Arc Touch Mouse Promotional Photo from Microsoft.com
Microsoft has made two new controllers — one for your computer, one for your XBox 360 — that can switch into different shapes depending on your needs or preferences. The well-leaked, much-anticipated Arc Touch Mouse is shipping now; the new wireless XBox Play and Charge kit will be out stateside in November.
Exactly a month ago, Microsoft Hardware teased their new mouse on Twitter with a partial image and a riddle/tagline: “Don’t be so touchy… flat is where it’s at.” Most people guessed it was a new mouse or trackpad, but as John Paczkowski noted, “the composite image also looks like the back of a smartphone or media player…or a remote control…or an electric razor…or a pancake griddle.” What was this new mystery device?
Well, it’s a highly mobile, lightweight, touch-sensitive mouse that arcs to fit in the palm of your hand while you’re using it and packs flat so you can stuff it in a pocket on the go. It’s targeted for laptop users who don’t like their always-flat trackpads.
In a press release titled “Think the Mouse is Dead?“, Microsoft Hardware’s Brett Ostrum wrote that even as trackpads and other input devices have evolved, the market for mice has only grown: “The reasons people need external mice will not change: comfort and precision.”
There are some nice concessions to the trackpad model here, though: the Arc Touch has a touch strip instead of a scroll wheel. Instead of a perfectly smooth drag, the strip vibrates to simulate to simulate a wheel’s click-click bumps. I hope you can toggle this feature on and off — I imagine some people enjoy, or at least have gotten accustomed to, the finger-on-glass feel of a trackpad or touchscreen.
(Here’s a promotional video of the Arc Touch in action. If only Microsoft could invent a Silverlight video that could flat-pack into HTML 5 for easy embedding!)
The XBox 360 has a new wireless controller, too, but its flat-packing profile tweak is more subtle. Its directional pad can pop up into a “plus” for raised directional controls, or snap flush into a “disc” for easy Street Fighter II-style thumb-drag joystick moves. (Sorry for the outdated game reference. I’m old.)
There are plenty of other nice things in this model, including wireless (of course) and a new silver-gray look. But I think the versatility of the d-pad is the real item of interest here. As we start using remotes for game consoles to do more and more things, whether as media players or web browsers, we’re going to want controllers that can morph to match.
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Fuente: Gadget Lab