Digital Nerd

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Interview with Wendy Apperson, Product Manager: Microsoft Remote Keyboard for Windows XP Media Center Edition and Wireless Optical Desktop 5000

Via BinkNu: What would you say the overall goal is for the Microsoft Remote Keyboard for Windows XP Media Center Edition?

Apperson: I would say one of the main goals is to simplify and improve the user's overall media and entertainment experience as a whole in the living room. We entered the Media Center market last year with the Media Center remote which has been pretty sucessful, but now we are expanding in that market by building on where the remote has left off. We now understand better how people are using the remote and MCE in the living room and have a clearer picture of the general user scenario and what can be added or improved upon. We are finding entertainment is more of an interactive and community based activity with MCE then only using the Internet before. What is the Microsoft Remote Keyboard for Media Center Edition design based on?

Apperson: The keyboard is the first all-in-one, consumer-friendly solution designed exclusively for the living room. The keyboard is very thin and light, and with the rubber grips you could easily hold it on your lap and it is attractive so you wouldn't mind it on your coffee table. The keyboard is actually small enough to slip under your sofa if you did not want to keep it out. What is the main function of this new device? Can you tell us about some of the features?

Apperson: Microsoft Remote Keyboard for Windows XP Media Center Edition is actually a keyboard, mouse and remote all in one. The keyboard makes using search, IM and other MCE features much easier than using the remote. The backlit button, keylock, the Media Center Green Button, etc. are all integral features to the device. The back lighting is pretty cool. However, I really want to emphasize the form factor (the ID/physical design) of the product as one of the key aspects. What is the expected battery life? What are some power saving features?

Apperson: That's a really good question. We don't know how people are going to use this device at first, so we will not have an exact time until the product has been out on the marketplace. However, based on what research we do have, we are expecting a battery life of over three months. This device will not get as much activity as a normal computer keyboard, so we are expecting the battery life to be longer. One of the battery saving features is a keylock, acting also as an on/off switch, so the keyboard is not on all the time. Is this device compatible with the Xbox Media Extender?

Apperson: No, unfortunately it is not.

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