny mouse for years. My current one is a Logitech M185 [images-amazon.com] which is huge in comparison to my previous ones. It is 117g, but for me a 1.1kg notebook is at the upper limit of weight (my lightest was about 700g) so it is still one tenth the weight of my computer.

      To be honest, it is not so much the weight of the mouse that interests me, but just being able to fit it in my backpack. A standard size mouse seems a lot larger when crammed it into a fairly full bag than it does sitting on a desk.

  • by Simon Brooke (45012) <stillyet@googlemail.com> on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @10:56AM (#40829649) Homepage Journal

    Microsoft should reinvent themselves as a hardware house. A lot of their hardware is very good; I've never regretted any of the Microsoft mice I've bought.

    It's a shame their software is (generally) so rubbish.

    • by harrkev (623093)

      Meh. I got a Mobile Wireless Mouse 4000 a couple of years ago. Complete garbage due to the "nano" receiver. It burned out, and the receiver was too hot to even touch. I got a warranty replacement, and it suffered the same fate after a couple of months. Into the trash it went, and I now use a Logitech M305, which has been rock solid.

      It is a shame, too. I rather liked the design, since the receiver snapped into the bottom (no need to remove the battery cover like you do with most of the Logitech mice).

      I

      • Into the trash it went, and I now use a Logitech M305, which has been rock solid.

        I also have Logitech M305. Very good basic mouse.

        By the way, Logitech is a Swiss company. I recently checked the bottom of an optical USB version of the Pilot Wheel Mouse from 2004, and it's made in Hungary. But I suppose the newer stuff all comes from P.R.C.

    • by Mashiki (184564)

      I'll take Logitech over MS any day of the week, especially considering the differences in warranty policies. Heck, even Logitech pays both ways for shipping. That is if they even want the product back at all for warranty.

      • by ArcherB (796902) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:31AM (#40830075) Journal

        I'll take Logitech over MS any day of the week, especially considering the differences in warranty policies. Heck, even Logitech pays both ways for shipping. That is if they even want the product back at all for warranty.

        I can't speak for Logitech's warranty policies, but I've had to deal with MS once. I had one of the first laser mice (ball less?) that broke on me. I remember it came with a 5-year warranty. I called MS's support and the girl asked me when I purchased the mouse. I told her I wasn't sure, but it came with a 5 yr warranty and that type of mouse had not existed for 5 years. She laughed, took my address and sent me a brand new mouse. No questions asked. No sending my old mouse back. No receipt. No registration (who registers a mouse?). Nothing. Just here's your mouse. Thanks for playing... Love Microsoft.

        • by Mashiki (184564)

          I just did a warranty claim with Logitech. My x-540's were dying a slow painful death, channels dropping out. They sent me a new pair of the z-906's, covered shipping both ways. That's a hell of an upgrade in my book for warranty replacement, from $90 to $300 replacements. The first warranty I had for a mouse, one of their very first laser jobs they had me send back, to the US. Though, Logitech has sent me a replacement mouse without a problem every time I've needed a new one without a problem.

      • by tlhIngan (30335)

        That is if they even want the product back at all for warranty.

        It just means the company knows how much it costs to process a warranty claim.

        I had the same from Logitech - they sent me a brand new mouse after my existing one quit working - even in the new packaging.

        I figure it's because when they bother doing an RMA and shipping back and forth, plus paying guys to process RMAs, it would cost them more in the end than just shipping out the replacement alone.

        After all, a mouse is a relatively low-value item a

    • by phorm (591458)

      Do they make their own hardware? I thought it was just rebranded stuff from other manufacturers?
      Most of what I've had in terms of Microsoft-branded hardware has been good. Typing on an "MS Natural" keyboard right now, which I've always appreciated.
      I did find that some of their early wireless mice sucked though (IIRC, the "Microsoft Wireless Optical Mouse Blue"), but I believe they've improved with age.

  • M$ is really trying hard, and I'll give them that. While the "Wedge Touch Mouse" is an interesting idea, that's where I want to leave it. Just like Apple's Mighty/Magic mice, it doesn't look comfortable and lacks any decent usability - just from the looks of it. My Logitech MX does great, travels just fine, and has a scroll wheel (yay!). The other mouse looks like the HP and Logitech "entry-level" types, of course it has that neat 4-way touch area that looks about as wide as my pinky finger, so, you know,

    • M$ is really trying hard, and I'll give them that.

