Despite notable advancements in speech-recognition technology and voice input, and the popularity of tablets, the humble PC continues to be the workhorse device of choice for many workers around the world. And whether you're an office-bound professional slouched behind a desktop PC, or a globetrotting executives armed with the latest ultrabook, the "physical" hardware keyboard continues to play a crucial role in productivity. The last thing you want in the heat of the moment is to fumble around for a mouse or have to take multiple steps to complete a task that could be done with a quick keyboard shortcut. Of course, learning and remembering such shortcuts can be hard work, and you'll need to take some time to find the appropriate shortcuts for you. This list of valuable Windows keyboard shortcuts will help you work smarter and faster.
Google may be working on a software keyboard for the iPhone, with web search as a featured attraction. Unnamed sources told The Verge that Google has been developing the iOS keyboard for months, though it's unclear if or when the company might release it. Similar to Google's existing Android keyboard (pictured above), the iPhone version would reportedly allow for gesture typing, which predicts the intended word as users trace their fingers over each letter. The big difference, however, would be a built-in Google button that provides access to web search. The keyboard may also have GIF and image buttons, which could tie into Google Image search.
Razer's keyboards have been many things, but tough generally wasn't one of them -- knock your drink the wrong way and that elaborate input device was toast. That won't be as much of a problem in the future, as Razer has unveiled a new version of its signature BlackWidow Ultimate with IP54 water and dust resistance. While the rating doesn't mean you can dunk the keyboard in the pool (you'd want IP67 or better for that), it's good enough that your gaming session won't be ruined by a splash or two.
Acer was also on hand to show off its latest student-centric laptop offering, the TravelMate Spin B1. The B1 is a ruggedized convertible notebook designed for the rigors of school life. Its 11.6-inch HD touchscreen display is pressure resistant to avoid damage from overzealous stylus taps, the case is protected by shock-absorbent rubber bumpers and the chiclet keyboard can resistant up to 11 ounces of water. The keyboard even has a built-channel system to divert liquids away from internal components before they can short out the system's electronics. The B1 is also outfitted with a 360 degree hinge that allows the keyboard to lay flat against the back of the monitor and enables the computer to be used as a traditional laptop, a tablet, or stood on its horizontal and vertical edges in either Tent or Stand mode.
Whether you're working or gaming on your computer, efficiency and precision are key, and while your brain may be doing the heavy lifting, your hands play no small part. A new and improved keyboard could make a great gift for those hard-working hands of yours. Modern keyboards are ergonomic, so they ease tension and make typing a smoother and more satisfying experience. Such a small change in your setup could make a huge difference, especially if you're working at a computer eight or more hours a day. If you're a gamer, you know that the right keyboard can help you squash the competition, so up your game!