REDMOND, Wash., Aug. 13, 2001 — Raising the bar on computing efficiency, Microsoft Corp. today unveiled the new Microsoft® Office Keyboard, the companys most significant keyboard advancement since 1994 when the split-design, ergonomic Natural® Keyboard Elite was introduced.
The Office Keyboard is designed to streamline tasks and increase overall desktop efficiency and productivity with key innovations, including a left-side Single Touch Pad that encourages users to compute with both hands concurrently. This unique feature includes a scroll wheel, Cut, Copy and Paste Hot Keys, and an application toggle switch.
Extensive user research inspired Microsofts Office Keyboard development team to discover how people interact with conventional keyboards. For example, the team studied millions of users keystroke actions, and it learned that users spend most of their time completing common tasks such as composing and sending e-mail, Web browsing and composing documents.
Microsoft research showed that other frequently used functions include New, Open and Close; Reply, Forward and Send; and Spell, Save and Print. These everyday functions are now easily accessible with Office Keyboards uniquely repositioned F key row. New functionality is clearly labeled and repositioned in groups of three according to the natural sequence of tasks. Users can also revert to traditional F key functions by pressing an F key lock.
“Computing is becoming more personal,”
said Roger Kay, director of Client Computing at IDC.
“Our research indicates that customers want better ergonomics and style, and the industry is responding with better design and customizable features.”
Compatible with both PC-based and Macintosh operating systems, the keyboard includes several new features that contribute to an improved computing experience:
Single Touch Pads left-handed functionality is designed to significantly reduce common keystrokes and increase productivity by offering the innovative keyboard scroll wheel; single-touch buttons for the most commonly used tasks of Copy, Cut and Paste; an application toggle to switch between open windows on a desktop; and Back and Forward buttons for quick Internet navigation.
All the F keys help users perform common tasks such as Help, New, Open, Close, Reply, Forward, Send, Spell Check, Save, Print, Undo and Redo. Users can press the F key lock if they prefer standard F key functionality.
12 Hot Keys make launching and returning to popular programs, including Word, Excel, Mail, Files, Calendar, Calculator and Web browser, a one-touch process, while multimedia Hot Keys control volume or mute with a quick touch.
Office XP features provide two dedicated Task Pane and Office Home Hot Keys, making exploration of applications, Web help and services fast and simple.
“Our research has underscored just how integral keyboards are to our daily lives. In fact, we discovered that most computer users touch their keyboards more than their partners or spouses each day,”
said Christy Hughes, product marketing manager of keyboards at Microsoft.
“When you touch something that much every day, its important that it be a comfortable, highly productive experience. Office Keyboard is designed for the way we really work.”
Microsoft Office Keyboard offers more than 50 programmable button options, making it simple for users to easily customize their keyboards through IntelliType Pro keyboard software. Additional programmable functions specific to Office XP are available.
Updating the flat keyboard design, Office Keyboard features a shaped wrist rest for added comfort. The new keyboard uses a standard PS/2 or USB connection and will be widely available in September 2001 for an estimated retail price of $64.95 (U.S.).
To use Office Keyboard, users need the following:
For PCs running Windows® operating systems:
Microsoft Office 97 or later (does not support Small Business Tools application)
Pentium 133 or higher processor
Microsoft Windows 98, Windows 2000, Windows NT® 4.0 with Service Pack 6 or later, or Windows Millennium Edition (Windows Me)
32 MB of RAM for Windows 98 and Windows Me; 64 MB of RAM for Windows 2000 and Windows NT
35 MB of hard disk space
A PS/2 or USB connection (USB not supported with Windows NT 4.0)
Microsoft Mac Office 98 or later (does not support Small Business Tools application)
Macintosh OS 8.6 or later (excluding OS X or later)
15 MB of hard disk space
The Microsoft Hardware Group employs innovative engineering, cutting-edge industrial design and extensive usability testing to create products of exceptional quality and durability that improve the software experience and strengthen the connection between users and their PCs.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq
) is the worldwide leader in software, services and Internet technologies for personal and business computing. The company offers a wide range of products and services designed to empower people through great software — any time, any place and on any device.
* Prices are estimated retail prices. Actual retail prices may vary.
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