Microsoft Surface Tablet Gets New Mouse, Keyboard

Dennis Faas's picture

Microsoft says its new 'Surface' tablet computer will be more like a traditional computer than other ultra-portable devices, such as Apple's segment-leading iPad.

To help attract PC users the company is launching a range of new keyboards and mice specially designed to work with the Surface. The company is also adding the ability to interpret touch gestures to an existing high-tech mouse.

Microsoft recently confirmed that the earlier, cheaper versions of Surface will be available on October 26, 2012, when Windows 8 is released. More expensive versions of the device, aimed at higher-end business users, will be released early in 2013.

It's the first time in years that Microsoft has manufactured its own computer, a decision that it acknowledges could upset not only rivals, but its own hardware partners, including Asus, Acer, and Dell.

Surface Keyboard Will Save Space

The new equipment includes the $79.95 Wedge Mobile Keyboard, designed for mobile use. It looks like a normal keyboard but with the outer border chopped off, allowing the keys to mark the edge of the keyboard.

While this keyboard is much smaller, it's also slightly less comfortable than standard-size computer keyboards.

The Wedge keyboard comes with a protective case that folds into a stand to hold up the Surface in the normal position of a conventional monitor. The new keyboard connects to the Surface via Bluetooth.

Microsoft is also manufacturing a Wedge Touch Mouse. It's not only smaller than most mice, but is designed to work on any surface. Observers say the Wedge Touch Mouse will work even on pants legs (helpful if you are working in a very confined space).

The top of the new mouse has no scroll wheel, but users can stroke a finger along the upper surface to scroll the content on the display screen.

While the Wedge Touch Mouse has received a warm reception thus far, analysts are dismayed with its $69.95 price tag. There's already speculation few takers will pay that price, which might be reduced later on. (Source:

New Gesture For Existing Touch Mouse

Microsoft has also confirmed its existing Touch Mouse will get a software upgrade when Windows 8 is released. The mouse has multiple sensors on top, allowing users to perform touchscreen-like gestures, such as pinching to zoom in or out.

With the new gestures functional, users will be able to 'swipe right' with two fingers to switch between open programs, without needing to use the keyboard. 'Swiping left' with two fingers will open the Charms bar, which is Windows 8's rough equivalent to the well-known Start menu. (Source:

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