Microsoft has been making a heavy push into cross-platform apps with the acquisitions of Wunderlist, Acompli and Sunrise, but it’s also moving into cross-platform hardware with a new universal foldable keyboard available today.
The spill-resistant, 5mm thick keyboard was first announced in March. It connects to iPad, iPhone, Android, Windows tablets, and Windows Phone, with thin keys that will feel familiar to users of Microsoft’s Surface keyboards. The foot-wide Universal Foldable Keyboard costs $99.95 from Microsoft.
Designed to add as little hassle as possible to carrying a keyboard, the Universal Foldable Keyboard automatically connects to devices when unfolded and powers down when snapped shut, with embedded magnets to keep it closed.
The built-in battery lasts up to three months, connecting over Bluetooth 4.0 when available. You can switch between two previously paired devices with dedicated keys, so you can type out a message on your phone then switch back to your tablet to continue working.
The layout is a little wonky. Some of the middlemost keys are wider than normal, and the foldable middle section does mean your hands are more spread out than on a standard keyboard. But if you’re trying to get real work done on a tablet, the physical keys will likely be a welcome improvement over digital ones.