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Microsoft releases new breeds of mice

An upgraded version of its best-selling wireless optical mouse is out, and two new desktop mice will debut soon. Photos: New mice from Redmond

Microsoft released on Tuesday an upgraded version of a wireless optical mouse intended for laptop users and plans to introduce two new desktop mice--one laser and one optical--by this summer. mice

All of the new products rely on the company's High Definition technology, which is aimed at supplying improved mouse responsiveness, at least six months of battery life, and smoother tracking over uneven surfaces. According to a statement, Microsoft has sold more than 1 million products from the High Definition line since its debut in September.

The Wireless Optical Notebook Mouse 3000, which sells for $29, is billed as an upgrade to the company's best-selling Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse. Redmond described the device as a more portable, easier-to-stow option for laptop users and said its new design features improved mousing in cramped spaces such as airplanes or small cafe tables.

Set for release in late April for $49, the five-button, ambidextrous Wireless Laser Mouse 5000 is geared toward desktop users. That device will contain a Magnifier button, designed to allow for real-time enlargement and editing of any section of a user's screen. It will also bear Microsoft's familiar Tilt Wheel technology, which permits horizontal and vertical scrolling through pages.

In June, Microsoft plans to release the Wireless Optical Mouse 2000, another desktop-oriented gadget. At $29, the three-button, silver-accented device is being marketed as a more affordable alternative to the laser mouse.

The announcement of the new products comes less than a week after Microsoft said it would license three of its hardware technologies, including the Magnifier and Tilt Wheel tools, for the first time.