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New Microsoft mice arc, go blue

Microsoft announces new mice

Microsoft unveiled a veritable mischief of mice today for your laptop and desktop. One features a sharp new design, another showcases a new, proprietary sensor technology.

First on deck is the Arc Mouse. There's nothing too special here other than its curved, collapsible design. We honestly don't understand the appeal of so-called laptop mice, so that you can make the Arc Mouse more compact doesn't seem like much of a plus. Perhaps you disagree. We have a feeling design nerds will jump on this one, to replace those dated Phillipe Starck mice. Available in red and black, for $60 this month.

Microsoft's new, collapsible Arc Mouse. Microsoft

We find the Explorer Mouse ($100) and Explorer Mini Mouse ($80) more interesting. Each features Microsoft's own BlueTrack technology, a brand new sensor designed to work on more surfaces than typical optical or laser mice. We were able to play with the Explorer Mouse at a demo earlier this summer and indeed, the sample hardware was more accurate on the shiny test surfaces Microsoft provided. Assuming the for-sale products live up to the demo, we can see a real benefit for anyone who keeps a PC in the kitchen where reflective countertops might legitimately impede accuracy.

The Explorer Mini, with new BlueTrack sensor. Microsoft

What's also interesting about BlueTrack is that it's Microsoft-developed. Unlike the standard laser sensor, a product of Agilent Technologies and licensed out to every mouse vendor, BlueTrack may remain a Microsoft exclusive. Of course, those licensing fees probably look pretty tempting, too. The Explorer and Explorer Mini launch in November.