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11 May, 2012

Microsoft: 30 Years of Hardware and a Few Surprises

Microsoft: 30 Years of Hardware and a Few Surprises
April 28, 2012 by Lance Ulanoff on Mashable

Mice-a-Palooza
More Microsoft mice than I've ever seen in one spot.

Microsoft EasyBall for Kids
This mouse was designed just for kids. The giant yellow ball was a perfect control interface for their little hands.

Developers were so proud they signed this MIcrosoft mouse

This Microsoft Mouse is so old is worked on a 286 computer

And it was ready for action with OS2, too

Yes Microsoft Once Made a Cordless Phone
There was a time in the late 1990's when tech companies were making corded and cordless phones that either came with or worked with your desktop PC. The trend did not last long.

Microsofts stunning ArcTouch Mouse looks all the better with a designer cover

More designer Microsoft mice

One of Microsoft's first ergonomic keyboards
These early keyboards over emphasized the separation of the two sides of the keyboard. later models made it much more subtle

This handpainted Microsoft ArcTouch mouse is one of only 30 in existence

The hand-painted ArcTouch Mouse has a unique paint job.
The surface has the same kind of gleam as the hood of a freshly-painted car.

ArcTouch Mouse in cuvred mode

One of only 30
And you can't buy it.

More classic Microsoft Hardware

This model of one of Microsoft's earliest and most popular mice made me smile


Microsoft has been making hardware for a long time. That’s right — the company best known for its world-dominating operating system, Windows, has been spitting out gadgets for 30 years.

And while they haven’t always been pretty, some of these devices have become industry, business and household staples.

During my recent trip to Microsoft’s sprawling Redmond campus, I was led into a room that one might call the hardware vault. This relatively small conference room did not include every piece of hardware Microsoft has ever made, but it did offer an impressive collection and glimpses of more than a few classics.

There were many mice — who does not remember their first Microsoft Mouse? — some early ones, some new. Keyboards? Yes, a ton of them. Here and there, I also spotted a bunch of yellowing, older gear and a few things I’ve never seen before.

Noticeably absent was some of Microsoft’s successful hardware: the Xbox (any generation) and the new Kinect. Also missing: Microsoft’s misguided forays into sound cards and routers. Fortunately, I can still close my eyes and see them.

Microsoft is quite proud of its hardware history and some of its latest innovations. In recent years, it’s done some impressive stuff with mice. The latest Explorers offer haptic feedback and, with new Windows 8 drivers, will allow you to scroll horizontally (if you’ve seen the new Metro interface, this actually makes a lot of sense).

Microsoft Senior Manager Ben Reed told me that as the world moved to mobile computing (laptops now outsell desktops), a person’s mouse has become “a vehicle of self-expression.” To wit, Reed proudly showed off a collection of designer Wireless Mobile Mice Microsoft commissioned last year and some of the latest designs they just introduce in March. The limited-edition mice are only on sale for six months.

As he spoke he used what I consider the best Microsoft mouse ever made, the new wireless ArcTouch mouse. It’s a device that literally changes shape to fit the curve of your hand.

To commemorate 30 years of hardware, Microsoft took 30 of those mice and had them hand-painted and then numbered. So now they’re unique, not for sale and, yes, Mashable has one of them.

Check out some of the classic hardware and Microsoft’s new gear in the gallery, and don’t miss the 30th Anniversary Mouse. Later this week, we’ll tell you how you can win it.






Source: Mashable

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