July 8, 2004 10:15 AM PDT

Microsoft dresses up mice

Microsoft swapped geek for glitz on Thursday, rolling out a new collection of designer mice.

The software company trotted out three mouse models--two wireless and one wired--with new features and such unusual colors as "cobalt basin," "crimson fire" and "mood ring." The wired model, in more modest blue and orange options, was created by famed industrial designer Philippe Starck.

?This is the first time we?ve teamed up with such an iconic designer to create a new product,? said Ken Fry, Microsoft hardware design group director, in a statement. "Philippe Starck is known throughout the world for his ability to bring extraordinary design to everyday items, from juicers to luggage, making him a perfect fit.?


Dressing up bland hardware is nothing new to the tech industry. Apple, a trendsetter in artful color and design, set the bar higher five years ago with its iMac computers, which came in translucent colors, from tangerine to lime.

Other hardware vendors quickly followed suit. Hewlett-Packard rolled out its Barbie printer, featuring the doll?s trademark pink and gray colors, and IBM unveiled a new lineup of colorful notebooks in that same year.

The Optical Mouse by Starck was designed with ergonomics in mind, as well--it is adaptable for right- or left-handed users.

?People are doing such amazing things with their computers. However, too often the importance of the link between man and machine is underestimated,? Starck said in a statement. ?The PC and what we use it for is an extension of us. It defines us just as much as the clothes we wear or the music we listen to. With this in mind, I set out to design an artistic bridge that would help people connected with the technology they use every day.?

Like the Starck mouse, the two wireless models feature a scroll wheel, allowing users to move through Web pages and documents without using the window's scroll bar. The wireless models promise an average of more than six months of battery life.

The Starck mouse carries a retail price of $34.95, while the optical wireless mouse will sell for $44.95. The wireless IntelliMouse will go for $54.95.

2 comments

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Typical
MS spends all that money on designing a mouse. First they
should spend more money on quality control for their software. I
don't think many people will be fooled by prety mice.

I agree that ergonomical mice are a must and it is nice to have a
pleasing look to go with my PC. But what good does it do me
when I am stressed out worrying if the next time I go online that
my PC will be infected or taken over by some script that installs
itself without my knowledge because sloppy programming.

I now am an advid user of Mozilla and basically stopped using IE
and now looking at alternative OSes to ween myself from mother
MS.

It is time to evolve to a better life with less stress.
Posted by wrwjpn (113 comments )
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your avg. computer user is stupid.
"I don't think many people will be fooled by prety mice."

I showed this article to 20 people in my office, all the women (8 of 20) wanted one because it was "nice", and about half of the guys wanted one because it looked "cool."

a lot of people I've met honestly believes AOL invented and owns the "interweb."
Posted by Not Bugged (195 comments )
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