Logitech’s Air Mouse for TV that moves like the Wii

July 16, 2007, 5:00 AM UTC

Cost: $150

Availability: August

Of course I had to add my two cents about Logitech’s (LOGI) innovative new MX Air Mouse. Rather than drag this mouse along a flat surface, you wave it through the air to move a cursor and make selections; think of it as a Wii-mote for non-game console entertainment.

A few folks from Logitech dropped by my office a few months back and showed off this mouse. They were obviously proud of it; they pulled it out of its own sleek case as if it were a hustler’s pool cue. I chatted with them about how the underlying technology seems similar to Nintendo’s Wii (and they assured me that the way it works is somewhat different). Then I tried it out.

Honestly, I found the MX Air Mouse to be a bit unwieldy. As I used it to navigate Microsoft’s (MSFT) Windows Media Center the mouse mostly worked as they said it would; I could move a cursor around the screen by I tilting my wrist, or scroll using a touchpad on top of the MX Air. But I didn’t like that I had to concentrate so much on aiming the cursor toward specific points on the screen. It was easy enough to get the cursor into a general area, but positioning it on top of just the right box before clicking? Not so easy.

So I suggested that a bit more software work could make the mouse more useful. If the cursor moved along an invisible on-screen grid instead of being free-floating, it might be easier to aim, and the overall experience would be a lot more enjoyable.

Though the MX Air isn’t yet all it could be, I expect to see consumer electronics heavyweights experimenting with the “air mouse” concept. When I visited Hewlett-Packard a few weeks ago for a closer look at its interactive TV lineup and a chat about its strategy, folks there were very much aware of this Logitech mouse and how useful it could be for using the television to browse through digital files such as photos, video and music.

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