Microsoft unveil aesthetic and functional hardware

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Microsoft makes great hardware. It’s true! Whatever your opinion of the company and it’s software, it’s a simple fact that Microsoft keyboards and mice are very user friendly. The company has just unveiled a new range of hardware products that focus on reducing fatigue and improving the man-machine interface – and offering enhanced secutiry via fingerprint recognition.

One of the more ingenuous products in the package is the Fingerprint Reader, an easy-to-use biometric device designed to replace user names and passwords with modern fingerprint recognition technology. Using the device allows users to log onto their PC without entering users names and passwords, jump on to websites with a touch of a finger and switch between users quickly and easily.

Users can access their most-used Web sites, files and folders with one touch with the “My Favorites Keys”. Users simply push and hold the key to assign it to the current destination, a similar process to setting a radio station with a car stereo’s preset buttons. Controls are also sized according to usage just as they are on remote controls. For example, the volume controls — the most commonly used media function — are the largest and are placed in the centre for convenient access.

Also part of the new hardware package is the Wireless Notebook Optical Mouse - an ambidextrous mouse designed to automatically turn off power to conserve battery life when not in use. It works up to one metre away from the receiver and contains a pivot for optimal reception. The mouse tracks smoothly on nearly any surface, has comfort grip sides and delivers more than three months of battery life on only one battery.

The company has also unveiled new hardware products featuring additional Bluetooth profile support and longer battery life. The USB transceiver included with Optical Desktop Elite for Bluetooth or IntelliMouse Explorer for Bluetooth, can wirelessly exchange and coordinate information between PC and Bluetooth devices, including Windows Mobile-based Pocket PCs, mobile phones, cameras, printers, mice and keyboards, from a range of up to 10 metres.

As well as clearing the desktop of the clutter of loose wires, the new Bluetooth desktop and mouse also feature advanced scrolling capabilities with Tilt Wheel Technology and an improved battery life on its Bluetooth predecessors.

All the products can either purchased as part of a package or purchased separately. The Optical Desktop with Fingerprint Reader and the Fingerprint Reader are scheduled to be available in November, 2004 with a RRP of AUD $199.95 and AUD $99.95 respectively.

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