As Microsoft Corp gears to take on the leaders in the handheld devices market with the Oct 26 release of Surface, its tablet answer to competitor offerings, the software maker has strengthened its war chest with the launch of the wireless mice and keyboard.

Though Windows 8 carries the allure of being the first touch-based OS, the accompaniment of the mice and keyboard that connect to the system through Bluetooth make it an added attraction for the pros and novices who prefer gadgets.

Initial reports of the keyboard and mice appear positive. The wireless Wedge Mobile Keyboard costing $79.95 features a protective cover that doubles as a stand for a tablet, Microsoft said in a statement released Monday. Accompanying the mobile keyboard is the Microsoft Wedge Touch Mouse for $69.95 that will provide four-way touch scrolling and navigation. Both Wedge devices use Bluetooth to connect to a computer or tablet.

Though news of the peripherals had already been leaked online, Microsoft's official confirmation of the peripherals launch came Monday.

The Sculpt Touch Mouse model and Sculpt Mobile Keyboard for the Windows 8 OS are priced at $49.95 each. Both gadgets are Bluetooth-enabled.

The Microsoft Touch Mouse with a price tag of $79.95 is updated specifically for Windows 8 to incorporate finger swipes and movements that allow navigation, switching through apps and zooming in and out.

Despite the crowding of handhelds in the tablets market, Gartner Inc predicts that Apple will remain the leader till 2016. In a report published by Bloomberg, Gartner estimates iPad to account for 46 percent shipments in 2016, followed by tablets running Android software at 37 percent and tablets running Window 8 operating system at 12 percent.

The release of devices coinciding with the 30th anniversary of Microsoft Hardware assumes significance as the software giant treads hitherto unchartered territories with Surface launch. Further, it is claimed that the keyboards and mice specifically tuned for Windows 8 and designed for mobile computing is the largest collection of Bluetooth offerings the company has ever announced at one time.

A report published on The Verge has noted that Microsoft is hoping that the compact devices will appeal to people who need to work in small places.