      So is the Special Needs guy who cleans the tables at my local Burger King, but that doesn't mean the deep fryer he made out of plastic grocery bags is a good idea.

  • by pointyhat (2649443) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:01AM (#40829715)

    We appear to be entering the age where we are the mercy of the designer and the consumer.

    Every "innovation" is now in the design space and is simply about establishing a brand and adding a layer of turd polish rather than solving problems or increasing efficiency.

    Look at Metro, look at Windows Phone, look at these input devices, look at everything Apple has done for the last 10 years, look at everything.

    It still takes us 3 months to knock out a simple bit of software, stuff still needs endless updates, problems haven't got any simpler to solve, nothing connects or works with other things properly without arguing with endless layers of configuration. Computing has become the activity, not the saviour of our time which is supposed to deliver us from mind numbing repetitiveness. We've gone nowhere.

    Real technical innovation is dead. RIP.

    • by JBMcB (73720) on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:43AM (#40830237)

      It still takes us 3 months to knock out a simple bit of software, stuff still needs endless updates, problems haven't got any simpler to solve, nothing connects or works with other things properly without arguing with endless layers of configuration. Computing has become the activity, not the saviour of our time which is supposed to deliver us from mind numbing repetitiveness.

      You clearly weren't alive in the 70's or 80's, when nothing talked to anything else and nothing was easy. It would be an amazing feat to get a database to import data from a spreadsheet on the same machine. CSV was the best you could hope for, and you'd loose all your metadata. And networking two different machines together? Good luck with that. Maybe with a serial cable and some Kermit scripts, you *might* get text files to transfer if you were lucky. Unless you had a few thousand dollars for a nice DECNet or Banyan system, of course. Want wireless data access? RTTY baby! A few suitcases full of equipment and batteries and you could open a Mainframe session at 50 baud.

      Now, two people can be nearly anywhere in the world and send any type of data they want to each other instantaneously using devices that fit in their shirt pocket, for the price of a few bucks a day.

      As Louis CK once said, everything is amazing and nobody is happy.

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Really!? When was the last time you edited your CONFIG.SYS or AUTOEXEC.BAT file? Or hunted down video card drivers from the manufacturer's website? When did you last have to run a game with some special launch/emulation settings?

      I can throw together an HD video slideshow in less than five minutes and have it up on YouTube in less than 10, then share it with whatever circle/list of friends I have via social networking in two clicks.

      I can create a blog website complete with a semi-custom theme, AdSense reven

      • Re: (Score:3, Interesting)

        by pointyhat (2649443)

        The social and entertainment wankfest works, if it makes someone an advertising buck. The moment you're no longer earning for them, you're tossed on the street.

        When it comes down to doing important things, it's a fucking disaster.

        Config.sys? Yeah I remember that, setting IRQ7 and port 220h for my SoundBlaster AWE32. Hard times eh? Well compare that to trying to get VMWare ESX 4 talking to a SAN so I can persuade it that the LUN has more than 2Tb of capacity. Esp when your kit costs £0.5m a whack.

    • We who run Linux can still pretty much be the masters of our own desktop domains. :-)
      • None of our software works on Linux, and it cost about £24m to build. I don't think there's a cost justification there.
    • by Telvin_3d (855514)

      That's because there are no more hardware limitations. Standard hardware is able to handle HD video or animation or anything else, let alone word processing. So of course all the current innovation is in the area of design. Hardware speed could double tomorrow and it would not make much noticeable difference.

      • Hardware is irrelevant. The software progress is non existent other than turd polish.

        Great discussion here, which explains why I still lug a 17 year old Ti-85 calculator around for math related tasks: http://www.loper-os.org/?p=300 [loper-os.org]

        • by Fjandr (66656)

          The TI-85 comment made me laugh, mostly because I've got one sitting in my desk drawer because it's so much faster. I'd routinely drive myself up a wall if I had to rely on any of the "quick" software calculators for short* calculations (especially those which are easier broken into a couple steps, as "Ans" isn't available on quick software calculators). And forget using software (short of Maxima, Mathematica, or whatnot) for anything but basic trigonometry.

          *Up to a half-dozen or so parenthetical expression

  • by onyxruby (118189) <.onyxruby. .at. .comcast.net.> on Tuesday July 31, 2012 @11:07AM (#40829779)

    Keyboards and mice are one thing Microsoft has always done right, what happened? Even in their darkest days, I could get even the most zealous of Linux diehard users to admit that they made some of the best mice and keyboards around. This is especially important when you want ergonomic products to avoid injuring your wrists! Apple made the puck and microsoft makes the wedge. Google, please don't make the square, if you do I will mock you forever, ok?

