Microsoft has announced a set of new peripherals for its upcoming tablet-friendly Windows 8 OS. The Wedge Mobile Keyboard features a minimalist design, slim form factor and full-sized keyset, while the Wedge Touch Mouse is the smallest and lightest pointer that the company has ever produced.

The new keyboard features a folding cover which not only protects the keyboard and turns it off when in place, but also doubles as a kickstand for any Windows tablet. The device is equipped with a full sized keyset, Windows 8-specific hot keys and connects via Bluetooth. The mouse exhibits a small, wedge-like form factor (hence the name) and is designed to recognize vertical and horizontal scrolling gestures. It also includes the company's BlueTrack laser technology which reportedly improves tracking across any surface.

The Wedge Touch Mouse has a touch panel on its slanted front face

Microsoft's in-house Surface tablets come equipped with the company's own Type Covers. Available in touch or physical key varieties, the covers provide laptop-like functionality to the devices.

The Wedge Mobile Keyboard and Wedge Touch Mouse provide tablets manufactured by Microsoft's numerous hardware partners with similar functionality to the Surface. When both peripherals are connected, a desktop PC-like form factor is achieved. This is likely to make other Windows tablets a more attractive prospect to consumers, while placating Microsoft's hardware partners who expressed a sense of alienation following the announcement of the Surface tablets.

Both devices will be available in “the coming weeks and months” with the Wedge Mobile Keyboard retailing at an estimated US$79.95 and the Wedge Touch Mouse coming in at $69.95.

Source: Microsoft