Logitech goes optical with new mouses

Judging from Logitech Inc.'s new product announcements at Cebit in Hanover, Germany, it may be time to say good-bye to the mouse ball.

The company's new mouses feature optical technology, in which mouse movements are tracked optically, eliminating the mouse ball. The company claims this method increases pointing accuracy.

The company also introduced wireless keyboards and refreshed its line of wired mouses.

The US$49.95 Cordless Desktop Express is a wireless keyboard and wireless mouse combination. Both devices, available in one package, communicate with a computer using a radio frequency (RF) receiver plugged into a computer's PS/2 port, the company said. The keyboard and mouse can operate up to six feet away from the receiver, said Nathan Papadopulos, a Logitech spokesman. The keyboard uses two AA batteries that last one year based on a 40-hour work week, he said. The mouse uses two AAA batteries that lasts three months.

The Logitech Cordless Optical mouse, which is part of the Cordless Desktop Express, will also sell separately for US$29.95. Both products work on Mac and Windows systems, and will become available in U.S. and Europe next month, and later this year in Asia.

The new MX510 Performance Optical mouse is Logitech's fastest, most accurate and responsive optical mouse till date, said Papadopulos. Its specifications will attract gamers and power users, he said. "For quick shooter games and graphic design, this mouse's cursor will move smoothly across the screen," he said, adding that gamers avoided optical mouses because the cursors never moved smoothly.

The MX510 bundles eight reprogrammable buttons, that gamers can assign keystrokes or weapons to, he said. "We had a request from gamers to assign keystrokes to the mouse (buttons), so (they) don't have to switch between peripherals."

The mouse also comes with Logitech's proprietary scrolling system and MouseWare software to control performance of the mouse on PCs. The MX510 is compatible with both Windows and Mac systems. The US$49.95 mouse is already available in the U.S. and Europe and reaches Asia in April.

Logitech's new portable Notebook Optical Mouse Plus has a built-in cable that can be pulled out and connected to a USB (Universal Serial Bus) port. That makes the mouse easy to carry and is good for travelers because it eliminates the jumble of wires, said Papadopulos. Once the mouse is unplugged, the cord winds itself and snaps back into the base of the mouse, where it is positioned to protect the optical sensor. The US$29.95 mouse enters U.S. and European markets in April and Asia later this year. It is both Windows and Mac compatible.

A mini-receiver will soon ship for the Cordless Click Plus Optical and Cordless Click Optical mouses, Logitech said. The mini-receiver, approximately the size of a car key, plugs into a USB port and works instantly after sensing the companion mouse, the company said. The device's installation is designed to eliminate complications usually involved in installing wireless devices, said Papadopulos. The receiver uses RF technology and will work with mouses up to six feet away, he said.

The US$49.95 Cordless Click Plus Optical is meant for right-handed users, and the US$39.95 Cordless Click Optical is meant for ambidextrous users. European vendors receive both devices in May, and the products reach the U.S. and Asia in July. An optional receiver extension will be included in the package for difficult-to-reach USB and PS/2 ports.

The company launched its redesigned wired Optical Mouse for US$14.95, its cheapest price ever, said Papadopulos. It will be available in the U.S. and Europe in late-March and in Asia in April. The mouse comes with a scroll wheel and two buttons and works on USB or PS/2 ports.

"Technology is now more affordable for the regular user," he said.

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Agam Shah

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