New Hardware for Windows 8
IT at midsize businesses get ready: Your office area is about to get that much more streamlined. Not only does Microsoft plan to debut Windows 8 in October 2012 as well as the new Microsoft Surface Tablet, but the computer giant has announced a slew of new hardware that's set to work with the updated operating system across multiple devices.
A Wireless World
According to InfoWorld, Microsoft plans to debut keyboards and mice created to work with both laptops and tablets, including Windows RT. Each new piece of hardware is battery operated, set to connect wirelessly to your device of choice via Bluetooth. This is great news for those who hate contending with USB ports and the subsequent cords that can clog up a workspace as a result. A wireless connection should also, theoretically, allow users to move seamlessly from one device to the next, making the workday that much easier for those who love to use their mouse or keyboard with both devices.
The handful of devices--there are four in all--include the Microsoft Sculpt Mobile Keyboard, Microsoft Sculpt Touch Mouse, Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard, and the Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse. These updated accoutrements include hot keys as well as touch functionality specifically designed to work with Windows 8. All four pieces are designed with battery life in mind. The Wedge Mobile Keyboard comes with a cover that when placed on top automatically turns the keyboard off for increased battery life, while the Sculpt Keyboard offers 10 months of battery life on regular, active usage. Microsoft has also acknowledged that for many the definition of office space isn't what it used to be. For those whose workspace changes depending upon the day and time, they've created the Wedge Touch Mouse--a device small enough to fit in a pocket that can be used on just about any surface. All of the new items are also compatible with Windows 7 and Mac OS, although expect that some functions may not work with these other operating systems.
Bridging the Gap
It's safe to say that the first half of 2012 has been rife with ups and downs for Microsoft. The company's much-anticipated Windows on ARM (now Windows RT) tablet has yet to emerge. And even when it does, it won't be IT friendly, eliminating a wide swath of users who would have potentially clamored for a new technology that's already compatible with their choice operating system. This leaves the Surface Pro tablet, although according to ComputerWorld the advent of both tablets has left Microsoft at risk for alienating the computer makers whose laptops and desktops support the Windows operating system.
Creating easy-to-use hardware that works between both the old (laptops) and the new (tablets) may be a small attempt by Microsoft to keep a stake in their bread and butter while acknowledging that times are changing. Regardless, the updated hardware stands to make ITs (and employees) workspace a little less cluttered.
This post was written as part of the IBM for Midsize Business program, which provides midsize businesses with the tools, expertise and solutions they need to become engines of a smarter planet. Like us on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter.