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Thursday 28 August 2003

Microsoft's Tilt Wheel [lurks]

I had an interesting thing turn up at work this week. A demonstration gadget for Microsoft's new tilt-wheel mice. This consisted of a little wheel from a regular mouse next to a mock-up of the wheel on their new mouse range which emerges from embargo on September the third. Which is why you wont see any pictures of the mice around. Next week I'll take a picture of the gadget and the diagram in the brochure. So far on the web I've seen some details of the mouse range and this little picture of the wheel which looks like it was lifted from the same brochure.
Basically it's your regular mouse wheel but it also tilts from side to side. The mock-up was nifty and it was instantly apparent how this is going to be a must-have thing in mice in the future. I fired some questions at Microsoft's PR about it such as whether the tilt action is analog or just a couple of switches (left and right etc) but they didn't get back to me before the weekend. I assume it's analog which is going to be very cool for gaming. A couple of examples might be the leaning action in FPS games or the tail rotor in a heli in 1942.
The mouse Microsoft are slapping it in is a cordless too. So presumably a very nice cordless, ball-less mouse like their previous ones with the tilt wheel on it too. That might make us jump from our beloved Logitechs eh?
I'll grab some piccies when back on work on Tuesday.


  1. That's such a smart idea. I know I'm in danger of putting you to sleep, but it's going to be perfect for spreadsheets and ms project charts that have a lot of sidey scrolly action with no easy way to do it up till now.
    It's a whole new and interesting way to get RSI though innit?

  2. It's true and that's pretty much all of MS' marketing spin on it, they haven't mentioned games at all. Don't think you're going to get any RSI issues with it though, there's no impact and no constant strain really. You'll just wiggle your finger from side to side as necessary. Hmm thing is, this is a nifty enough idea that whoever thought of it is going to have this patented. I hope it's licensed so you can buy a Logitech with it - they've kind of consistently been ahead of the game in mice for gamers and it'd be nice to have a Logitech with this wheel.

  3. Apparently they're removing the 'click' on the wheel at the same time. Not sure why they have to do this, but I recon that little bit of feedback when you scroll the wheel is pretty important.

  4. You're right, they have. I thought it was just the gadget mock up I had but actually it seemed to have been bang on what the real one is like. It's actually going to suck for us, I'm afraid. The mouse just clicks left and right, no analog. What's more, the buttons don't get picked up in games at the moment at all. So that's out. The click has gone and it feels nasty. It's wider, which is good, and it'll be good for smoothly scrolling documents which is what it's designed for.
    As a weapon selection wheel, they've gone and fucked it completely. Battery life is pretty amazing on the wireless ones, 6 months on 2 AA alkalines. There's a wired model too which is also cheaper. Although I've got to say, I reckon gamers will most likely steer clear. I can see why they did what they have but MS just seem to have now given up on even their mice being good for games when they shitcanned the Sidewinder game controller range.