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In brief: After it started experimenting with the idea earlier this year, Microsoft has now included dedicated Office and Emoji keys on its latest keyboards.
Back in June, an internal Microsoft survey suggested the company would replace the second Windows key on the right side of its keyboards with a dedicated office key. Now, the firm's plans are coming to fruition through its new Ergonomic and slim Bluetooth Keyboards.
The key launches Microsoft’s Office for Windows 10 app, from where users can access the company’s suite of productivity software. It can also be used as a shortcut—hitting the Office key along with O, T, W, X, P, D, N, Y, and L will launch Outlook, Teams, Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc.
Another new dedicated key is for adding Emoji, which are becoming more accepted in office and business environments. While users can’t assign specific emoji or shortcuts to the key, it will open an emoji picker inside of Windows 10.
We still don’t know whether keyboards beyond Microsoft’s will start using dedicated Office/Emoji keys. As noted by The Verge, the company has a licensing agreement in place for the use of the Windows key to ensure product uniformity.
The keyboards will be available on October 15. The ergonomic version, which includes a fabric palm rest, is priced at $59.99, while the smaller Bluetooth keyboard (Bluetooth 5.0 support and up to 3 years battery life) is priced at $49.99.
All images courtesy of The Verge