Thursday, 14 September 2006 13:32

Microsoft unleashes planned Vista hardware peripherals

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Microsoft, which has been increasingly dabbling in the hardware space in recent years, plans to release a range of premium-end PC peripherals optimized to work with its new Windows Vista operating system.

The new range includes new wireless keyboards and mice with rechargeable batteries and Vista specific hot buttons, as well as new webcams and headsets.

Headlining among the new Microsoft gear, scheduled for release in january 2007, is a the Wireless Entertainment Desktop 8000, which at a hefty price tag of US$250, includes a Bluetooth wireless keyboard and mouse set. The keyboard and mouse can be recharged via docking stations.

The keyboard features backlit keys and has Vista specific hot buttons for applications like web conferencing. The mouse also comes with with its own set of hot buttons that can be customised to function as controls for media player applications.

Microsoft has also released a lower-end Wireless Entertainment Desktop 7000 model which for US$100 less does the same job but is not rechargeable and doesn't have the backlit keys.

Before the new keyboards hit store shelves, however, a new 2 megapixel webcam for notebooks, the NX-6000, from Microsoft's LifeCam range will be available in November, along with wireless and wired headsets.

With both the new Zune portable media player and a new HD DVD plug-in player for Xbox 360 also due to hit stores before the end of the year, it appears that Microsoft's software businesses are for once going to take a back seat to the company's growing hardware division over the holiday shopping season.

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Stan Beer

 

Stan Beer co-founded iTWire in 2005. With 30 plus years of experience working in IT and Australian technology media, Beer has published articles in most of the IT publications that have mattered, including the AFR, The Australian, SMH, The Age, as well as a multitude of trade publications.

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