Computing, communication and entertainment device manufacturer Logitech announced the Harmony Smart Keyboard, a keyboard and touch pad combination designed for controlling streaming media in a user’s home.
The keyboard is designed to simplify text entry, so users can search for shows, navigate menus and browse the Web on a PC or Mac connected to the TV or Internet-connected media devices, such as Apple TV, Roku or Xbox One gaming console.
The Harmony Smart Keyboard is expected to be available in the United States and Germany beginning in March for a suggested retail price of $149.99.
As with other Harmony remotes, one touch of an Activity button–such as "Watch a Movie"–turns on the correct entertainment devices and automatically switches each one to the right settings and inputs.
In addition, the keyboard features a user-friendly, Internet-based setup, an integrated digital video recorder (DVR) and set-top box controls, and playback and volume buttons.
"Internet-connected and streaming-media devices seem to deliver limitless entertainment options, however, their accompanying remotes struggle to keep up with the text entry needed to search for selections," Chad Thompson, senior director of worldwide marketing and product management for Logitech’s digital home business group, said in a statement. "Our goal with the Logitech Harmony Smart Keyboard is to unite Logitech’s expertise in both universal remotes and keyboards to provide a fast and simple way to search for and navigate through the vast content options available through the living room’s entertainment devices."
The Harmony Smart Keyboard can work with up to eight devices from a library of more than 225,000 home-entertainment devices and more than 5,000 brands through the setup assistant.
The package also includes the Harmony Hub, which turns signals from the keyboard or a smartphone–through the Harmony App–into commands the user’s entertainment devices understand. Both the keyboard and the Harmony App work without pointing, so users don’t have to worry about closed cabinets getting in the way of the signal, the company said.
"More and more people are streaming content in the living room, whether from their computer, streaming-media device, such as Apple TV or Roku or game console, such as Xbox One and Sony PS3," a company blog post explained. "These devices seem to deliver limitless entertainment options, however, their accompanying remotes struggle to keep up with the text entry needed to search for selections."
In January, the company announced that seven of its products had won the 2014 iF product design award for excellence in the computer and audio/video categories, marking the company’s fourth consecutive year of recognition, and the first time Logitech had seven winning products in one year.
Among the winners was Logitech’s Bluetooth Illuminated Keyboard K810, which makes multi-tasking easier thanks to one-touch switching capability among multiple devices such as a PC, Ultrabook, tablet or smartphone, regardless of the platform.