As expected, Microsoft introduced new mice and keyboards yesterday, beginning its UK roll-out of the products this morning.
The new products are the: Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer (£59.99); IntelliMouse Explorer (£54.99); Wireless Optical Mouse (£39.99); Wireless Optical Desktop Elite (£99.99); Wireless Optical Desktop Pro (£99.99); Wireless Optical Desktop (£79.99) and Basic Wireless Optical Desktop (£59.99).
The company has introduced three new mice that are equipped with a tilting wheel for both horizontal and vertical scrolling. Two of the mice are wireless and are equipped with battery-saving technology that extends the time between charges to over six months from four to six weeks.
The mice are capable of scrolling faster than Microsoft's previous generations of mice, with the ability to toggle between open windows by depressing the wheel button. New smart receivers reduce interference from other wireless devices, the company said.
Microsoft may license the tilt technology to others, the company said. Rival peripherals vendor Logitech has already said that horizontal scrolling is not something its customers are asking for. The mice are available in metallic lilac-blue, metallic red, and a selection of textured and decorated designs, including a leather-effect mouse.
Microsoft's UK hardware product manager Stephanie Kinkade pushed the new products: "The mouse and keyboard have evolved to become essential devices used every day. It is our goal to improve these products with innovations that are intelligent, intuitive and exciting.
"We're revolutionizing the way consumers access the power of the computer," she claimed.
Microsoft's Hardware Group also announced four new sets consisting of a wireless mouse and a wireless keyboard: Wireless Optical Desktop Elite, Wireless Optical Desktop Pro and Wireless Optical Desktop for £79.99, and the Basic Wireless Optical Desktop for £59.99. The two most expensive wireless desktop sets come with the Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer.
Wireless Optical Desktop Elite includes a straight keyboard design and the Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer. Both products have a sleek titanium and metallic grey finish, a cushioned palm rest with a leather feel, and a left-side scroll wheel on the keyboard.
The Wireless Optical Desktop Pro also ships with the wireless IntelliMouse Explorer. The keyboard is available in a sleek black and titanium finish with translucent keys. It ships with the ambidextrous Wireless Optical Mouse. The basic Wireless Optical Desktop comes in white and grey and "delivers dependable performance," says the company.
All the products should reach retail by the end of October 2003. All prices include VAT.