Now a days tablets and smartphones are more powerful than ever, enabling people to be productive on the go. However, typing on the small, virtual on-screen-keyboard of a smartphone or tablet can be uncomfortable and inefficient.
Microsoft has unveiled a keyboard designed for iOS, Android, and Windows tablets. It's the latest in a series of moves that underlines the company's focus on providing software, services, and even hardware for rival platforms to Windows.
What makes this particularly cool is that if you have multiple tablets running different platforms, you can just switch each one of them in and out of the keyboard whenever you want, thus literally making this the only tablet keyboard you'll ever need. Microsoft says that the keyboard features "an OS switch that lets you change from one operating system to another while maintaining a fully functional keyboard," which is a very clever way to make sure it works across multiple devices.
The keyboard's feature list is as follows:
- Compatible with iPad, iPhone, Android devices and Windows tablets: The OS switch allows you to work seamlessly across iOS, Android and Windows without sacrificing functionality, and to pair up to three devices with different operating systems at the same time. It also offers each platform's unique keys, including the Windows Control key, the iOS Command key and Android's Home button.
- Integrated stand: The multipurpose cover includes an integrated stand for your smartphone or tablet.
- Easy on/off: Flip the cover open to power up and connect, close the cover to power down.
- Protective shell: The self-enclosed protective shell eliminates the need for and clutter of an extra carrying case.
- Detachable cover/stand: The cover with integrated stand can easily be detached, allowing you to position your device in a more comfortable position.
- Rechargeable battery: Microsoft promises up to six months of usage on a single charge.
Microsoft universal keyboard is priced at $79.99, the keyboard is designed to be paired with up to three devices. In effect, you could move from a Windows PC to an iOS device to an Android device all without having to pair the device over and over again. Further, the battery-life is said to be outstanding on this keyboard, with up to 6 months of regular use on a single charge. Should your battery run low, Microsoft says that it takes no more than 10 minutes to charge the device enough to have it last you the entire day.
The Universal Mobile Keyboard isn't quite full-sized but should be useful for typing on the go: It measures 9.53 inches wide and 12 millimeters thin. The rechargeable battery should last for about six months and there's an integrated slot in the keyboard cover to hold and stand up a mobile device, so long as that tablet or phone isn't thicker than 10 millimeters.
With support for the various platforms and a standard Bluetooth radio for pairing to and connecting up to three devices, Microsoft's newest keyboard looks rather appealing.