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Keyboard X360 add-on revealed

The type you might use on a PC.

A Microsoft presentation about the Xbox 360 in Spain has revealed a new peripheral for the console - a miniature keyboard which fits onto the bottom of a standard joypad and allows the use of text messages and chat during play.

Although the company hasn't yet confirmed that the peripheral is genuine, the slide seems quite credible - being one of a lengthy set posted by Spanish website SecretGameZone from the "Campus Party" Xbox 360 event in Valencia.

The mini keyboard, which looks to be around the same size and form factor as the board found on devices such as the Blackberry mobile email terminal, fits in between the two "prongs" of the Xbox 360 joypad.

It will presumably be used to allow users to communicate using text chat over Xbox Live, which has until now been purely the realm of voice chat using the Xbox Live headset, and may also allow users to send text messages outside the Xbox Live system - to users on the MSN Messenger service, for example.

The decision marks a small U-turn for Microsoft; the company had previously declined to create a keyboard peripheral for the Xbox, in a move which was widely seen as an attempt to distance the console from its PC roots.

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