Some excitement is still building in regards to the latest and greatest things out of Microsoft Corporation (NASDAQ:MSFT) headquarters in Washington state. Of course, there has been a lot of hype over Microsoft’s Windows 8, the new operating system that is specifically designed for touch screens – like mobile phones and tablets. But now, some accessories to that operating system have been announced that are expected to make Windows 8 more accessible and easier to use.
They are all new hardware gadgets.
Say hello to the Microsoft Surface tablet, due out October 26, first with Microsoft RT operating system installed; and Windows 8, the latest and greatest operating system, which Microsoft states in its annual report also would e available October 26. Mircrosfot just recently unveiled several new accessories to partner with Windows 8 for those who still like the feel of an actual key board and mouse rather than the touch screen.
Believe it or not, there are those out there who are still into that kind of thing. These new accessories will be available around – you guess it – October 26. However, for those who want to kill two birds with one stone – get the Surface tablet with Windows 8 installed – you may have to wait until after Christmas, as Microsoft stated that it would make those tablets available about 90 days after the initial launch.
As for the initial pricing? Well, of course in typical Microsoft fashion, we’re not getting any concrete numbers for a suggested retail price, and we likely won’t until early October (just a couple weeks before launch), but based on the cryptic guidance given by Microsfot, talk is that the Surface that runs Windows RT will probably sell for about $600, while the Surface Pro with Windows 8 and an Intel “Ivy Bridge” processor could reach four-figures. Start saving pennies now.
The new hardware add-ons were Bluetooth-enabled keyboards and mice, which reportedly would range from about $50 to $80 each. The mice also reportedly will have Bluetrack enabling, so that they would work on “virtually any surface,” instead of always having to be on a hard surface like a tabletop. These tools aren’t just limited to Windows 8, though; they will work with Windows 7 PCs and tablets, as well as RT and even Mac OS X version 10.5 and 10.7 operating systems.
The Wedge Touch Mouse, the Wedge Mobil Keyboard, the Sculpt Touch Mouse and Sculpt Mobile Keyboard will be released to eht public very near the time of the Surface and Win 8 launch. The Wedge mouse has four-way directional navigation and scrolling, while the Wedge keyboard can support Microsoft’s “hot keys” and has space for media keys. The keyboard also has a cover that can be used as a stand for your tablet. The Sculpt keyboard is a “natural” keyboard with hot keys built in, and Microsoft boasts that it has a battery life of up to 10 months, plus it will support Windows Vista in addition to the other OSs mentioned. The Sculpt mouse uses a strip for its four-way directional navigation and scrolling.
There is an awful lot riding on this launch, and it will be interesting to see how Microsoft competes in the tablet market alongside an established leader like Apple Inc. (NASDAQ:AAPL).
Microsoft is not just introducing a new operating system – it’s unveiling a whole new computing environment.