Microsoft Corp unveiled its Surface tablets on Monday in Los Angeles and it was the brightly hued keyboard that stole the show.
The Touch Cover features an ultrathin design of 3 millimeters, without mechanical keys. A second, called the Type Cover, is 2 millimeters thicker and includes mechanical keys.
Both operate using the same multi-touch digitizer, which Microsoft said is 10 times faster than any keyboard in use today. The Touch Cover uses pressure-sensitivity to detect when a user is trying to input keystrokes, as opposed to simply resting fingertips on the home row.
The keyboard clings magnetically to the Surface and can remain attached as a cover. It can be folded back while still connected, and its internal accelerometer turns it off while in the closed or folded-back position.
The “Touch Cover” – a protective cover-cum-keyboard – could be a key differentiator for Microsoft as it tries to dent Apple Inc’s iPad franchise, according to analysts.
The keyboard could be a critical feature for people who use the tablet not just for reading or viewing or browsing the Web, but for creating spreadsheets or documents or other types of written content.