Microsoft has announced a wireless device that combines a remote control, keyboard and mouse pointer.
The Microsoft Remote Keyboard for Windows XP Media Center Edition will enable greater interaction with and control of PCs based on the Windows XP Media Center Edition operating system, according to the company.
The all-in-one keyboard allows users to send instant messages, watch movies, view images and control a TV, among other functions, from one device. "What remotes did for TVs, Microsoft's three-in-one control center does for MCE (Media Center Edition) PCs. With this device you can now get rid of all the other remotes, reducing living room clutter," said a Microsoft spokesperson.
The keyboard includes backlit keys designed to make it easier to use in the dark. It also has a security feature, the Key-Lock button, which locks means applications aren't triggered if a key is pressed by mistake. The Media Center Green Button lets a user start a Media Center PC and brings up the main menu by pressing the button once. There is also a knob for turning on the TV.
Keyboard buttons dominate the middle portion of the device, while mouse functions are located on raised panels on the left and righthand sides. The remote control buttons, also on the raised panels, can be used to change channels, raise or lower the volume or control a DVD movie, among other functions.
The keyboard uses an infrared wireless link to the PC and can operate up to 30ft away from the system, according to the company. It uses four AA batteries.
Microsoft also announced the Wireless Optical Desktop 5000, a keyboard and mouse combination designed to make it easier to access, edit and share digital photos on a PC.
The keyboard allows users to access commonly used photo-editing functions via dedicated function keys. The wireless optical mouse has a proprietary tool called Magnifier that makes photos easier to edit and view.
"With the Magnifier you can easily magnify, correct red eye, remove blemishes, and more," the spokesperson said.
It will ship with Digital Image Standard 2006 software, imaging software that will complement the digital imaging functions provided by the Wireless Optical Desktop 5000 hardware.
Both products are priced at $105 inc VAT (£59) and will become available worldwide in September.