Logitech took the covers off its MX Air Mouse this morning. We've seen this thing twice now during preview visits, and we've been impressed both times. If you're familiar with the Nintendo Wii controller or Gyration's mice, you'll get the idea behind the new Logitech mouse, although the underlying technology isn't quite the same. With the Gyration mouse, you need to point the device directly at your computer. Logitech's MX Air Mouse simply interprets how you move the mouse, regardless of where you point it. You can aim it at the ground and the cursor will move properly on your screen, which means you can be a little more casual when you use your home theater PC. It also works as a standard table-top wireless mouse.
In addition to letting your arm be lazier, Logitech has incorporated a few gesture controls. Flick it from side to side and you'll bring the volume up and down, for example. It also replaced the scroll wheel with a touch-sensitive strip between the two buttons. The strip felt normal enough when we got to play with an early version of it, and it worked much better than the touch-sensitive cursor pad and volume control on Logitech's diNovo Edge keyboard. There's also a few media control buttons on the new mouse, although we have a feeling they'll take some getting used to before they feel as natural as they might on a standard remote control.
The $150 cost of entry for the MX Air Mouse puts this device firmly in luxury territory, so we expect that those boutique home theater PC vendors who love pricey add-ons will scoop this up right away. It hits retail shelves in August, although we don't expect that this will be the last of this kind of product. The technology behind this motion-sensing capability, called MEMS (micro-electro-mechanical-systems), is the same underlying tech that keeps the Segway properly balanced. We expect to see more devices that use MEMS, as the price has finally become affordable to the mass market.