Microsoft's New Universal Mobile Keyboard Has Android and iOS in Mind

By Eric Limer on at

Microsoft's got a new mobile keyboard, but you won't find a Windows key anywhere on it. You will find a "Command" key though, and a little switch that toggles between Windows mode, Android mode, and iOS mode. It's a keyboard that aims to turn any tablet into a Surface.

The new Universal Mobile Keyboard isn't just a Bluetooth keyboard: it also has a detachable cover that doubles as a one-size-fits-all stand. You can throw any tablet in here to have it act as your single-angle screen while you bang out some emails.

Microsoft's New Universal Mobile Keyboard Has Android and iOS in Mind

I got to play with one of these for a few minutes and the keys felt nice and had a satisfying click to them, but the top row is diminished to half-size, which makes deleting a little rough if you're a typo-heavy typist like me. Nothing you couldn't get used to though.

Microsoft's New Universal Mobile Keyboard Has Android and iOS in Mind

The keyboard charges by micro USB, lasting for roughly six months in one go according to Microsoft. And thanks to the toggle switch up top, you'll be able to pair it to three devices (one Android, one iOS, and one Windows, unless you throw OS-caution to the wind in which case a few of your command buttons might not do with you expect), and considering it comes at a cost of $80 (raround £50 – exact UK pricing TBC) starting in October, it better be serving more than one device.

That price tag makes it a little bit of a tough sell over cheaper though non-universal options like an Amazon Basics Bluetooth Keyboard, and since being universal really just means that the command keys will change their function based on what OS you're using, it's definitely a luxury. Still it's nice to see Microsoft embracing tablets beyond the Windows fare.