We don't often see innovations in mouse design, but that's exactly what HP has announced this morning with its WiFi Mobile Mouse.
According to the press release (and accompanying promo video), the mouse is the first on the market to connect to your PC's wireless receiver rather than with a RF signal from a wireless USB dongle. HP says the battery in the WiFi Mobile Mouse will last twice as long as the charge from Bluetooth devices, running for up to 9 months before running dry. HP also claims the mouse will match Bluetooth's 30-foot receiving range.
Aside from its connection technology, the WiFi Mobile Mouse seems like a fairly straightforward input device, although HP has left out some specifics. The mouse has five configurable buttons and a four-way scroll wheel, but HP doesn't call out the optical sensor technology. It also doesn't outline operating system compatibility.
We'd guess HP would have mentioned a laser sensor if the mouse had one, so infrared seems more likely. And while it's tempting to believe the mouse would work on any Wi-Fi-capable device, the iPad, for example, doesn't support a Bluetooth mouse without jailbreaking.
As for who might use the WiFi Mobile Mouse, laptop owners seem like an obvious target. Bluetooth still isn't a universal laptop feature, and with an ever-growing number of external devices that need synching, travelers especially may appreciate a device that frees up a USB port.
We've requested more information from HP, as well as a review unit, so we hope we'll be able to fill in some of the blanks soon. Alternatively, for $49.99 you can find out for yourself when the mouse launches in June.
Update: HP informs us that the WiFi Mobile Mouse requires Windows 7.