The new svelte Microsoft Intellimouse Explorer uses optical tracking technology to determine mouse position instead of the usual ball-in-a-hole design. The mouse works by using an optical sensor to scan the surface 1,500 times a second. Apparently it doesn't work on glass or highly polished marble, but it works well on almost any other reasonably flat surface.
The computer titanium craze has even descended to pointing devices. The Intellimouse Explorer comes in a two-tone case that resembles titanium. The underside glows red, and it even includes a red taillight. The mouse has the standard two buttons and scroll wheel on top, but it also includes two buttons on the left side -- these are programmable, but they will default to forward and back on Internet Explorer and other similar applications.
The mouse is comfortable to use, even though the left-bottom buttons are useful primarily for right-handed users. Movement was smooth and crisp, even on rough surfaces that would stymie a traditional mouse. It even worked on soft surfaces.
Microsoft plans to move the optical technology into the high end of its mouse line. The first mouse with optical technology will be available in September for about $70 (£43).
Take me to the Comdex Spring special.