Windows Vista might be delayed until the end of January 2007, Don't let the robotic naming schemes put you off taking a look at this gearbut that doesn't mean that Microsoft doesn't have anything coming out in the interim. Yesterday the Microsoft Hardware division launched a huge array of new peripherals in an attempt to lure us away from the traditionally drab keyboards and mice that most PC users are faced with.
Out from an avalanche of press releases that came from Redmond, four devices stood out as highlights of the launch.
- Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000
- Wireless Presenter Mouse 8000
- Microsoft LifeCam NX-6000
- Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000
First off, don't let the robotic naming schemes put you off taking a look at this gear. I really don't understand why Microsoft have taken these revolutionary peripherals and given them such boring names - I think that names consisting of keywords associated with the product followed by a four-digit number should be outlawed. Anyway, enough about the names, take a look at the products.
Let's take a look at what each of these has to offer.
Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000
I'm going to start with my favorite - the Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000. I've written a bit about this before when it was called the Ultimate Keyboard but now we have a little more information about this setup.
- Rechargeable - both they keyboard and mouse are recharged using a sleek horizontal charging dock
- Slim design - they keyboard is only 1 inch thick
- 2.4GHz Bluetooth "First Connect" technology - this offering excellent reception with a 30 foot range and as an added benefit the transceiver supports a variety of Bluetooth profiles to allow for connections to multiple Bluetooth devices
- Navigation touch pad - Control your PC with one finger!
- Intelligent back-lit keys - with ambient/proximity sensing. Now this is the feature that I really want!
- Buttons galore - Start button, Gadget button, Media Center Start button and Windows Live Call button
- The setup $249.95
- Availability - Feb 2007
We are pushing the envelope on hardware design to meet the new ways consumers are using their PCs at home and in the office. Keyboards and mice are no longer just about typing and clicking — they are an extension of the individual’s personality,” said Dan O’Neil, industrial designer with Microsoft Hardware. “The Hardware team took both visual and interaction cues from Windows Vista to help create this unique product line that keeps up with consumers’ performance expectations, comfort needs and style preferences with better recharging, real metal accents, a symmetrical form language and intelligent backlighting to continue leading industry innovations.”
Wireless Presenter Mouse 8000
- High-definition laser technology - high precision, greater responsiveness and smoother tracking
- Presentation control - Navigate through your PowerPoint presentation from up to 30-feet away from the PC
- 2.4GHz Bluetooth "First Connect" technology
- Laser pointer
- Battery indicator
- Carrying case to hold the transceiver and mouse
- Price - $99.95
- Availability - Oct 2006
A pretty cool all-in-one tool.
Microsoft LifeCam NX-6000
- High Definition 2.0 megapixel video - 1600 × 1190 pixels High Definition video
- High Definition 7.6 megapixel still photos - 3200 × 2380 pixels, interpolated
- 3X Digital zoom
- Built-in microphone
- Wide-angle lens
- Easy audio switching - mutes your music when you accept a call
- Price - $99.95
- Availability - Nov 2006
“We’re bringing the best combination of hardware, software and services together to deliver superior online communications experiences,” said Michael Cowan, product marketing manager for Microsoft Hardware. “These new products will enable our customers to easily take advantage of today’s VoIP technology for greater social interaction.”
Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000
The Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 is a specially is designed mouse to conform to your hand in its most relaxed position meant to reduces pressure on the carpal tunnel and wrist. The Natural Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 features:
- Ergonomic design developed to reduce carpal tunnel and wrist pressure
- 4-way scrolling using tilt-wheel technology
- Battery life indicator
- Price - $79.95
- Availability - Jan 2007
“The more time people spend working on computers, the more important it is that their peripherals incorporate good ergonomic design,” said Dan Odell, Ph.D., hardware user researcher and ergonomist at Microsoft. “We’re focused on ensuring that Microsoft Hardware products offer a comfortable working experience. Our goal is to reduce the occurrence and severity of repetitive strain injuries while providing the latest technology for increased productivity and comfort.”