After the overt teasing, leaking, and then more leaking, Microsoft's finally ready to spit out the details on its Arc Touch Mouse, which at the end of the day is really just... a mouse. As we've seen, the peripheral has an incredibly unique design -- the flat device arches its back to click into a mountain shape, which actually ends up powering the little rodent up. So, where does the whole "touch" factor come into play? Well, very similarly to the Mad Catz Eclipse mouse, the Arc Touch has a capacitive touch strip with sensor pads between the mouse buttons that can be used for scrolling and customizable shortcuts. We've got you covered with some hands-on impressions and video after the break, but that's about all you'll be getting for a while since the press release below says the $69.95 mouse won't hit the market until December. Yep, December! That's a bit odd to us, but they'll be taking pre-orders today so hit the break to finally see this thing push the cursor around.%Gallery-100833% %Gallery-100834%
On the box Microsoft only states Windows compatibility, but when we plugged the magnetic-nano USB dongle into our MacBook Pro we were up and running within seconds -- the scroll strip even worked quite well in Firefox and Chrome. Obviously, the mouse is much more customizable on a Windows PC, and we downloaded the new drivers to the Inspiron M101z to configure some shortcuts for the touchpad. The software allows for configuring different tap tricks -- for instance, we configured a double-tap on the strip to launch Windows Flip. While the shortcut is helpful, we mistakenly ended up tapping on the pad a few times when attempting to just scroll through the page. Speaking of scrolling, it's all rather fluid and when you drag a finger over the strip there's haptic feedback, which is supposedly intended to simulate the feeling of using a scroll wheel. It's a rather odd, yet cool feeling and we've just about gotten the hang of what short and longer finger strokes will do in terms of overall control. In terms of comfort, the soft rubber grip arc is mighty comfortable, though we've only been playing around with it for a few hours so we haven't really been able to give the ergonomics of it all a fair shake. On that note, enjoy the video below and stay tuned for our full review sometime soon.
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Think the Mouse Is Dead? Think Again With Microsoft's Arc Touch Mouse
Microsoft's newest mouse flattens to be the ultimate portable device.
REDMOND, Wash. Sept. 1, 2010 Some say the mouse's days are numbered, but today Microsoft Corp. proves the gadget is alive and well by unveiling the Arc Touch Mouse, the first mouse designed to flatten for portability and pop up for comfort. The new mouse features Microsoft's first touch scroll strip for easy navigation - just move a finger slowly for controlled scrolling or flick for hyperfast scrolling. Windows-based PC users will love packing up their laptop bags without the added bump of a mouse, as the Arc Touch Mouse flattens with just the touch of a finger.
As the computing landscape evolves to offer new ways of interacting, such as touch screens and touch pads, the mouse is also evolving but holds true to its core purpose: providing comfort and precision to users when navigating the PC.
"This is not the first time that the mouse has been threatened - look at 10 years ago when people started buying laptops that had integrated pointers and touch pads. Still, the mouse category continued to grow and grow," said Brett Ostrum, general manager for the Hardware Group at Microsoft. "The reasons people need external mice will not change: comfort and precision. The Arc Touch Mouse just demonstrates again how committed Microsoft is to continuing to bring great new mice to consumers."
Designed for the Mobile Lifestyle
People today are using mobile computers more than ever, and they still want comfort and control when using them. In fact, one-third of mobile PC buyers also purchase a mouse with their new notebooks or netbooks.1 And, at less than 15 millimeters thick at its widest point, the Arc Touch Mouse was designed to deliver ultimate portability to easily slip into a bag, purse or pocket. It also goes from curved to flat with one simple movement, so working on the go is easier than ever - just collapse the Arc Touch Mouse to turn it off, and pop it up to turn on. It's also extremely durable, tested to ensure years of performance.
Take Control With Touch Scrolling
With the Arc Touch Mouse's touch strip, consumers can take control of their scrolling with a flick of a finger. Using a capacitive sensing technique and sensor pads, the strip corresponds to each position and velocity change to give users accurate, controlled scrolling no matter how fast or slow the movement. Move a finger slowly on the strip for controlled scrolling, or flick a finger for hyperfast scrolling that can be stopped with just a simple tap. The strip also has three tap "buttons" for added functionality: page up, page down and the middle click area, which is reprogrammable for whatever mouse function the user needs most.2 Switching from a scroll wheel to a touch strip is made easier with haptics, a vibration technology that simulates the bumps users would feel while using a traditional scroll wheel.
The Arc Touch Mouse is equipped with BlueTrack Technology, letting consumers track on virtually any surface,3 and a tiny magnetic snap-in Nano transceiver stores conveniently on the bottom of the mouse. Two AAA batteries give the Arc Touch Mouse more than six months of battery life, and the two-color battery life indicators let people know when the power is running low.
Pricing and Availability
Arc Touch Mouse will be available for the estimated retail price of $69.95 (U.S.)2. It is available now for pre-sale on Amazon.com, BestBuy.com and Buy.com, and will ship in early December in time for the U.S. holiday season. It will be broadly available online and in stores in January 2011.
Microsoft backs this mouse with a worldwide three-year limited hardware warranty. More information about these and other Microsoft Hardware products can be found at http://www.microsoft.com/hardware.
About Microsoft Hardware
For more than 28 years, the Hardware Group has employed innovative engineering, cutting-edge industrial design and extensive usability testing to create products of exceptional quality and durability that enhance the software experience and strengthen the connection between consumers and their PC. Microsoft Hardware leads the industry in ergonomic engineering, industrial design and hardware/software compatibility, offering consumers an easier, more convenient and more enjoyable computing experience. More information about Microsoft Hardware is available at http://www.microsoft.com/hardware and http://www.microsofthardwareblog.com.
Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq "MSFT") is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.
1 Microsoft internal research, June 2010.
2 IntelliPoint software required. Available via free download at http://www.microsoft.com/hardware/downloads/default.mspx.
3 BlueTrack Technology does not work on clear glass or mirrored surfaces.
4 Estimated retail price. Actual retail prices may vary.
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