Oct 5, 2016
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Microsoft expected to reveal two Surface keyboards and one mouse this month

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Is a Surface-branded all-in-one desktop really on the way? We’ve seen quite a few rumors to support this, and German-based WinFuture provided some evidence of the PC’s existence by way of the Bluetooth Special Interest Group revealing the Surface Ergonomic Keyboard. Now a second Surface-branded keyboard has appeared on the FCC’s website, complete with photos revealing what the peripheral will basically look like inside and out.

The Surface Keyboard

As the image above reveals, there’s nothing ergonomic about this second Surface-branded model. It’s thin and light just as customers would expect from a Surface keyboard. It’s almost like the Designer Bluetooth Desktop keyboard, and could be Microsoft’s next-generation model but with the Surface brand instead. The keys appear shallow but not completely flat, with rounded edges and white text printed on “Surface Gray” keys.

The Surface Keyboard will be based on Bluetooth 4.2 and require two AA batteries that are stored underneath, supposedly lasting up to 12 months. According to the user manual, it will come packed with a Surface Mouse that requires two AAA batteries as well, which is also based on Bluetooth 4.2. Both peripherals should be compatible with Android, iOS, and MacOS in addition to Microsoft’s Windows platform.

The Surface Mouse

As for the mouse, it’s currently on the FCC website as well. Again, it falls under the Surface umbrella, and sports a highly slim form factor that looks somewhat squashed, providing a more comfortable fit. There are no apparent buttons save for a single mouse wheel, but internal photos show that they are there, requiring just a light press of the plastic surface.

Microsoft Surface Mouse

Like the Surface Keyboard keys, the mouse sports a Surface Gray color inside and out. The user manual for the mouse also shows the Surface Keyboard, indicating that Microsoft plans to sell both in a bundle. That wouldn’t be surprising given this mouse is nearly identical to the model provided in Microsoft’s $100 Designer Bluetooth Desktop bundle.

Unfortunately, the actual hardware specs aren’t provided in the FCC listing, but don’t expect this mouse to power your PC gaming experience unless you’re playing Bejeweled Blitz or Minesweeper.

The Surface Ergonomic Keyboard

Previously, the Bluetooth Special Interest Group’s online database revealed a Surface Ergonomic Keyboard submitted by Microsoft on September 25 and listed the very next day. Like the Surface Keyboard, this model is a Bluetooth Low Energy device, which provides a highly secure wireless connection between it and the PC.

Related: The Surface Pro 3 can be a troublesome beast, but these tips can tame it

The Bluetooth SIG listing doesn’t reveal anything outside the peripheral’s name and the version of Bluetooth it will use, which will be v4.2. Because of this, its use with the rumored Surface all-in-one (AIO) PC is merely speculation. The company could be releasing a stand-alone ergonomic keyboard for anyone to use, or as part of a Surface AIO PC bundle, or both. This model may follow the design Microsoft used with the Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop keyboard.

Microsoft has other ergonomic keyboards too

Microsoft’s ergonomic keyboards come in many different form factors. The previously-mentioned $130 Microsoft Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop keyboard is a somewhat curvy unit that is split in half to some degree, with the left and right panels connected together by way of two space bars and the palm rest. It comes with a stand-alone key pad and the Sculpt Mobile Mouse optimized for Windows.

Another ergonomic keyboard provided by Microsoft is the $70 Microsoft Wireless Comfort Desktop 5050 unit. This one provides a slight curve across the main keys and straightens out when users reach the arrow keys and number pad. This model includes a wireless mouse too, and wirelessly connects to the desktop by way of a USB dongle. The previous Sculpt Ergonomic Desktop keyboard relies on a wireless USB dongle, too.

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Microsoft’s ergonomic keyboards are typically large and meant for desktop PCs. They are also typically wired or rely on Microsoft’s 2.4GHz wireless technology. However, the company did roll out a batch of unique peripherals with the launch of Windows 8 that included the Bluetooth-based Microsoft Sculpt Mobile keyboard sporting a curved, ergonomic design.

With Microsoft launching an ergonomic keyboard using the touchy Surface brand, we have to wonder about the nature of the product itself. Devices like the Surface 3 and Surface Pro 4 are sold alongside Surface-branded keyboard covers that measure around 0.20 inches thick. There is even a model for the Surface Pro 4 that includes a fingerprint scanner for password-free access to user accounts.

Microsoft’s Surface-branded All-In-One PC slated for October

Rumors about a Surface AIO PC popped up in July thanks to sources in the upstream supply chain. They said that Microsoft was scooping up components for an AIO PC that will serve as an alternative to the second-generation Surface Book, which is slated to arrive in the spring of 2017 alongside the Redstone 2 update for Windows 10.

However, the sources pointed to the third quarter of 2016 as the release window for Microsoft’s Surface-branded AIO PC. They claimed that the Surface Book 2 was pushed back into 2017 due to the delayed shipments of Intel’s new “Kaby Lake” processors, leaving us wondering what Microsoft is shoving into the rumored AIO PC.

Right now all we know is that the ergonomic keyboard listed on the Bluetooth SIG website may be bundled with the rumored Surface AIO PC. Whether it will be made available as a stand-alone unit is unknown for now, but there’s a good chance it will be served up separately as well. The Microsoft Surface Keyboard/Mouse combo will likely target mainstream consumers looking for cool accessories to spruce up their desktop at a reasonable price.

Read on: DigitalTrends

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