Windows 8 Keyboards Have Useful Shortcut Keys For Accessing Charms

I've groused a few times about how keyboard input is a secondary consideration in Windows 8. The newly-announced Windows 8 keyboards from Microsoft Hardware might not change my mind entirely, but I do appreciate that there are Windows 8-specific shortcut keys for common functions on them.

Picture by Windows Experience Blog

Two new models have been announced this week: the Wedge Mobile Keyboard (designed for use with tablets) and the Sculpt Mobile keyboard (a full-size model for travelling notebook users who prefer a separate keyboard). Both use Bluetooth for connection, which means you won't need a separate USB dongle for them. That's one less item to lose, though using Bluetooth might have battery life implications since it can be something of a power hog.

Both keyboards feature individual shortcut keys on the function key row for accessing Search, Share, Device and Settings charms. We've noted that you can access all of these options via shortcut keys, and learning those makes sense if you change machines with any regularity, but having them singled out on the keyboard will make them far more obvious to casual users. (Conversely, if you regularly use the function keys in their current format, you might be annoyed at having to use an extra modifier key to access that option.)

There's no release date set for the new keyboards yet beyond "soon" (which I assume it will be before the October 26 release date for Windows 8), and no Australian pricing yet. The US prices are $US79.95 for the Wedge and $US49.95 for the Sculpt, so we should see both available in Australia for under $100.

Microsoft [via Windows Experience Blog]


    MS, Y U No put Search on F3, where it's always been!

    Otherwise, good looking kit. :)

      and it seems refresh is on f6? when it's always been on f5. are they changing positions just for the sake of changing, i wonder

        thats no refresh, it's share on windows 8, I personally rarely use
        f5 to refresh, I just tend to click on it in the browser

    I'm not a huge fan of Bluetooth keyboards and mice - they go to sleep too quickly and take too long to wake up - but the Wedge keyboard looks half-decent otherwise. I already have an MS Bluetooth keyboard very similar to the Sculpt. I don't like it much and putting Win8 shortcut keys onto it is not likely to change my mind about it.

    I'll keep my IBM Model M thanks

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