Microsoft parades new mice and keyboards

Microsoft has refreshed its mice and keyboard line-up, introducing three mice with a tilting wheel for horizontal scrolling and in new styles and colors, including black leather. Two of the mice are wireless and feature new battery-saving technology.

Microsoft gave a sneak preview of its mouse Tilt Wheel Technology last month. The wheel allows users to scroll left and right in addition to up and down without having to use the on-screen navigation bars, handy when navigating a spreadsheet or an unwieldy Web site. Users can also toggle between open windows by pressing down on the wheel.

Microsoft may license the tilt technology to others, the company said.

However, rival, Logitech, has already said horizontal scrolling was not something its customers were asking for.

New optical technology delivers further improvements in Microsoft's new wireless mice.

Battery life for average use in a wireless mouse had been extended to more than six months from four to six weeks, Microsoft said. New smart receivers also reduced interference from other wireless devices, the company said.

All three of Microsoft's new mice come with the tilting wheel and the two wireless mice have the new optical technology. The new mice are: Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer, a $US54.95 five-button mouse; IntelliMouse Explorer, the $US44.95 wired version; and Wireless Optical Mouse, a US$44.95 three-button ambidextrous mouse.

The mice come in various finishes.

The high-end Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer would be available in metallic grey, metallic blue, platinum and for an extra $US10 would come dressed in black leather, Microsoft said.

The Wireless Optical Mouse came in three colors - metallic red, periwinkle and steel blue, the vendor said.

For those who want to reduce more cable clutter, Microsoft's Hardware Group also announced four new sets that consist of a wireless mouse and a wireless keyboard: Wireless Optical Desktop Elite and Wireless Optical Desktop Pro, both priced at $US104.95, and Wireless Optical Desktop for $US84.95 and Basic Wireless Optical Desktop for $US64.95. The two most expensive wireless desktop sets come with the Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer and are very stylish.

All products should be widely available in stores and online by the end of September, except for the IntelliMouse Explorer, which was due in February next year, Microsoft said.

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Joris Evers

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