Microsoft's mystery hardware? Arc Touch Mouse, launching in September

Microsoft has been teasing a new mystery hardware device over the past week. According to company insiders, the software giant plans to unveil a new Arc Touch Mouse in September.

Details of the Arc Touch Mouse began surfacing in early July as several European retailers began publishing listings for a "Microsoft Arc Touch Mouse". Company officials registered arctouchmouse.com on Tuesday March 30 this year and according to an insider that spoke to Neowin, the device will launch in September.

The mouse is the result of a Microsoft Research program dubbed "Mouse 2.0". The project detailed different designs for a prototype multi-touch mouse and one of the prototypes looks similar to the current Microsoft Arc Mouse. Microsoft officials published a research PDF paper in October 2009 which contained pictures of a possible multi touch mouse. Microsoft's hardware twitter account tweeted two different pictures over the past week (see below).

Microsoft plans to introduce the multi-touch mouse as a cheap alternative to costly touch displays for use with Windows 7. It's understood this is a basic implementation of touch and will likely not support multi-touch initially. It's expected to retail at approximately $70 according to some online price listings.

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Here's some more interesting news. I am glad to see that Microsoft plans to introduce the multi-touch mouse as a cheap alternative to costly touch displays for use with Windows 7, I hope it would benefit the customers. Meanwhile, I will surf the internet and will be looking for more sites like neo-win, youtube or http://www.electricgriddlereviews.net/ and it's all good as long as the job is done.

Microsoft should focus on creating a lightweight wireless mouse for big or small hands with big, lightweight batteries. That should be enough. The mouse is still the best invention for fat tech junkies like most of the people that buy new devices.

Cool. Of course I want to play around with it (And get more information on it) first, but I love my Arc Mouse, so if it's a logical step forward I'll definitely get one. I really hope it's good.

I find it interesting that it won't support multitouch "initially". Very curious, considering that Windows 7 has built-in touch API's. So what is the hold up here?

Now I certainly would perk up if thing had a color micro LCD display built-in and under the touch surface.

If they're going to implement a touch surface on top of a mouse, they should implement it like this. Use the touch surface on top to be able to zip the mouse cursor across the screen over long distances so you no longer have to lift the mouse off the desk in doing so--a couple of finger swipes over the top should do it. Then allow the standard mouse movement to have precision control over mouse cursor. That would be the perfect mouse.

Cool! Hopefully be able to find it in the $20-$30 price range by end of year sales.

this world needs a new trackball

Oh I agree, though I loved the Kensington clones rather than thumb-operated, & when I couldn't find them any longer learned to make do with the free-wheeling scroll wheel on some Logitech mice. But while I love my VX Nano, longevity is not one of it's attributes -- I've gone thru almost half a dozen during warranty, & have been looking for an alternative for when the warranty runs out... this new MS toy could be something interesting to play with. :-)

this world needs a new trackball..... thumb-operated trackball.....

i've been using the logitech trackman wheel since like forever.....

"It's understood this is a basic implementation of touch and will likely not support multi-touch initially." Fail!

Not related to this but does anyone know of any software (for either windows or linux/bsd) that allows you to have more than one mouse?

By that, I mean, you plug 2 mice in and you have 2 seperate cursors.
I guess in theory it'd break all programs that read the location of the mouse but I'm really kinda interested to see if it's possible.

n_K said,
Not related to this but does anyone know of any software (for either windows or linux/bsd) that allows you to have more than one mouse?

By that, I mean, you plug 2 mice in and you have 2 seperate cursors.
I guess in theory it'd break all programs that read the location of the mouse but I'm really kinda interested to see if it's possible.


Until now, I don't know of anyone, but it will be kind of interesting to see one.

n_K said,
Not related to this but does anyone know of any software (for either windows or linux/bsd) that allows you to have more than one mouse?

By that, I mean, you plug 2 mice in and you have 2 seperate cursors.
I guess in theory it'd break all programs that read the location of the mouse but I'm really kinda interested to see if it's possible.

I'm not sure if you can purchase it but I know that MSResearch already did it.

Jose_49 said,

Until now, I don't know of anyone, but it will be kind of interesting to see one.

