Biometric technology is all the rage at the moment, it is the iPod of the security world if you like. In recent months we've seen it in laptops and last week IBM chucked out a keyboard, so Microsoft would be a bit of a party pooper if it didn't upgrade its own product line.
Making the headlines this time is the Redmond giant’s first biometric keyboard combo with Bluetooth: the "Optical Desktop Elite with Fingerprint Reader for Bluetooth". A yuppie dream in its black and silver styling, the offering is a new flagship in its keyboard range.
The rather bland, if descriptive, branding gives away a lot about the product: namely that it features a Bluetooth finger print reader and enhanced Optical Desktop Elite keyboard (thanks Microsoft, I feel really stupid now!).
More importantly, the incorporation of biometric technology itself means users will be able to access all areas of their PCs with just a single swipe of the finger. This is because software that comes with the combo integrates with Windows to seamlessly replace your passwords. Once you register with the reader entry to everyone of your favourite websites and protected documents is automatic. Needless to say giving the reader another glimpse of your prints is all it takes to secure things as well. Just remember not to log on and walk away from your computer if you work in a busy office.
Speaking of which, data protection is probably the single greatest issue in IT at the moment. Microsoft iyself quotes a recent poll which suggests 77 per cent of us share our computer with at least one other person and naturally the proliferation of these devices is only going to gather further momentum. You can see where the problems occur...
Now, despite the obvious major selling point of the new ODE&FPRFB (sorry, I couldn’t resist) it is not caught short in other areas. The keyboard features all the expected bells and whistles: tilt wheel, cushioned palm rest, enhanced F Keys (reprogrammed with more useful commands such as cut, paste and undo), a “Favorites” button, Media Centre Controls (play, pause, stop, mute, etc) and hot keys (internet browser, mail, messaging client, calculator, My Documents and more).
The Bluetooth part of the package allows users to connect up to seven devices simulanteously such as phones and PDAs while the signal strength is designed to have a range of up to 30 feet.
If the Optical Desktop Elite with Fingerprint Reader For Bluetooth tickles your fancy it is turning up in stores this month with an RRP of £169 including VAT.