As you may know, Windows 8 will launch on Oct 26, and Microsoft has been busy upgrading its hardware accessories to match the new OS functionalities and new visual language (icons, colors…). For ultra-portable tablets and computers, Microsoft is introducing the Wedge Touch Mouse ($69.95) and the Wedge Mobile Keyboard. Both are ultra-compact  input devices designed to be light and small. The Wedge mouse is surprisingly agreeable to use for such a small device.

The Wedge keyboard ($79.95) has a more classic “smartphone keyboard” look, but its design is clean. The keyboard turns ON as soon as its cover is removed and goes to sleep when covered. The cover itself can also be used as a stand (horizontal and vertical position) for a “Pro” (Intel-powered) Windows 8 tablet.

If you plan on working for a bit longer, Microsoft has designed the Sculpt keyboard and mouse ($49.95 for each). Both are bigger and more comfortable than their Wedge counterparts. The mouse features a four way touch scroll strip that detects vertical and horizontal swipes. The vertical swipe is equivalent to the mouse wheel, while the horizontal motion is useful to induce scrolling in the Metro interface.

All the devices run using Bluetooth (3.0) technology, so they leave USB ports available (these are scarce elements on tablets). This may not be obvious, but Microsoft has also updated the keyboard Start button and the function (Fx) buttons with the new Windows 8 icons. What do you think?

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