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Microsoft expands mouse, Webcam families

Microsoft announces two new mice and a new Webcam.

Microsoft's hardware division made a few new announcements Tuesday morning, bringing to light a handful of new mice and a new Webcam all set to debut in June.

Microsoft's new Wireless Mouse 5000. Microsoft

The Microsoft Wireless Mouse 5000 is probably the most exciting product in the group. For $40, this ambidextrous, wireless mouse brings Microsoft's impressive BlueTrack sensor technology down to its most affordable price point. Unlike the Microsoft Explorer Mouse that debuted BlueTrack last year, the Wireless Mouse 5000 doesn't have rechargeable batteries, and its design looks a bit simpler, but the Explorer also costs about $70. We commend Microsoft for bringing its accurate, surface-flexible BlueTrack sensor to an affordable price so quickly. You'll also find the Wireless Mouse 5000 in a new $70 mouse-and-keyboard set, the Wireless Desktop 3000.

The new Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 6000. Microsoft

The $50 Wireless Mobile Mouse 6000, essentially the mobile version of the mouse above, is only $10 cheaper than Microsoft's mobile BlueTrack debut product, the Explorer Mini Mouse. Despite its lower price, the new model seems to be an improved version of its predecessor, thanks to an ambidextrous design and a smaller wireless USB receiver that snaps into the bottom of the unit.

The eminently affordable LifeCam VX-2000 Microsoft

Finally, the $30 LifeCam VX-2000 brings Microsoft's Webcam family to a newly affordable price. The VX-2000 has a rigid stand, so it lacks the flexibility of the $50 VX-5000. It also has only a standard microphone, unlike the noise-canceling version in the $60 VX-5500. The good news is that the VX-2000 purports to have the same VGA video quality and the same automatic light-level adjustment capabilities as the pricier models.