Microsoft Announces Availability of New Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite
REDMOND, Wash., Feb. 26, 1998 — Microsoft Corp. today announced the retail availability of Microsoft® Natural® Keyboard Elite, successor to Microsoft Natural Keyboard.
Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite is designed to allow users to place their hands, wrists and forearms in a natural, relaxed position for greater comfort while typing. Building on the success of its predecessor, which has sold more than 3 million units since it shipped in October 1994, Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite incorporates several design improvements. These include a smaller footprint, a USB-compatibility option for next-generation PC systems, and a lower estimated price tag.
“People are spending more time than ever on their PCs, and it’s important to us that our customers are comfortable while they use our keyboards,” said Rick Thompson, vice president of the hardware group at Microsoft.
Hardware Features Help Enhance Comfort and Productivity
Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite is ergonomically designed for greater comfort. The split, gently sloped keyboard encourages a natural position. The width and angle of the keyboard also help users keep their shoulders straighter and arms more relaxed while typing. An integrated palm rest provides a surface on which users can rest their hands between periods of typing. Legs beneath the keyboard allow adjustments to accommodate different body sizes and chair and desk heights.
Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite has 104 keys, three more than standard keyboards. Two of these are Windows® operating system-specific keys that provide easy access to the Start menu and enable quick shortcuts in Windows 95. The third is an application key that functions as a context-sensitive right-mouse button.
Microsoft teamed with experts in the fields of ergonomics, biomechanics and industrial design to test and refine the new keyboard as well as to develop educational materials and warning labels about how to use the keyboard properly. Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite ships with three such warning labels and an Ergonomics Guide inside the user manual. The Ergonomics Guide was developed with the help of ergonomics experts such as Edie Adams, formerly of the Joyce Institute of Seattle and now the ergonomics manager at Microsoft, and Dr. David Rempel of the University of California at San Francisco Ergonomics Laboratory.
The warning labels and Ergonomics Guide are designed to educate users and provide information on how to use the product. The labels also direct users to the Ergonomics Guide, which provides information on setting up a comfortable work space, helpful exercises and recommendations for work habits, such as taking frequent breaks while typing and maintaining a straighter wrist posture.
Retail Availability, Pricing and System Requirements
Microsoft Natural Keyboard Elite is scheduled to be widely available in February 1998 through authorized distributors and resellers. The estimated retail price is $64.95. The Microsoft
.Natural Keyboard Elite will work with any x86 PC with a PS/2 port. To use the USB adapter (included in the box), a PC with a USB port running Windows 98 is required.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software for personal computers. The company offers a wide range of products and services for business and personal use, each designed with the mission of making it easier and more enjoyable for people to take advantage of the full power of personal computing every day.
Microsoft, Natural and Windows are either registered trademarks or trademarks of Microsoft Corp. in the United States and/or other countries.
Other product and company names herein may be trademarks of their respective owners.
Microsoft does not claim that its new Natural Keyboard Elite will either prevent or cure repetitive stress injuries. Microsoft believes Natural Keyboard Elite does allow the user to assume a more natural posture of the hands and wrists. Many factors may contribute to an individual’s discomfort during periods of repetitive activity. Some of these factors and the methods to minimize their adverse effects are explained in the warning labels and the Ergonomics Guide, which accompanies the new keyboard. They should be studied and followed by each user.
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