Amidst all the noise surrounding the new Surface devices that Microsoft unveiled last week, the company apparently announced a pair of new keyboards that have two new keys: one for Microsoft Office and another for emoji.
The keyboards come in two form factors. One is a sleek, minimalist design with low-profile keys and connects wirelessly over Bluetooth, while the other model is a full size wired package with Microsoft’s ergonomic split layout for the keys and a fabric palm rest below. On both new keyboards, you’ll find new Office and emoji keys on the right side of the space bar.
The Office key is positioned where the right-handed Windows key used to be and it can be used for shortcuts that are specific to Microsoft Office, such as pressing the Office key + W to open Word or pressing Office key + X to open Excel. Directly beside the new Office shortcut is where you’ll find the new emoji key, which is can be used to open a menu of emojis available in Windows 10.
At first glance, it can be easy to dismiss emoji as an immature way to communicate, and yet some of them manage to express things that aren’t so easily said with words. Whatever your position is on the subject, Microsoft apparently added the key at the request of Windows users who were polled about the idea.
We don’t have the results from Microsoft’s survey to discuss. However, it’s interesting to note that 9to5Mac polled its readers about whether Apple should add an emoji key to Mac keyboards and 775 people responded as of writing: 38% of people said yes, 53.5% said no, 8.5% said unsure or other. The majority vote is still the answer that disapproves the most, “No, absolutely not,” but it’s easy to see from these results how Microsoft received positive feedback about the idea of adding an emoji key to its keyboards.
Further demonstrating interest in emoji-laced peripherals, this announcement also comes as Razer begins selling a new microphone that has a grid of LED lights for displaying custom emoji toward Internet stream watchers.
Both of Microsoft’s keyboards are currently available for pre-order and are expected to ship on October 15. The slimmer Bluetooth board is priced at $49.99, and the larger ergonomic board is going for $59.99.