After sporting the same design for 10 years, the company has a new split keyboard with improved ergonomic features and new functions, said Brett Kelleran, group product line manager at Microsoft.
The Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 eases typing with improved angles that reduce motion, allowing users to type in a natural position, Kelleran said. "It's our first big enhancement in keyboards in the last 10 years," Kelleran said. "We've periodically refreshed the design, but this time we worked from the ground up and overhauled it."
Targeted at touch typists, the Natural Ergonomic Keyboard 4000 provides better finger posture to users, he said. "There are several curves and arcs to reduce how much you have to stretch your fingers."
The keyboard also provides more convenient wrist and arm postures, which make typing more convenient for users, Kelleran said. It is lifted up a further six degrees, bringing keys closer and comes with an optional palm rest and a cushioned wrist rest.
As for new functions: a new button that allows users to zoom into a cursor's location. There are also multi-media, calculator and Internet-browsing buttons. The keyboard costs $64.95 and will become available this month.
Another new keyboard, new mice and a new series of gaming peripherals have also been announced.
The Comfort Curve Keyboard 2000 doesn't have a split design, but its curvy, ergonomic design make it more comfortable to use than generic keyboards, Kelleran said. It also includes the Zoom Slider button. It costs $24.95 and will become available this month.
The new mice - the Wireless Laser Mouse 6000 and the Wireless Optical Mouse 5000 - have more powerful sensors that result in better precision, improved responsiveness and smoother tracking, Kelleran said. Both include Zoom Slider and Magnifier buttons, allowing users to magnify an image on the screen, he said.
The Wireless Laser Mouse 6000, which uses "high definition" laser-tracking technology, will become available in October for $64.95, according to Microsoft.
The Wireless Optical Mouse 5000 is an update to and a renaming of the current Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer product, Kelleran said. Microsoft changed the product name to better describe the features of the mouse.
A new Game Precision Series will be aimed directly at gamers. The Laser Mouse 6000 is a wired mouse with laser-tracking technology that provides scrolling precision sought by gamers. That means deeper resolution of data and better image detail.
Laser Mouse 6000 features include Precision Booster, a button that provides precise control for gamers to lock into a target in a shooting game, and Gaming Toggle, a feature that allows gamers to quickly switch to their favorite weapons, Kelleran said. The Laser Mouse 6000 costs $54.95 and will be available in October.
Future Game Precision Series products will include the Xbox 360 Controller for Windows, a game controller that will work both with Microsoft's upcoming Xbox 360 gaming console and Windows XP-based PCs, Kelleran said. It costs $44.95 and will become available in November.