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Microsoft hardware puts new spin on innovation: company unveils largest lineup of wireless mice and keyboards, rolls out unique features that break hardware mold.

Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) has introduced six new wireless peripherals that debut an innovative new scroll wheel and wireless optical technologies, advancing the way people interact with their computer and giving consumers more desktop-personalization options than ever before. Combining industry-leading performance, comfort and style--including longer battery life for improved ease of use--these new devices offer a unique side-to-side spin on innovation and are unlike any peripherals on the market.

The new product versions introduced today are Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer, IntelliMouse Explorer, Wireless Optical Mouse, Wireless Optical Desktop Elite, Wireless Optical Desktop Pro, Wireless Optical Desktop and Basic Wireless Optical Desktop.

"Two decades ago we designed the mouse simply as a utilitarian device to help users navigate Microsoft Word," said Matt Barlow, worldwide director of marketing and business development for Microsoft Hardware. "The mouse and keyboard have evolved to become essential devices used each day, and it is our goal to improve these products with innovations that are intelligent, intuitive and exciting. With the debut of these new features and technologies, we're revolutionizing the way consumers access the power of the PC."

Microsoft also is premiering new technologies that improve the reliability of wireless peripheral performance, including an optical chip that delivers longer battery life. New power-saving Microsoft Optical Technology delivers more than six months of battery life for average use while maintaining mouse performance.

This new optical technology represents a breakthrough in wireless peripheral reliability and directly answers consumer requests for wireless devices that operate more efficiently, eliminating the inconvenience of having to stop tasks to replace batteries every month. In addition, Microsoft research shows that consumers prefer six-month battery life to rechargeable options.

The new wireless products also introduce smart receivers, which offer approximately 65,000 identification codes to reduce the occurrence of cross-talk. These receivers work with the included software to detect potential interference from other 27MHz wireless devices and feature a wizard that guides users through steps to reduce interference.

In addition, Microsoft is unveiling new features, including customizable keys and a variety of finishes, for consumers who want to personalize their desktops. My Favorites Keys--five new keyboard buttons that can be easily set to deliver one-touch access to favorite files and Web sites--are now available on select keyboards. Programmed like the buttons on a car stereo, these new keys place most-used files and sites within easy reach.

A wide variety of colors also are being debuted, including Periwinkle and Metallic Red, giving consumers an array of choices to reflect their lifestyle. Taking style to the next level, Microsoft also has added unique textures and graphics to the mouse and keyboard lineup, with finishes such as the feel of leather and Blue Moon, a Microsoft Original Design.

"As we see with similar trends in the cell phone industry, consumers are looking for uniquely styled products to meet their individual tastes," Barlow said. "For the first time, Microsoft is offering a varied selection of unique finishes at launch to answer this demand."

Continuing the company's leadership in the category, each new device is designed by a Microsoft ergonomist with the daily comfort of the user in mind.

"The keyboard and mouse represent the user's greatest contact with the PC," said Martin Reynolds, analyst at Gartner Dataquest. "Using peripherals with better comfort, wireless convenience and extra features can improve the PC experience and increase user productivity."

Microsoft offers three new mice this year that deliver the new scroll wheel with Tilt Wheel Technology and enhanced wireless Microsoft Optical Technology. Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer, an ergonomic mouse with five buttons, is available in a variety of new finishes: Metallic Grey, Metallic Blue, Platinum and Black Leather. A wired version, IntelliMouse Explorer, is available as well. For ambidextrous comfort, Microsoft introduces Wireless Optical Mouse with a new three-button design in three vibrant colors, Metallic Red, Periwinkle and Steel Blue, and one graphic, Blue Moon.

This year the Hardware Group offers its largest lineup ever of wireless desktops. New Wireless Optical Desktop Elite includes a straight keyboard design and Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer, covered in a sleek titanium-and-metallic-gray finish, for the ultimate in performance, personalization and panache. This desktop offers a variety of new features, including enhanced Microsoft Optical Technology for longer battery life, My Favorites Keys, a cushioned palm rest with the feel of leather, and a left-side scroll wheel on the keyboard to complement the scroll wheel on the mouse, both of which use Tilt Wheel Technology.

The Microsoft update of Wireless Optical Desktop Pro features the new Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer, complete with longer battery life and a new scroll wheel, delivering an ergonomic design and sleek black-and-titanium finish with translucent keys. In addition, this year Wireless Optical Desktop, with its traditional flat keyboard in the same stylish design as its ergonomic counterpart, comes with the new ambidextrous Wireless Optical Mouse, which also includes the enhanced Microsoft Optical Technology for longer battery life and a side--to--side scroll wheel. Microsoft also is introducing Basic Wireless Optical Desktop, which delivers dependable performance for less, in a bright white-and-gray finish.

"Microsoft Hardware has a proven track record of bringing useful product advancements to market, from optical technology to Bluetooth," Barlow said. "This new product lineup--our most innovative ever--continues this history of delivering unparalleled new capabilities that address customer needs."
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Title Annotation:Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer, IntelliMouse Explorer, Wireless Optical Mouse, Wireless Optical Desktop Elite, Wireless Optical Desktop Pro, Wireless Optical Desktop and Basic Wireless Optical Desktop
Comment:Microsoft hardware puts new spin on innovation: company unveils largest lineup of wireless mice and keyboards, rolls out unique features that break hardware mold.(Microsoft Wireless IntelliMouse Explorer, IntelliMouse Explorer, Wireless Optical Mouse, Wireless Optical Desktop Elite, Wireless Optical Desktop Pro, Wireless Optical Desktop and Basic Wireless Optical Desktop)
Publication:EDP Weekly's IT Monitor
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 8, 2003
Words:875
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