Sep 27, 2012

Where are all the new desktop keyboards for Windows 8?

With Windows 8 being RTM’ed and a slew of new devices to be launched on October 26 (just a few weeks away) I can’t help but wonder where the new keyboards are.  Sure, Microsoft has announced some new keyboards and mice, but they’re not gesture enables and have no charm keys on them.  The keyboard is just a fairly standard keyboard with the new Windows logo on it.  Boring!

Windows 8 Bluetooth keyboards and mice announced

I was expecting something to be announced that supports the touch style gestures and the Windows 8 Charms. The Logitech K400 is has potential with it’s inbuilt touchpad but is still missing the key elements.

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So, what do I want on my keyboard?

Firstly, I want the charms on my keyboard, mirroring what’s on screen.  Sure, I can press Win+C just like everyone else, but I’d rather a single key press. I’m lazy.

I also want a mini-display on my keyboard that mirrors my current display so I can do swipes, pinch and zoom, and so on simply by using gestures on the in-keyboard display instead of reaching out across my desk to touch the screen and looking like a fool. Plus too much of that and I’d get a tired arm.

I want something a little like this and I’m willing to pay for it:
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Maybe something has already been announced, but if so I can’t find it.

UPDATE

I just came across the DeathStalker keyboard from Razer.  This looks really promising. Here’s the main thing that could make it work – the Switchblade UI.  I could definitely see the charm keys up along the top of the trackpad and the trackpad itself looks like it has the display and multitouch capabilities sorted already.  Looks like all we need is a Windows 8 app written for it.  Does anyone have some rock hard C++ skills? :-)

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27 comments:

  1. No numeric keypad, no direct access to the keys Home/end, insert/delete, PageUp/Down.

    These kind of keyboard are not made for working people.

    With this new keyboard, you need 3 hands :)

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  2. Looks pretty cool to me!

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  3. I think I'd prefer a slightly larger touchpad on your prototype. I'd also ditch the two buttons underneath as you can 'tap' the touchpad. That would also mean your charms bar wouldn't be required as I could now hit the corners with my fingers. Also, because the touchpad is now larger, I think I'd also ditch the regular keys on the left. A larger touchpad would then also mean a better resolution and I could see more. The actual keyboard could then be shrunk as it only housed the (larger) touchpad. Give it a bit of flash memory and that would be perfect for me.

    Oh, hang on... that's a "tablet".

    Yeah - get a tablet.

    !

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  4. Yes Flatliner - but can your tablet do anything other than play games? It will take time for businesses to move from the traditional screen/keyboard model and with the advent of Windows 8 - I think that Richards keyboard prototype has some real merit.

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  5. What about us left-handers?!

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  6. >>What about us left-handers?!

    You can type up-side-down ;-)

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  7. LOL. Thanks all for pointing out my rubbish image editing skills :-)

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  8. How about a separate tab which plugs into a modified keyboard which has usb input.
    You can have the keyboard layout of your choice that has hits input.
    And lay it where you want on your desk for lefties/righties/fronties/...

    How would any of these work with multi display setups (we all have at least two).
    Split screen?

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  9. I think it's about time we go for the Star Trek TNG keyboard. Just a big tablet that can be configured however you want. The "KeyTab" could even be the main system unit. Just have an accessory screen and mouse set up at work, home, etc.

    Even with that, there is one thing missing for typing. You can help some by making the KeyTab "click" when you push a "key". However, it would be best if you could get some tactile feedback. Perhaps a localized "buzz" under each key as it's pressed.

    I've seen too many flat keyboards, going back to the membrane keyboards of the early 80s. without the feedback, it's hard to type with any speed. They're okay for a quick note or tweet, but you can't get much done on them.

