If Microsoft hadn't issued a press release on this new keyboard, we honestly would never have been able to pick it out of its growing crowd. Even then, the company's product nomenclature doesn't make it easy to distinguish one item from the next: The product in question is the "Wireless Laser Desktop 4000," for example, not to be confused with the "Wireless Optical Desktop 4000" or the "Wireless Laser Desktop 6000."
Whatever it's called, the new keyboard-mouse package is part of the wave of Vista hardware continuing to reach the market now that the long-delayed operating system is finally here. Among its features are a "Windows Start Button" designed for fast document or Web search, a "Windows Live Call Button" for instant messaging or video calls and a "Windows Gadget Button" for news, weather, stock quotes and other information. (Did we mention Windows?)
The $80 price seems fairly reasonable if you've installed Vista and really like punching buttons. But we're still trying to figure out how to use the baffling functions of Microsoft Word, so the last thing we want to do is learn a bunch of new hardware commands.