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- Microsoft Revamps Keyboards and Mice
September 8, 2005, 3:10 am
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Ergonomic design emphasized; gamers also get new peripherals.
Agam Shah, IDG News Service
Tuesday, September 06, 2005
In a massive revamp, Microsoft is expected to announce on Tuesday its
overhauled line of keyboards and mice, and a new line of gaming
Keyboard's New Look
After selling a keyboard that has retained the same design for ten
years, Microsoft will show off a newly revamped split keyboard that
includes improved ergonomic features and other new functions, says
Brett Kelleran, group product line manager at Microsoft.
The Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 eases typing with improved angles
that reduce motion, allowing users to type in a natural position,
"It's [Microsoft's] first big enhancement in keyboards in the last ten
years," Kelleran says. "We've periodically refreshed the design, but
this time we worked from the ground up and overhauled it."
Targeted at touch typists, the Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000
provides better finger posture to users, he says. "There are several
curves and arcs to reduce how much you have to stretch your fingers
[when you type]," Kelleran says.
Microsoft also has reworked the keyboard's angles to provide more
convenient wrist and arm postures, which make typing more convenient
for users, Kelleran says. The gable, which stood at 8 degrees in the
original design, has been increased to 14 degrees, which lifts up the
keyboard to bring keys closer to users. The keyboard also comes with
an optional palm rest and a cushioned wrist rest, according to
The keyboard includes a Zoom Slider button that allows users to zoom
into a cursor's location, Kelleran says. It also features multimedia,
calculator and Internet-browsing buttons. They keyboard costs $64.95
and is scheduled to become available in September.
Wireless Mice Debut
Microsoft also is expected Tuesday to unveil another new keyboard, new
mice, and a new series of gaming peripherals.
The other new keyboard, the Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000, doesn't have
a split design, but its curved, ergonomic design make it more
comfortable to use than generic keyboards, Kelleran says. Like the new
Natural keyboard it also includes a Zoom Slider button. It costs
$24.95 and will also become available in September, he adds.
The new mice--the Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 and the Wireless Optical
Mouse 5000--have more powerful sensors that result in better
precision, improved responsiveness and smoother tracking, Kelleran
says. Both include Zoom Slider and Magnifier buttons, allowing users
to magnify an image on the screen.
The Wireless Laser Mouse 6000, which uses "high definition"
laser-tracking technology, is scheduled for release in October priced
at $64.95, according to Microsoft.
The Wireless Optical Mouse 5000 is an update to and a renaming of the
current Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer product, Kelleran says.
Microsoft changed the product name to better describe the features of
the mouse to alleviate customer confusion about its functionality, he
Games Get Goodies
Microsoft on Tuesday also is expected to announce a new line of
peripherals targeted at gamers, called the Game Precision Series,
according to Kelleran.
The line's first product is the Laser Mouse 6000, a wired mouse with
laser-tracking technology that provides scrolling precision sought by
gamers, he says. Scrolling precision allows the mouse to collect a
deeper resolution of data from the screen than traditional optical
mice when a user moves the mouse, thus providing more detail of the
Laser Mouse 6000 features include Precision Booster, a button that
provides precise control for gamers to lock into a target in a
shooting game, and Gaming Toggle, a feature that allows gamers to
quickly switch to their favorite weapons, Kelleran says. The Laser
Mouse 6000 costs $54.95 and will be available in October.
Future Game Precision Series products will include the Xbox 360
Controller for Windows, a game controller that will work both with
Microsoft's upcoming Xbox 360 gaming console and Windows XP-based PCs,
Kelleran says. It costs $44.95 and will become available in November,
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