Personal Tech: From Flying Mice To Bluetooth, Here's How To Cut The Cord - InformationWeek
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7/21/2006
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Personal Tech: From Flying Mice To Bluetooth, Here's How To Cut The Cord

As computers begin to move into the living room, consumers are paying more attention to wireless accessories for reasons of convenience and style.

Cutting the cords to a mouse and keyboard to create a wireless desktop may not be new, but cutting the cord so a mouse can fly certainly is.

Motion-sensing technology based on a tiny gyroscope inside the Gyration Go Air Mouse allows the device to be lifted off the desktop and operated in midair. Not only is the mouse wireless, but it can be controlled with the wave of a hand. An extravagant way to pick through a spreadsheet, perhaps, but not such a crazy idea when it comes to adjusting the volume of music playing on a PC across the room.

As computers begin to move into the living room, consumers are looking to wireless accessories for convenience and style. No one wants a messy tangle of wires in plain sight. And since computers increasingly are oriented toward digital media and entertainment, the old desktop is changing.

Go Air Mouse is one highflier

Go Air Mouse is one highflier
The $70 Go Air Mouse, which runs on the 2.4-GHz radio frequency, is one of the best examples. Three buttons on the mouse can be programmed with the GyroTools software to set up control profiles for different applications. A click and a flick of the wrist to the right could fast forward music, while raising a hand in the air could increase the volume.

"It's sort of like the Swiss Army knife of mice," says Bruce Padula, business manager for Gyration. "People don't actually believe that it's possible."

Media center PCs--those with Microsoft's Windows XP Media Center Edition 2005 operating system--account for nearly 60% of retail desktop PC sales in the United States, according to research firm Current Analysis. Sales took off a year ago when Microsoft and its partners chose to exclude a TV tuner from the requirements and prices dropped from more than $1,500 to an average of less than $700 last month.

Once consumers get these computers home, they don't like messing with a bunch of cords. "It's not really pleasant to be tethered and have to deal with the mass of wires that you have today," says Toni Duboise, senior analyst for desktops at Current Analysis.

Wireless accessories like keyboards and mice have come a long way since they first hit the market five or six years ago. "It was terrible at first," Duboise says. "Batteries died too fast, access points didn't work. Today, it works seamlessly."

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