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  10. Actually I wouldn't mind seeing something more the lines of a full size keyboard but with the design elements of a laptop with a trackpad. However make that track pad a touchscreen pad, and place it above the letter keys at top. Think something like a G15 keyboard, but instead of the information lcd at the top replace it with a touchscreen. Then the keys on the left can be your short cut keys, and i would just about still fit form factor for keyboards, would be left hand friendly, with the screen at the top could even provide option to have it angled / raised, and touching it just streching your fingers to the top of the keyboard, akin to pressing the F keys. A bit of a work out to slide hand up just a tad but overall feels natrual, lets you return to home row quickly, and with some really awesome thought / apps, could do something similar to nintendo's wii U. Where the keyboard monitor actually acted as an additional information screen. Example would be main monitor has visual studio running and keyboard has realtime refreshing of the page view / preview.
    If Microsoft did it and provided a standard API for the keyboards they could really kick off a whole new generation of keyboards, that could help drive the sales of windows 8.

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  11. Written by: Anonymous
    > What about us left-handers?!

    Most of us are used to being treated with contempt by hardware designers.

    Maybe if we ask Razer really nice they'll make a lefty version of their keyboard for those of us who want one. They've done lefty mice with the expectation of losing money on them because their CEO is one of us.

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  12. I'm still looking for a pointer device I can run with my feet. That way your fingers don't have to leave the keys. The pointer movement would be easy, but I'm not sure how to do the click. If it worked people could really "surf" the net.

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  13. What about Section 508 or WCAG 2.0 compliant devices?

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  14. Us lefties are the only ones in our right minds!

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  15. A two button foot mouse is probably not that difficult conceptually; instead of left/right you'd have front/back buttons. Three might be doable too, heal, ball, big toe.

    For scrolling maybe a ball under your arch?? Not sure how well that'd work though since you'd need to lift the rest of your foot up to roll it instead of moving the mouse.

    Making a one size fits most design would probably be harder than with mice since there's more variation in foot size than hand size.

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  16. Two thoughts: The Switchblade UI is put out by Razer, and has a remarkable CnC suite which would allow you to not only control which macros the buttons trigger, but configure the images on the keys to be the Charms icons.

    It also (in response to Anon in the first comment) allows you to switch the entire touchpad/hotkey area over to 10-key mode, where it becomes... well, just that. It's still a touchscreen, so it's not quite as efficient as a full keyboard, but unless you're doing hardcore data entry (and you already know if you do) the 10-key is one of the least-used areas of a standard keyboard anyway. The impact on your workflow should be minimal.

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  17. Interesting article - but the reality is simple - If I wanted a MAC, I would have gone to the Apple Store and purchased one. I personally find the new "Metro" UI very disappointing - may be great for a tablet, but it looks and feels cheezy and even if it were a tablet, it's hard to use.

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  18. Ron = APPL Fanboi.
    What's the build of windows that you're using to back up your "opinion"?

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  19. http://www.artlebedev.com/everything/optimus/popularis/

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  20. I don't think a new keyboard will help the creator of this site, looks like it was assembled by... Windowz 8 touch!

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  21. What about easy access to the Home, End, Delete, Page up, and Page down keys? I also think the number pad is extremely useful and more than just the digit keys, I use it for simple mathematics so I like having +, -, *, and .

    And my biggest pet peeve of all where is the context menu key? I can only remember so many keyboard combinations. For obscure ones I quite often kick off the context menu via the key and navigate with arrows or letter keys depending on the situation.

    With all that said: given the current design of keyboards I don't think I fall into the norm of usage. My hope is that with tablets and touch screens those people who are currently in the norm of keyboard usage will stop using keyboards and software craftsmen (aka computer programmers) will bump up higher on the list :).

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  22. What WinKey+C is too much work for you? :p

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  23. @The Reverend Hehe. No, Win+C is not too much work, but I still prefer single keystroke instead of a key combo :-)

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  24. I saw a set of predictions recently that talked about the demise of the keyboard. The prognosticator did not say anything about how a programmer would write code, an author write a book or article or the many other tasks that only a keyboard could facilitate. I cannot conceive of doing those things poking with one finger at a virtual keyboard or with gestures.

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  25. The keyboard should be 100% LCARS

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  26. Touch boards, y'all. Ain't seen one consumer grade one.

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