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Microsoft’s new Universal Mobile Keyboard works with iOS, Android and Windows devices

21 Sep

Microsoft’s new cross-platform push isn’t a software-only thing.

universalkeyboard

On September 16, Microsoft introduced a new Universal Mobile Keyboard that can work with iPads, iPhones, Android devices and Windows tablets that are 10mm or thinner.

The keyboard, which will be generally available in October for an estimated retail price of $79.95, can be paired with up to three devices running different operating systems. Users can switch between the devices using an operating system switch. Devices running Windows 8 and higher; Windows RT; Apple iOS v6 and higher; and Android 4 or higher are all supported.

The keyboard does not currently work with Windows Phone because Windows Phone doesn’t support the Bluetooth Human Interface Device (HID) keyboard protocol at this time, Microsoft officials confirmed.

Microsoft is touting the Universal Mobile Keyboard’s support for each platform’s unique keys, such as the Windows Control key, iOS Command key and Android Home Button. The new keyboard also has a protective cover and built-in stand to hold users’ tablets or smart phones. The keyboard uses Bluetooth to connect to the various tablets and phones it supports.

The new keyboard is backed by a three-year limited warranty. It will be available via Microsoft’s brick-and-mortar and online stores as well as through various other retailers. It will be available first in the U.S. and Canada (sometime in October) and “coming to additional markets soon,” officials said.

Update: A few readers have noticed there’s no touch pad on this keyboard. I’ve heard from my contacts that this is due to the fact that Microsoft wanted to create a single keyboard that would work with iOS, Android and Windows. That meant they opted to build a keyboard that did not include support for gestures/inputs that were not enabled on all three platforms.

Microsoft also introduced on September 16 some other PC accessories, including a Bluetooth 4.0 Low-Energy version of the Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse, which works with Windows 8, 8.1 and Windows RT devices. It will be available in September for $69.95. There are also some new textured Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 Limited Edition mice for Windows XP (32-bit only), Windows Vista, Windows 7, Windows 8, Windows RT and Mac OS X devices. The new versions will be out this month and go for $29.95. A new Xbox One controller and cable for Windows is coming in November for $59.95.

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Posted by on 21/09/2014 in ZDNet

 

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