Microsoft dresses up mice

They come in colors from cobalt to "mood ring," and one's by industrial designer Philippe Starck.

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.

 

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