I think there is something like that for Xorg...

Bengal34 said,
I'm not sure if you can purchase it but I know that MSResearch already did it.

I've seen the thing you're on about I believe.
The single-PC for a classroom and up to 15 displays running off it?
From what I am aware, it's just a base PC with virtual PC, dedicated GFX cards and dedicated USB inputs.

n_K said,
Not related to this but does anyone know of any software (for either windows or linux/bsd) that allows you to have more than one mouse?

http://www.wunderworks.com/

Works really well if you get used to working with it. Only one cursor is in 'focus' though and you need to click to switch focus, that'll become clearer if you try it. I think there's a 30 day trial version.

EDIT: turns out I've been using an old version, the 'focus' thing mightn't be an issue any more but I've not checked

"It's understood this is a basic implementation of touch and will likely not support multi-touch initially."
Microsoft, always ahead in the game.

.Neo said,
"It's understood this is a basic implementation of touch and will likely not support multi-touch initially."
Microsoft, always ahead in the game.

yeah, that one has to be a misinformation if this thing is going to sell...
even the prototypes from a Mouse 2.0 had Multi-Touch...

For their sake I hope so. It would be a bit of a embarrassment if Microsoft were to sell their Magic Mouse counterpart almost a year later without multi-touch.

.Neo said,
For their sake I hope so. It would be a bit of a embarrassment if Microsoft were to sell their Magic Mouse counterpart almost a year later without multi-touch.

I totally agree with you - i mean what took them so long anyway? It's nearly a year since the research paper was published, given that they researched it inhouse and developed it inhouse it's not really understandable what took them so long. Had they wait for Apple to release something like that before them?

MFH said,
Had they wait for Apple to release something like that before them?

Many tech companies seem to these days.

Tom W said,
It's a basic implementation. Don't expect it to stop right there but it won't have multi-touch straight off the bat.

Which is pretty sad considering Apple managed to release a multi-touch mouse almost a year ago. Especially if Microsoft really plans on selling this for $69 as well (according to Engadget).

Orange Battery said,
My Intellipoint Explorer 3 is showing its age now, 6 years but still going strong, might be the next upgrade though.

Once I heared about it i thought it would be the perfect replacement for my MX518 - 3 to 4 years, this thing really looks old and used now...

Orange Battery said,
My Intellipoint Explorer 3 is showing its age now, 6 years but still going strong, might be the next upgrade though.

i wish i could find a new intellimouse 3.0 brand new that i didn't need to buy hardware with. best mouse i ever owned and ms hardware has really gone down hill in terms of quality since.

Well I hope it has a much smaller receiver that the current arc mouse...

The current arc mouse look nice and is really portable, but the receiver is big as as normal thumb drive, nice to have that sticking out of your laptop

Leonick said,
Well I hope it has a much smaller receiver that the current arc mouse...

The current arc mouse look nice and is really portable, but the receiver is big as as normal thumb drive, nice to have that sticking out of your laptop


I hope it will be a bit wider than the current arc mouse, as i like to rest three fingers on top of a mouse...

Leonick said,
Well I hope it has a much smaller receiver that the current arc mouse...

The current arc mouse look nice and is really portable, but the receiver is big as as normal thumb drive, nice to have that sticking out of your laptop

Ahh... most of my flash drives are easily twice as long.

MFH said,

I hope it will be a bit wider than the current arc mouse, as i like to rest three fingers on top of a mouse...
Think about this... resting fingers... on a touch surface. Yeah.

Silverskull said,
Think about this... resting fingers... on a touch surface. Yeah.

Think about this: "Finger recognition"

wotsit said,
um. where's the arc?

think about the current picture as the front part... and the shiny black is actually the highest point after which it goes down again...

kinda...
you could see it that way...

burnblue said,
What about "flat is where it's at"?

Ok I didn't think about that one, but how should a "Arc Touch Mouse" look like? If it's flat, why is it a Arc Mouse? To be a "Arc Mouse" it has to be shaped similar to the current one - how to call it's form?

if "It's understood this is a basic implementation of touch and will likely not support multi-touch initially." is true this thing will be useless! I heard about the Arc Mouse Touch some time ago and thought the idea was great - but without Multi-Touch what's the use of such a device?

