18-button mouse loses OpenOffice label, gains laser


— 6:00 AM on December 15, 2009

Remember the OpenOffice.org mouse we told you about last month? Well, it's gotten a new name, a black paint job, and an adjustable 5,600-DPI laser sensor—and WarMouse still aims to commercialize it soon.

Despite the changes, the WarMouse Meta has kept its strangely impractical-looking 18-button design, which replaces your standard left and right mouse buttons with 16 chiclet-like buttons and tacks an Xbox 360-style analog stick on the right side. The analog joystick alone provides a dazzling number of possibilities:

In the three digital joystick modes, the user can assign up to sixteen different keys or macros to the joystick, which provides faster user input regardless of whether the user is flying through the cells of a large spreadsheet in Calc or on the back of an epic flying mount in World of Warcraft. In analog joystick mode, the player can select between having up to seven joystick buttons available or using all 18 buttons as keyboard and mouse commands instead.

WarMouse says its design "has been shown to increase mouse input speeds by an average of 30 percent in comparison with conventional two-button mice utilizing toolbar icons and pull-down menus." (The firm doesn't delve into exactly who showed what to whom, though, so that claim might be hard to verify.)

The WarMouse Meta is on track to hit retail stores in the first quarter of next year for $74.99. The device will work with Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X. You can check out a detailed list of specs in the official announcement and view a couple of images below.

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