In 2010 there was a lot of talk about Microsoft’s answer to Apple’s Magic Mouse. A Microsoft Research paper registered in March 2010 revealed that they had actually been working on something similar long before the Magic Mouse became available.
Late last year, Microsoft starting shipping a collapsible travel mouse called the Arc Touch mouse. Though it was a touch mouse, it didn’t have multitouch. Still, because it was very similar to one of the concepts Microsoft Research detailed in its paper, most people assumed this was Microsoft’s touch mouse.
This week at CES Microsoft surprised us by announcing a new touch mouse, and this time, they’re giving us seven finger multitouch action. The company said two years of R&D went into making this mouse a reality and that they went through hundreds of prototypes. The final version features BlueTrack technology, which means you can track on most any surface. It’s got lots of little capacitive touch-sensing dots where you’d find the buttons on any other mouse along with a scrolling line down the center. It’s got inertial scrolling and, though there’s no horizontal scroll strip, it also supports sideways scrolling.
We stopped by the Microsoft booth to check it out and found that we actually liked it more than the Arc Touch Mouse. While we do love the fact that the Arc Touch Mouse flattens out and pops back up into its curved position like a slap bracelet, we liked the the Microsoft Touch Mouse more. It was comfortable and all of the gestures felt pretty intuitive; we especially liked what we’ve nicknamed the ‘exploring’ feature that lets you scroll around on a web page or document in all directions, similar to what touch screen smartphone users are used to doing when web-browsing on their phones.
We were told the Touch Mouse would be going on sale in June or July but the Microsoft Website says May 11, so let’s hope the latter is the case. It will retail for $79.99, which is about $10 more than the Arc Touch Mouse.
Check out the video demo below!