updated 02:00 pm EDT, Tue September 9, 2008
MS Arc Mouse and LifeCams
Microsoft tonight planned to inject some style into its wireless mice with a genuine one-off notebook mouse design. The now official Arc Mouse is thought to have the best advantages of both desktop and notebook mice courtesy of a fold-out hand support: the fully extended mouse has the surface area of a desktop mouse but folds shut to take up as much space as notebook mice. Microsoft has also taken a cue from Logitech's Nano receivers and has a micro transceiver under 1cm (0.4in) that can safely be left in a notebook's USB port without snapping off or adding too much bulk.
The 2.4GHz RF-based mouse uses laser tracking and still finds room for two side buttons as well as the usual three-button top layout. Microsoft is readying black and red versions of the Arc for later this month at a $60 price.
Microsoft has also taken to a low-key release of the Wireless Mobile Mouse 3000, a successor to the Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse 3000; it comes in a new set of colors that include blue and purple and supplies a sharper optical sensor, a simple battery life indicator and the same USB mini receiver of the earlier device. It also arrives this month for $30.
Rounding out the releases are the two-megapixel LifeCam Show and 0.3-megapixel VX-5500; the two focus alternately on thinness and swappable color faceplates, and both have a new set of Apple Photo Booth-like live video effects for video chats as well as Video Messages that can provide the effect of a video chat without needing both participants online at the same time. Either has desktop and notebook attachments and can take still photos at an interpolated eight megapixels (Show) or 1.3 megapixels (VX-5500). These arrive in October and sell for $100 and $60 respectively.