Microsoft unveils new Windows 8-themed mice and keyboards

Microsoft's new touch-friendly devices for Windows 8
Goodbye, scroll wheel; hello, touch-sensitive surface

With the official release of Windows 8 just under two months away, Microsoft's prepped a series of new hardware devices designed to work with the new touch-themed operating system like jelly on peanut butter.

A total of five new devices are slated to hit shelves within the next two months or so.

While the naming conventions for each could certainly lead to a bit of consumer confusion, the pricing for the new (wireless) mice and keyboards ranges from a healthy $49.95 to $79.95.

First up, the mice: Specifically, Microsoft's "Touch Mouse," which will come as named in addition to a "Sculpt Touch Mouse" and "Wedge Touch Mouse" iteration.

High touch high tech

In actuality, the Sculpt Touch Mouse is the "bottom tier" device that Microsoft's unveiled, and it supports four-way touch scrolling in addition to BlueTrack technology that allows it to function across a wide range of surfaces.

The touch scrolling bit is a feature that Microsoft's designed and optimized for Windows 8.

Similar to how one uses a tablet, mouse owners will be able to flick combinations of one, two, and three fingers across their devices to move content around the screen, quickly navigate open apps, or zoom in and out.

Additionally, users will be able to flick their thumbs to quick-navigate backwards and forwards within apps themselves.

The Wedge Touch Mouse looks just like that: The computer equivalent of a doorstop that delivers the same touch scrolling and BlueTrack capabilities as its previously mentioned "Scupt" companion.

Integrated BlueTooth connectivity – with no cords or USB receivers to speak of – will allow the mouse to work right out of the box for supported laptop, tablet, or desktop systems.

Finally, Microsoft's top-tier Touch Mouse, carrying the big price tag of $79.95, combines the standard full-sized mouse experience that everyone's used to by now with a full, touch-sensitive panel on the front-top of the device – more area to run your fingers across than the "Sculpt" combined with a more natural design than the "Wedge."

Keyboard craziness

Two keyboards also join Microsoft's announcements: the Wedge Mobile Keyboard and the Sculpt Mobile Keyboard.

While the Sculpt Mobile Keyboard looks like your generic, curved, wireless mobile keyboard, the Wedge Mobile Keyboard – for $79.95 – ditches the curved aspect for a straight, simple keyboard with one awesome addition.

In this case, the keyboard's cover doubles as a stand for one's tablet device – an elegant solution that gives users the convenience of protection and usability in one simple setup.

Via HotHardWare