MFH said,
if "It's understood this is a basic implementation of touch and will likely not support multi-touch initially." is true this thing will be useless! I heard about the Arc Mouse Touch some time ago and thought the idea was great - but without Multi-Touch what's the use of such a device?

I don't see why it wouldn't support multi. Windows 7 supports it out of the box and the whole purpose of MSResearch's Mouse2.0 project was based around it.

Bengal34 said,

I don't see why it wouldn't support multi. Windows 7 supports it out of the box and the whole purpose of MSResearch's Mouse2.0 project was based around it.


That's what I don't get - what's the use of such a prodcut without MT?

Hold your horses. So, Apple is leaving mice behind and moving to touchpads while Microsoft is innovating stuff in-between Apple's past and future?
Or am I interpreting this wrong?

tooshpz said,
Hold your horses. So, Apple is leaving mice behind and moving to touchpads while Microsoft is innovating stuff in-between Apple's past and future?
Or am I interpreting this wrong?

you "could" see it that way, but honestly, Apple has never been good at mice, maybey it's better they focus more on trackpads - although i don't really like them...

tooshpz said,
Hold your horses. So, Apple is leaving mice behind and moving to touchpads while Microsoft is innovating stuff in-between Apple's past and future?
Or am I interpreting this wrong?

Not really... Go look up the original microsoft mouse. Next go look at the microsoft r&d with touch and alternative input. Apple is not the future of anything.

Apple has trailed on mouse design, trailed on tablets, and trailed on touch. They also have nothing in the visual input systems like the microsoft surface.

I wonder how it'll compete against the Magic Mouse. But we'll no doubt have dozens of reviews pitting exactly these products against each other after it's released. Many are very happy with their "Magic Mice" though, so I'm sure there's a market for this unless they goof up.

nub said,
I've heard nothing but complaints about the magic mouse

I haven't, but I still hate it. It's the least ergonomic mouse imaginable.

what said,

I haven't, but I still hate it. It's the least ergonomic mouse imaginable.

I actually love the Magic Mouse - especially with the addition of BetterTouchTool.

bmaher said,

I actually love the Magic Mouse - especially with the addition of BetterTouchTool.


Likewise, it's one of the best mice I've ever used.

The magic mouse is good for casual use on the computer, but for the love of lolcats...dont try to use it with Excel.

bdsams said,
The magic mouse is good for casual use on the computer, but for the love of lolcats...dont try to use it with Excel.

I tried it too and I'll stay with my logitech vx nano

I really liked my Magic Mouse as well, that is, until I replaced it with the Magic Trackpad. Love the multi-touch goodness on my desktop!

nub said,
I've heard nothing but complaints about the magic mouse

Yep nothing but pure rejection form our two Mac departments at work. Wrist complaints and no back buttons. We have a bucket of them.

I have to use it at work and i'm not a big fan of it. I mean it's great for browsing websites with the ability to scroll from anywhere on the mouse but like bdsams said above, in something like Excel it's really annoying.

And the fact that you have to pretty much install separate software to make it usable (middle clicking).

.Neo said,
From what the article says it will probably be something in between a Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad.

Addition: If that's really the case the mouse will be horrible to use. From a technical point of view the Magic Mouse is capable of executing the exact same multi-touch gestures as Apple's trackpads. However it would work poorly because the mouse has been designed to easily slide around. So when trying to do things like pinch to zoom it would be hard to prevent the mouse from sliding. That's probably why Apple disabled them. The Magic Trackpad on the other hand is fairly heavy and will stay put on your desk.

I can't see a crossbreed between the Magic Mouse and Magic Trackpad be very convenient.

what said,

I haven't, but I still hate it. It's the least ergonomic mouse imaginable.

I agree. I love my mine but the ergonomics are all wrong.

warwagon said,
I hope you can actually move it and not just use your fingers. I hate touch pads.

"whilst users will still be able to move the mouse to navigate throughout Windows."

warwagon said,
I hope you can actually move it and not just use your fingers. I hate touch pads.

I never liked them either on laptops. But the Magic Trackpad is actually great to work with. Never thought I would say that.