The Surface, Microsoft’s first tablet computer, will arrive on the same day that the company’s Windows 8 operating system will arrive. Microsoft said it also will introduce in the weeks ahead wireless accessories that are designed specifically to work with computers that use the new mobile-centric operating system.
Although the Surface’s Oct. 26 release date was mentioned in Microsoft’s latest filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission, the company hasn’t officially said when the product will be available in stores or what its price will be.
The arrival of the Surface coincides with the launch of Windows 8, which is an operating system that replaces the traditional computer-user interface with one that relies on touch-based control and application-based tiles that are similar to those of mobile devices.
Microsoft will introduce two new keyboards and three new mice that are Bluetooth-enabled and are better suited to work with desktop and tablet computers that have Windows 8.
The Windows 8-enabled keyboards have keyboard shortcuts that help to expedite tasks. For example, if you press the Windows icon button and the letter Q, you can search for information within the entire operating system.
The Sculpt Mobile Keyboard ($50) has a 10-month battery life (and an on/off switch that conserves battery power) and a battery indicator that activates 2 months before the keyboard’s 2 AAA batteries have to be replaced.
The Wedge Mobile Keyboard ($80) is designed specifically for tablet-computer use, and its cover can be converted into a stand.
The Wedge Touch Mouse ($70) has a touch scroll feature and BlueTrack Technology, which allows it to function on any surface, according to Microsoft. The Wedge Touch Mouse also has a “backpack” mode that allows the mouse to conserve its battery by powering down when a computer is sleeping.
The Sculpt Touch Mouse ($50) also is touch-scroll-enabled and has a touch strip on top of the mouse that allows a user to scroll through browser windows and electronic documents.
The Touch Mouse ($80) was updated for Windows 8 use; it will have touch capabilities, including a zoom-in/out feature that allows users to navigate through Windows 8 applications.
All of the new accessories will be compatible with desktop computers that run Microsoft 7 or Microsoft 8 operating systems. The Sculpt Mobile Keyboard, the Wedge Mobile Keyboard and the Wedge Touch Mouse also will be compatible with Windows RT, which is an operating system that’s used on tablet computers.
Microsoft didn’t announce a release date for the keyboards or the mice.