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What To Know About Windows 8 Peripherals


What To Know About Windows 8 Peripherals

Image courtesy of Microsoft

As of this writing (November 2012) there were really only two players in the Windows 8 peripherals game: Logitech and Microsoft. Of course, that will change, and other companies will soon enough climb aboard the bandwagon. But what the devices from these two companies have shown is that there are already several major themes to Windows 8 peripherals.

1. Touch Strips and Touch Pads

Windows 8 is all about the touch screen (well, at least partially about the touch screen), and the new computer peripherals try to mimic that experience. Although the world loves its tablets, there is still a very vocal part of the audience who prefers to use keyboards and mice during many computing tasks. In keeping with the touch screen friendliness of Windows 8, both Microsoft and Logitech have featured touch areas on their devices -- small and large. The Microsoft Wedge Touch mouse and Logitech Touch T620 mouse both feature all-over touch surfaces, while the Microsoft Sculpt Touch and Logitech Zone Touch T400 swap out the scroll wheels for touch strips.

2. Horizontal Scrolling

Another hallmark feature of the Windows 8 OS is swiping horizontally to get from screen to screen. While horizontal scrolling was once a rarely found feature meant for spreadsheet users, you can expect to see it become a standard detail in Windows 8 peripherals going forward.

3. Charm Keys

The Charms in Windows 8 have taken the place of the traditional Start Menu, and many keyboards are adding dedicated Charm keys as a way to quickly access them. Those using tablets and touch screen PCs running Windows 8 can access the Charms by swiping the right side of the screen. To accommodate this, Logitech's T650 wireless touchpad lets you pull them up by swiping its right side.

4. Bluetooth

Although it's not an absolute that Windows 8 peripherals will connect via Bluetooth, it is featured in several of the newest devices. Logitech kept with its Unifying Technology for its new mice, but switched to Bluetooth connectivity for its Logitech Bluetooth Illuminated keyboard K810. Microsoft, on the other hand, uses Bluetooth for its Sculpt Touch mouse, Wedge Mobile keyboard and Sculpt Mobile keyboard, but switched to a nano receiver for its Sculpt Comfort keyboard.

Nearly all laptops and tablets going forward feature built-in Bluetooth, and pairing it is extraordinarily easy. If your device doesn't have built-in Bluetooth and you still want to use one of the new peripherals, there are ways around this.

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