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Microsoft Announces New Line of Keyboards

New Keyboards Offer Consumers More Choices, Internet Controls, USB Ports

REDMOND, Wash. - June 22, 1999 - Responding to growing consumer demand for more choice and functionality, today at PC Expo Microsoft Corp. unveiled three new feature-filled keyboards, including one split-key (commonly described as "ergonomic") keyboard and two traditional straight models. The new keyboards offer features such as Internet and multimedia hot keys and built-in USB ports. They join the Natural Keyboard Elite, currently the top-selling ergonomic keyboard at retail, and mark Microsoft's first offering of the traditional straight keyboard design.

The Natural Keyboard Pro, Internet Keyboard Pro and Internet Keyboard offer new levels of control and flexibility to PC users in addition to giving them a choice between an ergonomic keyboard or a traditional straight keyboard. The new blue hot keys give users easy, one-touch access to their Internet browser, e-mail or favorite application. In addition, the Natural Keyboard Pro and Internet Keyboard Pro offer the convenience of two USB ports placed directly on the keyboards for immediate plug-and-play capability.

"Our goal is to make it easier for our customers to get full benefit from the software they use every day," said Scot Schulte, keyboard line product manager at Microsoft. "These hot keys make it incredibly easy to get you where you want to go, whether that's a Web site, an important document or your favorite game. Instant accessibility is also the reason we've incorporated USB ports on the keyboards. After all, who wants to climb under their desk to plug in a digital still camera or game device?"

A Wide Range of Options

The Internet Keyboard is Microsoft's best value in a high-quality keyboard, incorporating one-touch Internet browser navigation, easy e-mail access and a Sleep hot key into a traditional straight keyboard design. The keyboard also features two custom hot keys that can be programmed to link to a favorite document, application or Web site.

The ergonomic Natural Keyboard Pro and the traditional straight design Internet Keyboard Pro provide eight additional multimedia hot keys and a pair of USB ports. The multimedia hot keys give users the power to control music CDs and PC audio and video directly from the keyboard.

System Requirements

To use with IntelliType software and the hot keys, users need the following:

  • A 486 or Pentium computer
  • The Microsoft Windows 95 or Windows 98 operating system or later, or the
  • Windows NT Workstation or Server operating system 4.0 with Service Pack 3 or higher
  • 16 MB of RAM
  • 35 MB of available hard disk space
  • A CD-ROM drive

To use Natural Keyboard Pro and Internet Keyboard Pro, users need the following:

  • Either a USB or PS/2 connection to a PC. A PS/2 to AT (five-pin DIN) adapter is available as a fulfillment item through Microsoft.

To use Internet Keyboard, users need the following:

  • A PS/2 connection to a PC

To use the Internet hot keys, users need the following:

  • Microsoft Internet Explorer 3.x, 4.x or 5.x (Internet Explorer software is included and requires 45 MB of available hard disk space), Netscape Navigator 3.x or 4.x, or America Online 4.0
  • Internet access

To use the multimedia hot keys on the Natural Keyboard Pro and Internet Keyboard Pro, users need one of the following:

  • A Creative PC-DVD Player
  • Creative CD
  • Creative Labs Soundo'Le
  • Microsoft CD Player
  • Microsoft Media Player
  • Microsoft Deluxe CD Player
  • Nullsoft Winamp
  • Real Networks RealPlayer version 4.0, 5.0 or G2
  • Toshiba DVD Video Player
  • Toshiba Audio CD Player
  • Voyetra AudioStation
  • Yamaha Ystation 32

To use the USB ports on the back of the Natural Keyboard Pro and Internet Keyboard Pro, the keyboard must be connected to a USB port on the PC, the PC must be running Windows 98 or later, and the USB devices must be rated at 100mA or below.

Sleep hot key functionality depends on the operating system and PC. With Windows 98 or later on a system with power management capability, the Sleep hot key provides suspend and resume functionality. With Windows 98 or later on a PC without power management capability, or with Windows 95 or Windows NT Workstation or Server 4.0 (Service Pack 3 or later) on any PC, the Sleep hot key provides screen saver, Windows log off and Windows shutdown functionality, but not suspend and resume functionality.

Pricing and Availability

The Internet Keyboard and the Natural Keyboard Pro are scheduled to be widely available in October 1999. The estimated retail price is $29.95 for the Internet Keyboard and $74.95 for the Natural Keyboard Pro. The Internet Keyboard Pro is scheduled to be available in early 2000 at the estimated retail price of $54.95.

 

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