In a sea of Surface announcements, Microsoft has quietly released a brand new range of keyboards with some unexpected button options.
The new line of keyboards includes the Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard and the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard, and they feature dedicated Office and emoji keys.
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The emoji key is represented by a teeny tiny smiley face. Hitting this button will cause an emoji picker to pop up on your screen, though, according to The Verge, you won’t actually be able to assign your most-used emoji to the key or incorporate it into a shortcut. Sad face.
For the slightly more professional user, the Office key will replace the right Windows key and offer a quick route to launching the Office for Windows 10 app. From there, you can browse the productivity suite and choose which Office programme you want to open.
For power users (and those of us who don’t feel like following two steps to open PowerPoint) the Office key can also be used as a shortcut. Holding the Office key and W will open Microsoft Word, for example, while holding the Office key and X will open Excel.
The Ergonomic Keyboard is designed to reduce wrist fatigue or injury with a slim design, cushioned palm rest and split keyboard. The Bluetooth Keyboard provides a more traditional looking wireless option with Swift Pair-enabled Bluetooth and a battery life of up to two years.
This isn’t the first time an Office key has been spotted on a Microsoft keyboard – the company actually began testing the feature earlier this year. That being said, Microsoft has yet to provide a design licensing agreement for the Office key the way it has for the Windows key so it isn’t clear whether the new buttons will be a permanent fixture for Microsoft’s hardware at this moment.
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The Microsoft Ergonomic Keyboard and the Microsoft Bluetooth Keyboard will be available in stores from October 15. The Ergonomic Keyboard will set you back $59.99, while the slimmer Bluetooth Keyboard is a little bit cheaper at $49.99.
The accessories can also be pre-ordered right now from Microsoft.com, although it is still unclear whether the new emoji button will make its way to the UK, with no mention of the new line on Microsoft’s UK store.