10:42 PM

Microsoft Unveils Arc Touch Mouse

The mouse can be flattened for easy transport and includes Microsoft's BlueTrack Technology that can track on most surfaces.

Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse
(click image for larger view)
Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse
Microsoft has introduced a computer mouse that that can be flattened for portability and pops up for use. The Arc Touch Mouse, unveiled Wednesday, also includes Microsoft's first touch scroll strip for easy navigation. Users can move a finger slowly along the strip for controlled scrolling or flick for hyper-fast scrolling. The strip also has three tap buttons for page up, page down and the middle click area. The buttons can be programmed for other functions.

In releasing its latest mouse, Microsoft is showing that there's still some innovation to be done on the technology that's been around for more than four decades. In enabling the user to flatten the mouse, Microsoft has made it easier to carry in a laptop bag. Despite the movement toward touch screens in the PC industry and the introduction of touch pads on laptops, the need for the mouse is still strong, according to Microsoft. A third of mobile PC buyers also purchase a mouse.

"The reasons people need external mice will not change: comfort and precision," Brett Ostrum, general manager for the Hardware Group at Microsoft, said in a statement.

Additional features include Microsoft's BlueTrack Technology that can track on most surfaces. The mouse can run for up to six months on two AAA batteries. The Arc Touch Mouse is available for pre-order through, and The mouse has an estimated retail price of $69.95 and is scheduled to ship from those select retailers in early December. The device will be generally available online and in stores in January.

The computer mouse was one of the early innovations of Xerox Corp.'s Palo Alto Research Center, which also developed with the Alto computer's bit-mapped WYSIWYG display.


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