Microsoft will in November release a Rolls-Royce-class mouse designed to make it simpler to scroll through Web and other long documents, without recourse to the scroll bar. Called IntelliMouse, a small wheel between the two buttons controls scrolling and zooming so that users don't have to keep mouse buttons depressed for long periods. A "data zooming" feature lets Web users also conveniently go through Back pages to return to sites they have visited.
Internet Explorer 3.0 and Office 97 will also be optimised for the IntelliMouse so that clicks on the mouse wheel can incrementally increase document size on screen, for instance. Microsoft expects other software vendors to also build in IntelliMouse hooks. Pricing is expected to be at around the £60 mark.
The IntelliMouse release is part of Microsoft's increasing presence in the input device market and is expected to be followed by a gamepad and other similar products.
Erstwhile mouse rival Logitech will release two new input devices in September. The first is Snappy, a parallel port-based cigarette packet-sized image frame grabber that connects to any video source such as camcorder, VCR or TV. List priced at £199 including VAT, the product will be bundled with Adobe's PhotoDeluxe image editing software.
The other is WingMan Warrior (£69 including VAT), a "two-fisted combat" joystick that lets games characters spin through 360 degrees at the touch of a button. It will be one of the first wave of products to support the Universal Serial Bus standard for daisychaining peripherals as well as standard game ports.