Get the Most Out of Your Microsoft Hardware on Windows 8

If you’ve been trying the recently released Windows 8 Release Preview (If not, check out my getting ready and installation guide), your Microsoft keyboard and mouse are just as ready as you are.

If you use an Explorer Touch Mouse or Touch Mouse on Windows 7, the mouse will work great with Windows 8 too. And to top that, you’ll get the choice of a whole new set of gestures optimized for Windows 8 navigation. Since Windows 8 utilizes vertical and horizontal scrolling, the four-way scrolling on the Touch Mouse will provide a smooth and effortlessly natural horizontal scrolling experience. The Explorer Touch Mouse gives you a smooth and fluid scrolling of the new Start Screen.

For the two mice, and all other mice and keyboards from Microsoft Hardware, Microsoft has made available a new beta application to make the most out of these devices. The Microsoft Device Center allows you to customize devices from an easy-to-learn Windows 8 interface and create new shortcuts for everyday tasks and tailor your mouse and keyboard to meet your needs and work style. Once installed, you can launch the Device Center from the Windows 8 Start screen. The application allows you to configure basic and application-specific settings for all connected devices in one place. You can also explore features and access the online support and healthy computing knowledge base.

The beta application is currently available only in English in both 32-bit as well as a 64-bit version.

LifeCam Director: Microsoft’s Yet-To-Be-Announced Webcam

I haven’t been getting a lot of time to go through Microsoft’s patent applications stash but I am keeping tabs on their trademark filings. My latest finding is Microsoft’s upcoming webcam in their LifeCam range. The new cam is going to be named LifeCam Director and going by the name I believe it has something to do with movie directors. Maybe Microsoft is targeting this webcam for self-published videomakers.

Armed with a webcam and YouTube account, there are several independent “stars”. As part of their recent Skype acquisition, Microsoft Hardware announced a Skype-certified range of LifeCam models. While I could be completely off-base regarding the new camera’s market, I expect it to be a 1080p camera. Microsoft’s current range has just one 1080p camera—LifeCam Studio ($99). The third camera in this movie-making theme is LifeCam Cinema for $79—and that’s 720p.

Here are Microsoft’s current 8 LifeCam models:

The LifeCam Director Trademark

Microsoft Announce New Lineup Of Artist Edition Mice

On Tuesday, Microsoft announced that it will be introducing five new designs into its “Artist Edition” lineup of mice, produced by a diverse array of artists from around the world, including Kenzo Minami, Stina Persson, Oh Joy!, Tchmo, and Sally Zou.

The patterns produced by these artists will make their way onto the surface of the Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500 and Arc Touch Mouse. On top of this, Microsoft also lifted the curtain on new special edition colors for the Microsoft Explorer Touch and Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500. The former is available in Dahlia Pink and White, and the latter will be available in Aqua Blue, Citron Green, Cobalt Blue, Dahlia Pink, Flame Red, White and Black.

No specific date was given for when these mice are set to hit the shelves, but Microsoft did note that they’re “coming soon”.