Through good times and bad, the Microsoft Hardware division has fared well, delivering consistent performance. The group simply puts out decent products. No, Microsoft doesn’t produce gaming-level gear, but for the average user what the group hocks is decidedly sufficient.

The company released a new keyboard today, a bluetooth bit of plastic that works with Android tabets, Windows tablets, and both iterations of the iPad. It does not work with the Kindle Fire, as that unit lacks Bluetooth support. Now, since no one owns a Windows tablet, and few (in comparison) own an Android tablet, this keyboard is essentially designed for use with the iPad.

Perhaps it will see use with Windows 8, once it and its hardware make it market, but for now the Microsoft Bluetooth Mobile Keyboard 5000 is more or less and iPad-specific play. Here’s an official shot:

2011 12 15 1313 520x233 Microsofts new iPad keyboard will set you back $50

Of course, having a Windows key on the keyboard that you use with your iPad might smack some as sacrilegious, but that’s a personal issue. Microsoft, in its official language touts how the unit is shaped for comfort. You can only get one of these if you are in the States, however.

What we have here is more evidence that Microsoft is willing to play ball with iOS devices, in terms of both software and hardware, bowing to the reality that for the now the iPad and iPhone remain ascendant. Even Microsoft has to admit that at the end of the day, you have to make that paper.