Microsoft’s Touch Mouse An Idea Two Years Late

By  |  Wednesday, January 5, 2011 at 10:45 pm

Microsoft is certainly promoting its new gesture-enabled mouse with great fanfare, saying it’s the result of two years of research and prototyping. But I honestl can’t tell what separates it– or makes it better–than Apple’s Magic Mouse, released in 2009.

As Seattlepi.com reporter Nick Eaton said earlier today, it seems to be a common theme with Microsoft’s presence at CES this year: a lot of nothing new.

Redmond has apparently been working in its Research labs since 2008 on touch-enabled navigation devices, something Apple has offered to consumers for about as long. The mouse is the combination of work from two divisions within the company.

For whatever reason, the company attempted to do touch navigation differently from the way Apple had done it, but it has settled on the same method, called “capacitive-sensing.” It will support nine finger gestures, which apparently is more than the Magic Mouse’s six– but the Touch Mouse doesn’t appear to allow customization or addition of more through third-party addons.

Microsoft will begin selling the device in May 2011 for $79.95, but has begun to take pre-orders from its promotional website through Amazon.com.

While I’m not saying that Apple owns the market on touch navigation, Microsoft’s selling of this mouse is disingenuous. Nothing it is doing here is revolutionary.

(In the interest of completeness, I should note that Microsoft already has another touch-enabled mouse in its lineup, called the Arc Touch. However it is not multitouch, so gestures don’t work.)

 
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3 Comments For This Post

  1. Mike Cerm Says:

    Unlike the Magic Mouse, this mouse looks like less of an ergonomic disaster. Granted, I haven't used it yet, but the Magic Mouse is far too flat, and I personally can't stand it. It's a shame, because the gestures are pretty neat.

    I'm not sure where you got your facts from, because you don't cite any sources for this article, but if Apple doesn't allow custom mouse gestures, and you love them so much, why are you criticizing Microsoft for not allowing for custom gestures? Out of the box, the mouse has more gestures than Apple's, but they need to go EVEN FURTHER to meet your approval?

    Microsoft's IntelliPoint software, which is essentially the driver for all of the mice they sell, allows the remapping of all the buttons on all of their mice. So, almost certainly, any of these gestures will be able to be remapped to any function that you like, which is not something that can be said of the Magic Mouse. If, by some chance, Microsoft's software won't do this, you can bet that 3rd parties will enable it. Since all of the gestures are just simulating key-presses anyway, it's not even hard.

    So, somehow you've managed to take a Microsoft product which is, in all conceivable ways, superior to Apple's product, and paint it as unimaginative. Great job. For the 90% of people who don't own Macs, I'd say it's a decent technological step forward. And a few weeks after it launches, it will have sold more units than Apple's Magic Mouse has in the last year and half. I wouldn't call it revolutionary… then again, I also wouldn't call a big iPod Touch revolutionary, either.

  2. Adam Tablet News Says:

    definitely looks more comfortable than the magic mouse. but i'm not sure if this will actually take off..

  3. Anees Says:

    The Reviews are in … http://t.co/03xciT6