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Microsoft intros Wedge Mobile Keyboard, whose case doubles as a stand

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As we've seen, there will be no shortage of tablet / laptop hybrids on offer when Windows 8 starts shipping this fall. But since those keyboard docks will typically be sold separately, that means you're also about to see loads of third-party alternatives. Not to be left out, Microsoft just announced a Bluetooth mobile keyboard, along with its smallest-ever mouse -- both of which can be used with any Windows tablet.

Starting with that Wedge Mobile Keyboard, it resembles Zaggmate's iPad case from 2010, in that it has a hard case to make it more travel-resilient. Here, though, the casing is made of flexible rubber, allowing it to double as a tablet stand. Putting it over the keys also turns the keyboard off, allowing you to conserve battery life. On board, you'll also find hotkeys specific to certain Windows 8 features, such as the Charms Bar. And, as the name suggests, the keyboard rises a bit in the back, thanks to the battery door on the other side (this takes two AAA cells, by the way.) One caveat: though you can use it with Windows 7, 8 and RT, and even Mac OS X, it's not compatible with Vista. Sorry, folks.

In a similar vein, the tiny Wedge Touch Mouse has a matching soft-touch surface and is also Bluetooth-enabled. Like other mice in Microsoft's lineup, it has BlueTrack technology, allowing it to be used on a wide variety of surfaces. The mouse, which runs on a single AA battery, also shuts down whenever you power down whatever device it's paired with. These products will ship "soon," according to Microsoft, with the keyboard retailing for $79.95 and the mouse going for $69.95. For now, we've got a bunch of photos below for your viewing pleasure.

Gallery: Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard and Wedge Touch Mouse | 26 Photos

Gallery: Microsoft Wedge Mobile Keyboard and Touch Mouse (hands-on) | 16 Photos

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