HP and Microsoft team up on Natural Keyboard netbook line

hp_mini_note Typing comfortably has long been the bane of any netbook owner’s existence and, while building bigger netbooks with closer-to-full-size keyboards has been the trend as of late, Microsoft and HP have joined forces with the Mini 2140N series — the “N” denoting the use of Microsoft’s “Natural” ergonomic split-keyboard design.

The wavy design of the Natural series of keyboards seems to take up as much (or more) space than a standard netbook keyboard, but the split design could help make typing easier.

Microsoft has gotten rid of the quick launch media buttons that normally run along the top and bottom of the Natural line, although the middle zoom toggle has remained intact, which is actually a great idea as it’ll resize web pages quickly. The Natural Keyboard feature will be available as a free optional upgrade on all 2140 models starting sometime in the end of April.

Full press release:

Hewlett-Packard Licenses Microsoft’s Natural Keyboard Design for HP Mini 2140 Notebook PC Series

Split-key design brings advanced comfort and functionality from the #1 best selling line of ergonomic keyboards.

REDMOND, Wash. — April 1, 2009 — Microsoft Corp. has announced a partnership with HP to bring advanced ergonomics to the HP Mini 2140 series of business notebooks. The Microsoft® Natural® Ergonomic Keyboard series has become the #1 best selling line of ergonomic keyboards. The split design encourages a more natural hand, wrist, and forearm position and the curved key layout makes keys easier to reach.

The Zoom Slider lets you zoom in for close-ups of Web pages, images, and more — with just the touch of a finger. “It’s perfect for today’s low-resolution ‘netbook’ screens,” said Del Guillard, Microsoft’s Executive Vice President of Product Development, “With most ‘netbook’ screen resolutions at only 1024 pixels wide by 600 pixels high, the Zoom Slider is a great feature for quickly making entire web pages easier to read.”

The HP 2140 Notebook PC series, already known for its excellence in small- to medium-sized business environments, will undoubtedly benefit with the inclusion of Microsoft’s Natural Keyboard technology. Starting in late April, all custom-built HP 2140 Notebook PC machines will feature the Natural Keyboard option at no additional charge.

“In these tough economic times, few businesses are willing or able to pay more for ergonomic keyboards,” said Sam Sadeghi, HP’s Small Business Product Manager, “We’re offering the Natural Keyboard upgrade option at the same price as our standard keyboard because we believe that repetitive stress injury and carpal tunnel syndrome have no business in the workplace.”

The Microsoft Natural keyboard option will be available on all HP 2140 Notebook PC configurations at the end of April, 2009. The 2140 series starts at $449.00 – more information available at HP.com’s Products for Business website.

Link: HP Mini 2140 Notebook PC