Microsoft Says BlueTrack Mice Most Accurate

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Microsoft has unveiled a slew of new mouse, desktop, and Web cam products in preparation for the coming end-of-year holiday season when computer peripherals enjoy a surge of popularity—after all, what are you more like to buy the geek in your life, a new computer, or a new peripheral? Among Microsoft’s new offerings are two new BlueTrack mice, which use a new proprietary technology the company claims is the most accurate in the industry, and works on almost any surface.

“Research shows that people aren’t sitting at a desk all day, but they’ve gone mobile,” said Microsoft platform engineering manager (and BlueTrack co-inventor) Mark DePue, in a statement. “BlueTrack technology excels in areas where optical and laser technologies were falling short. Laser mice, for example, have a difficult time working on some common home surfaces, including granite and marble.”

The BlueTrack technology works using a blue beam and a specially-designed image sensor and proprietary pixel geometry to take a high-res image of the current mousing surface, enabling the mouse to be used almost anywhere. The blue beam from the bottom of the mice is over four times larger than the average laser used in laser-tracking mice.

Microsoft is rolling out the BlueTrack technology in two mice, the full-sized Explorer Mouse and a smaller Explorer Mini Mouse. Both are cordless with snap-in transceivers; the Mini uses two AA batteries while the larger Explorer features a rechargable battery. They should land at stores this November for $99.95 and $79.95, respectively.

Folks looking for something a little different might want to check out Microsoft’s new Arc Mouse that features a foldable, half-crescent design that reduces the mouse’s size by almost half when folded shut. Plus, it’s got a fashionable silhouette and will be available in black and red. The Arc Mouse uses 2.4 GHz wireless technology (with a snap-in transceiver) and features an LED battery indicator—expect to see it this month for a suggested price of $59.99.

Microsoft also rolled out two new Web cams, the slim LifeCam Show and more traditional LifeCam VX-5500. The LifeCam show features a magnetic laptop clip that lets users pop the camera right onto a notebook computer; there’s also an 11-inch tall desktop stand and two adhesive discs that let users connect the camera to their notebooks for easy portability. The LifeCam show offers a 2 megapixel resolution and can snap 8 megapixel still images, and offers a noise-canceling mic. The LifeCam VX-5500 ships with interchangeable red, white, and blue faceplates and offers a universal attachment clip that lets it be used with desktop or notebook computers. The VX-5500 shoots VGA video and takes 1.3 megapixel stills.

Expect to see the LifeCam Show and VX-5500 for sale in October for $99.95 and $59.95, respectively.


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