19 September 2010

Microsoft's coolest mouse ever?

Microsoft seems to be getting better and better at making cool hardware -- even if it isn't very good at keeping secrets.

The company's "mystery" mouse, previously teased in tweets by Microsoft's hardware group, became even less of a mystery today when German site WinFuture spotted an online retail listing (since removed) for the forthcoming Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse. The interesting part, as noted by Engadget: The wireless mouse can be arched for use, and then flattened out for easier portability. How cool is that? Remind us again why Microsoft refuses to make its own PCs? Imagine what this team could do with something more significant than keyboards, mice and webcams. (OK, yeah, they've contributed to the Xbox, but you get the point.)

Of course, you can never know the quality of the implementation until you actually get a chance to use something, but the idea, at least, is interesting.

At any rate, the company still hasn't announced the new mouse publicly, so we don't know the price, but based on the listing on the German retail site, it's looking comparable to Apple's Magic Mouse, which costs $69 in the U.S.

However, based on another twitpic issued by the hardware group yesterday (pictured here, via SeattlePI.com) there's apparently another mystery product to be unveiled. The teaser on Twitter: "Like a wallet or a cell phone, you won’t want to leave home without it."

My wild guess: Some type of smart portable keyboard. At least this teaser is less obvious than the mouse was. Hopefully it will be just as cool as the mouse looks.

Update: Nick Eaton of SeattlePI.com points out that, contrary to the way it initially seemed yesterday, the latest Microsoft Hardware tweet may have been just another teaser about the mouse, not a separate product. Compare this profile shot of the mouse, as published by WinFuture, to the partial image above.

So no smart portable keyboard, apparently. Just a mouse. But still a pretty cool one. Hey Microsoft, would you please go ahead and just announce this thing already? Enough with the teasers, sheesh.

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