Microsoft Announce Universal Foldable Keyboard

For some, the tablet has become their go-to device. Larger than a smartphone, meaning that the device is easier to use for many tasks, but smaller and far more portable than a Chromebook, Apple or Windows laptop. Android tablets typically offer the full Google Play Store worth of applications that can be downloaded and installed on the device so as to enhance functionality plus can have the interface customized and adjusted to better suit how the device is being used. There are also a number of accessories that can really enhance a tablet, such as a good quality case complete with a built-in stand and of course a keyboard, which is almost a requirement if the user is to be doing any amount of typing on the device. And it turns out that not all keyboards are the same - many travel Bluetooth wireless keyboards have a poor mechanical feeling, which ruins the typing experience. Also, the smaller keyboards often have a compromise when it comes to the layout and size of the keys too; selecting the right keyboard is critical to a comfortable and productive typing experience.

Microsoft have just released their Universal Foldable Keyboard, which by their words is the perfect travel companion being ultra-thin, lightweight and compact, but has a good quality typing mechanism, which Microsoft describe as full sized, plus solid (and rechargeable) battery life and some features designed to make life easier with the keyboard. The keyboard is designed with users having two devices in mind; there's a software button to allow you to switch from device to device so for customers with two tablets, or a smartphone and a tablet, can easily live with the device without needing to disable Bluetooth on a device. The Universal Foldable Keyboard is activated when it is opened and is deactivated when it's closed, so it's easy to connect up to your chosen smartphone or tablet. The keyboard is just 5mm thick and contains a rechargeable battery with up to three month charge, meaning that you shouldn't have to stop often to top up the battery. It requires Bluetooth 4 on the host machine and is compatible with Windows Phone, Apple iOS and Android from version 4.3 Jelly Bean and later.

Microsoft have build the Universal Foldable Keyboard to be somewhat life-proof with a spill-resistant design that consist of a water repellent keyset and fabric; this should help the keyboard weather those accidental spills that can destroy lesser keyboards. The keyboard is, however, $100 so it's something of an investment compared with many similar and cheaper keyboard designs available, although Microsoft keyboards have in the past been a comfortable and reliable design. It should be available later this month from the usual selection of retailers.

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About the Author

David Steele

Senior Staff Writer
I grew up with 8-bit computers and moved into PDAs in my professional life, using a number of devices from early Windows CE clamshells and later. Today, my main devices are a Nexus 5X, a Sony Xperia Z Tablet and a coffee cup.