    Look, copying Apple with a design over function is not always a good thing ok? Simple isn't always better, sometimes functional and usable really is more important ok? Grr

    /arrow keys in the Android keyboard - where did they go? My list of examples could go on and on. People need to quit assuming that apple does things better just because their apple and do their own thing. dammit.

    • by CAIMLAS (41445)

      Apple is the new Microsoft and Microsoft is the new Apple.

      Apple is making money hand over fist, quarter after quarter. They have the 'desirable' products which everyone wants and clamors for, and nobody really seems to care that the 'added functionality' of the new products is mostly glam shoved on top of poop, with no concrete improvements or functionality: it's mostly just window dressing. Welcome to Microsoft, circa mid- to late 1990s.

      Microsoft is languishing and slowly losing market share to their compe

  • I noticed something strange about the "Microsoft" word mark on these devices. It's no longer bold italic and no longer with a notch cut into the 'o'. I'm not saying these products are fake, but is Microsoft rebranding itself?
    • Yes they are going through an extensive rebrand to make everything Metro-esque, including hardware. While I appreciate it for web sites and branding, it's shit if you have to do anything other than consume with it.
  • by PPH (736903)

    Ha, ha. I get it.

    Shouldn't groups of Microsoft products be referred to as a rafter [todayifoundout.com]?

  • From what I can tell, this is the first actual Bluetooth keyboard to be released by Microsoft for years. Looking for a replacement for my Wireless Entertainment Keyboard 7000, all I could find from Microsoft were "wireless" keyboards, using their usual proprietary wireless connections (and no mention of encryption).

  • Wake me when they bring back their best input device ever... the 5-button Microsoft Trackball Optical. Ergonomic, useful, and an efficient number and layout of buttons for work and play.

    As for WinMetro, what use is a mouse? Can somebody explain how, WITHOUT USING A KEYBOARD, you can exit a Metro app on the desktop strictly by GUI?

    Microsoft shills keep popping up explaining how we are all idiots for notusing the simple keyboard shortcuts. I rebut this by stating a UI is useless if you MUST use the keyboard t

    • by Avidiax (827422)

      Can somebody explain how, WITHOUT USING A KEYBOARD, you can exit a Metro app on the desktop strictly by GUI?

      Just move the mouse to the lower left corner of the screen and click the start button that appears.

      • by BenJeremy (181303)

        That doesn't exit the application, though. It merely switches to the Metro screen.

        How can Microsoft feel OK designing a GUI that does not allow you to CLOSE AN APPLICATION without a keyboard command?

  • this: "The Wedge Touch Mouse is an artful product shaped as an angular wedge..."

    as this: "The Wedge Touch Mouse is an awful product shaped as an angular wedge..."

    Looking at it, it in no way looks like it is designed for comfort of use.

  • Microsoft hardware has consistently been good stuff. If they would abandon coding altogether, their company might have potential.
  • The single most perfect input device ever created was made by Microsoft: the Trackball Explorer. [amazon.com] With a futuristic, ergonomic shape (it's the navigation control for Moya [wikia.com]) that's comfortable to use all day, I can't believe they still stopped producing them.

    All they need to do is bring this back with Bluetooth a few other touch-sensitive features, and I would be estatic. Not having to pay $400 for a replacement when my current one eventually dies would be nice, too.

  • These look really compelling. I just want to handle and feel them before I buy.
  • Normally I like Microsoft hardware. Their mice and keyboards are good (not the best, but the best for a reasonable price), and the Xbox controller is one of the best controllers you can find (I have two and I don't even own an Xbox!).

    But these?

    SHIT on a fucking STICK these suck. The wedge looks unusable. It was obviously aimed at being tiny (for laptops), but it's not much smaller than the Logitech wireless I have, which has ergonomic contours and a proper mouse wheel.

    The small keyboard combines the worst p

  • This article again makes me mourn the loss of Logitech's corded trackball lines. Over the years I've had to progressively downgrade my trackballs as they died and were no longer available. I avoid wireless desktop peripherals because batteries are absolutely unnecessary waste in a fixed installation which doesn't need backup power. The only wireless desktop devices I'll use are Wacom mice and pens, since they work via induction rather than batteries.

    Since the only corded Logitech trackball still being manuf

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