The next-generation of Microsoft mice has arrived and – surprise! – this peripheral don’t feature any fancy lasers. The new Explorer mouse is the first that sports Microsoft’s new proprietary Bluetrack technology, something they’ve been hinting at on their website for the past few weeks. The big innovation is that a BlueTrack mouse will work on virtually any surface type, whether its granite, wood, or even carpet (glass and other reflective surfaces are this mouse’s kryptonite). We got some hands-on time with this handsome wireless mouse and were impressed by its tracking accuracy, stylish design, and mesmerizing blue glow. We also spoke with Mark Depue, the Platform Engineer Manager at Microsoft’s Hardware Group, to find out exactly how BlueTrack works.
The Explorer runs on 2.4GHz wireless technolgoy, which has a range of 30 feet. It comes with a charging station, and is powered by one recharage AA battery (which provides three weeks of use). The transceiver snaps into the mouse to offer extra portability as well. You'll be able to buy the mouse in November for an estimated retail price of $99.99.
Hit the next page for our technical interview
Q: Can you summarize the feature highlights of the BlueTrack technology?
A: Microsoft Corp.’s new BlueTrack Technology — the world’s most advanced tracking technology — allows consumers to take their mouse anywhere and work with confidence on virtually any surface. It combines the width and power of optical technology with the precision of laser tracking to allow consumers to mouse on virtually any surface, from a granite kitchen countertop to the living room carpet.
Q: What led to the development of BlueTrack? How long as it been in the works?
A: As one of the inventors of BlueTrack, I have to say that it was my wife who inspired me to make this technology a reality. As both a business professional and new mom to our son, I was watching her drag her notebook and mouse all over the house – trying to get work done while following our crawling boy around. From the carpet in his room, to the granite counters in our kitchen, to even the back deck – she was always complaining that her mouse couldn’t perform. I knew we could do better!
We have been working on the technology for the past 18 months.
Q: How does it work? Why are BlueTrack mice able to work on any surface?
A: Microsoft BlueTrack Technology performs well due to several factors:
Explorer Mouse and Explorer Mini Mouse perform at 1000 dpi, which we find is the ideal speed for productivity mice.
Q: Will all Microsoft mice eventually use BlueTrack technology?
A: We can’t comment on our specific plans, but we hope to continue bringing BlueTrack Technology to more of our products down the road.
Q: Will BlueTrack stay a proprietary Microsoft technology, or will it be licensed for other mice manufacturers?
A: At this time BlueTrack Technology is available exclusively in Microsoft mice, but we’re always looking at the needs of consumers and may offer licensing opportunities in the future.