Microsoft's hardware division is developing a slim wireless keyboard that will make it easier for users to access Windows Live services and features in its forthcoming Windows Vista operating system.
Dubbed the Ultimate Keyboard it will be announced later this year as part of a desktop package said a source familiar with Microsoft's plans. The system will come with a wireless laser mouse the source said. View an online teaser about the keyboard here.
A Windows Live Call button will provide onetouch access to a list of Windows Live Messenger buddies online to initiate a videoconference or chat session. Pressing the button will automatically log a user into Windows Live Messenger and open a list of contacts currently online.
A Gadgets button will provide similar access to Gadgets in Windows Vista; Gadgets are miniapplications that appear on the computer screen to display news sports weather information and the like.
Backlit Keyboard Other Features
The ergonomic keyboard will include a round button at the bottombelow the space barthat will initiate the Start menu of Vista or Windows XP the source said. It will supersede the Windows Start menu keys traditionally found next to <Alt> keys on a keyboard.
Ultimate Keyboard's keys will be backlit and their illumination will be adjusted based on surrounding light and the proximity of users the source said. The keys will light up if the room is dark or if a user is close by.
A dock will be included with the desktop package to charge the keyboard and mouse simultaneously from a computer's USB (Universal Serial Bus) port. The keyboard and mouse will come with builtin batteries. The cordless keyboard and mouse will communicate wirelessly with a computer within a foot range using Bluetooth technology.
More Microsoft Hardware
The Ultimate Keyboard is just one in a growing stable of hardware products that Microsoft is developing to promote the use of Windows Live services. Last month the company launched two videoconferencing Webcams LifeCam VX and LifeCam VX to ease videoconferencing with Windows Live Messenger and to create photo blog entries on Microsoft's Windows Live Spaces community site.