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.
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.
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.
More on Techland: Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse Folds Flat, Features Touch Scroll