The model numbers for Microsoft's SideWinder range of gaming peripherals appear to be in a bit of a mess. The SideWinder X6 and the newly unveiled X4 are keyboards, whereas the SideWinder X3, X5 and X8 are mice. Then there's a SideWinder Mouse with no X-number at all. We've no idea what happened to the X1, X2, X7 and X9. Complicating things yet further, Microsoft also sells a Reclusa keyboard, which has no SideWinder branding.
This post, however, is most definitely about a keyboard. We think, anyway. The SideWinder X4 keyboard, to be precise. It's designed for gaming, and offers users the ability to press up to 26 keys at once. Normal keyboards won't let you do more than a few at once, which simplifies the keyboard's internals and allows it to be made more cheaply.
Microsoft's "Applied Sciences Group" built the anti-ghosting technology, which the company claims is the industry's most advanced. "We're always looking for new and novel ways to enhance people’s interactions with their PCs", said Steven Bathiche, of the Applied Sciences Group. "We know that ghosting can be a problem for gamers, so we wanted to develop a way to eliminate this issue and improve the overall gaming experience, and we've succeeded with the new anti-ghosting technology in the SideWinder X4 Keyboard".
It has a bunch of other features too - adjustable backlighting, macro keys, automatic macro repetition - the usual stuff you find on high-end gaming keyboards. The X4 will be available in March in the USA, and it'll cost $60. It's not yet clear when it'll show up in the UK, but as soon as we hear we'll let you know.
UPDATE: It'll be on sale in Britain on 17 March, and it'll cost £50.