Microsoft has officially unveiled its new Arc Touch Mouse today, with a suggested retail price of $69.95 and an availability timeframe of “early December in time for the U.S. holiday season.”
The wireless mouse folds flat down to a little over half an inch in size and comes with a USB nano receiver that attaches to the underside of the mouse magnetically for travel purposes. From the flattened position, the mouse is popped up into an arc shape when you’re ready to use it.
The left and right mouse buttons sit flush against the body, separated by a thin “touch scroll strip” that’s used for vertical scrolling, page up and page down functions, and can replicate the middle mouse button click found on conventional mice. These commands can be customized via software, too.
Microsoft sent me an Arc Touch Mouse yesterday, and while it’s a little small for everyday use (I have big hands, as well) I can envision using it with a notebook or netbook, which is how Microsoft is positioning the peripheral.
The touch scroll strip is pretty unique. As you slide your finger up and down to scroll, the mouse produces a flicking sound similar to a baseball card in a bike tire. The faster you scroll, the faster the sound becomes. There’s also a faint tactile rumble underneath the scroll strip, which increases in frequency along with the flicking sound. It’s a very cool addition and actually works really well on-screen when scrolling through long web pages. Give it a quick flick, and the paragraphs will start whizzing by. Another quick tap stops the scrolling in place, at which point you can scroll slower to go line by line.
The mouse’s laser uses Microsoft’s BlueTrack technology, which allows it to be used on just about any surface, and Microsoft claims that the two included AAA batteries will last at least six months before needing to be replaced.
All in all, it’s a solid effort from Microsoft that may catch on with those looking for a high-end travel mouse. The $70 suggested retail price seems a little on the high side, though the product will be sold through Amazon, Best Buy, and Buy.com, which ought to drive the price down somewhat.
Full press release after the jump.