WarMouse is to release an 18-button mouse with an analog joystick which the company says supports up to 52 key commands. The OpenOfficeMouse, billed as the first multi-button application mouse designed for a wide variety of software applications, including Adobe Photoshop, Autodesk AutoCAD, Microsoft Office, and OpenOffice.org 3.1 (plus a few games), is intended to provide a faster and more efficient user interface for many common complex software applications than the conventional icons, pull-down menus and hotkeys.

The OpenOfficeMouse features 18 programmable mouse buttons with double-click functionality in three different button modes: Key, Keypress, and Macro. The analog Xbox 360-style joystick has optional four, eight, and 16-key command modes. There's also a clickable scroll wheel and 512k of flash memory.

The device has 63 on-mouse application profiles with hardware, software, and autoswitching capability and has 1024-character macro support.

The mouse also incorporates 20 default profiles for popular games and applications, including World of Warcraft, Call of Duty series, OpenOffice.org 3.1, Adobe Photoshop, the Gnu Image Manipulation Program, as well as default profiles for the five core OpenOffice.org applications based on 662 million datapoints compiled by the usage tracking facility incorporated into OpenOffice.org 3.1.

WarMouse says these profiles can be easily customized to suit the user's preferences using the included OpenOfficeMouse setup software. The setup and customization software is an application that will be released as an open source software project under the GNU Lesser General Public License version 3 in the first quarter of 2010. Default profiles for 20 other games and applications are also included; the OpenOffice Mouse can support up to 63 profiles stored simultaneously in the mouse's memory.

Joystick as a keyboard

The manufacturer says the OpenOfficeMouse is one of the first computer mice to incorporate an analog joystick and the first to permit the use of the joystick as a keyboard. WarMouse says in the three joystick-as-keyboard modes, the user can assign up to 16 different keys or macros to the joystick, which enables easy movement regardless of whether the user is in the middle of a large spreadsheet in Microsoft Excel or engaging in conflict in World of Warcraft.

"The OpenOffice Mouse is a really cool addition to the desk of any keen OpenOffice.org user. The Mouse team have worked closely with experts from the OpenOffice.org User Experience project to deliver the full benefits of the world's leading open-source office software to the fingertips of users,” says Marketing Project Lead at OpenOffice.org, John McCreesh. “The prototypes are stunning – I can't wait to get my hands on the finished product."

Mouse designer Theodore Beale, says: “You can do far more with this mouse than most people are likely to realize at first. “You can launch applications from the desktop, and in your browser you can fire up a specific Internet site with one button, then close it with a double-click on the same button. In Writer and Calc, you can have your most powerful and complicated macros on one row of buttons and simple functions like Bold, Undo, and Format Cell on another. It's very useful in games like World of Warcraft, because even without taking the joystick into account, you've got 16 commands within one click, 40 within two, and all 72 icons on the six action pages within just two double-clicks or less.”

The OpenOfficeMouse, supports Windows, Linux, and Macintosh operating systems and will retail for US$74.99. The company says it will start taking orders in December and start shipping in February 2010. Depending on the uptake of this model, a left-handed version may become available.

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